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Jessy Lanza

Jessy Lanza is an outlier whose decades-spanning inspirations range from synth pop and post-disco R&B to underground dance music such as footwork. A key Hyperdub artist, the singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, and producer has released colorful albums of varying syntheses for the revered U.K. label. The first two, Pull My Hair Back (2013) and Oh No (2016), were short-listed for the Polaris Music Prize in her native Canada. All the Time (2020) rounded out a trilogy written and recorded in such close collaboration with Junior Boys' Jeremy Greenspan that Lanza was at a loss to discern who did what, apart from the vocals. Love Hallucination (2023) sprang from a move to Los Angeles, outside songwriting work, and collaborations with a larger supporting cast including Paul White and Jacques Greene. Originally from Hamilton, Ontario, Lanza grew up in a home with a basement that her father filled with music gear. She started playing piano and clarinet as a youngster. Lanza studied jazz and earned a music degree from Montreal, Quebec's Concordia University, worked toward a master's degree in musicology at McGill, and then went into teaching music. She met fellow Hamiltonian Jeremy Greenspan when she was suggested as a background vocalist for Junior Boys. Lanza contributed to the 2011 album It's All True and had the favor returned with synthesizer lessons. Lanza and Greenspan developed a creative partnership that evolved into Lanza's first album, Pull My Hair Back. Co-produced with Greenspan and made with some of the equipment Lanza inherited from her father, the set was issued on Hyperdub in September 2013. Before Pull My Hair Back was out, Lanza had remixed Matthew Dear's "Earthforms" and provided vocals for Hyperdub labelmate Ikonika's "Beach Mode," and her collaborations continued afterward with work beside Dan Snaith (aka Caribou), Metro Area's Morgan Geist (as the Galleria), and DJ Spinn and Taso, the last two of whom helped her make the 2015 12" "You Never Show Your Love." The following May, Lanza released her comparatively upbeat second album, Oh No. It entered Billboard's Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart, and, like the debut, it made the Polaris Music Prize short list. After she relocated to New York and worked again with Greenspan -- this time in primarily remote fashion -- Lanza returned with her third album, All the Time, in July 2020. The next year, she remixed tracks by Marie Davidson, Caribou, and Kate NV and released her first commercial DJ mix, a volume in the long-running DJ-Kicks series. Settling in Los Angeles after a period in San Francisco, Lanza started composing songs for other artists -- she picked up a co-writing credit on Låpsley's "Pandora's Box" -- and completed her fourth and brightest album with assistance from Paul White, Jacques Greene, and Tensnake as well as Greenspan. Love Hallucination, part of which consisted of material written with other artists in mind, landed in July 2023.
© Andy Kellman /TiVo


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