L.A.-based singer/songwriter Laura Jansen has come to live something of a dual existence...and on two continents, no less. In one, she's one of countless performing songwriters hitting clubs up and down the west coast, bringing her piano-based smart/pop songs to life, selling her CD at the door and passing the hat. In the other -- her native Netherlands -- she's already a rising star, having sold 250,000 copies of her 2009 album Bells and riding the radio charts with hit singles like "Single Girls" and her cover of The Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody." Now she has the chance to export her European success to America as Bells finally drops stateside March 22 via Decca.
Jansen, born in Holland to a Dutch father and American mother, found the piano to be a constant in her life. Classically trained, she now finds emotional solace and release in her songwriting and live performances. "It feels really good to get it out, and it feels even better to play the songs and look out at an audience and see someone whose face is saying, 'I totally get it.'," Jansen says. She adds, "that, in itself, is healing." The turbulent end of a romantic relationship fuels much of Bells, an album named for the first song she wrote and also for the inspiration of the nearby church bells -- what she describes as "the ringing of belief" -- audible from her then near-empty apartment. Sometimes as delicate as fine lace and as personal as a whisper, songs such as the incandescent hymn "The End", playfully buoyant "Wicked World" and dramatic ballad "Signal" highlight an album that, like its title, rings clear and true.
Laura Jansen - "Single Girls" (from the album Bells)
Laura Jansen - "Use Somebody" (Kings of Leon cover from the album Bells)
Photo Credit: Heidi Ross