Essentially it all comes down to belief. Jaël, the winsome frontwoman and songwriter for the effervescent Lunik, has pushed away the doubts and fears that used to crowd her. Musically, the band have charted a new course over the months that led to the genesis of the stunning new album ‘Small Lights In The Dark' and that process of change threatened to darken Jaël's mood. "Lights in the dark are a common sign of hope," she explains, "and I have realised to let go of my worries. Everything now just comes down to the songs themselves - they are my small lights".
The title of course is also a reference to the peripatetic life of the modern successful musician. The lights seen from a plane as it nears home have a special resonance for Jaël. Home is her sanctuary and a place where she can step away from the limelight for a while. Having been a singer now for over a decade - making her the youngest veteran in town - Jaël's style and lyrics have developed over time. Now, on the new album, she is truly hitting the heights. An assured, at time bravura, vocal performance breathes flames into her trenchant and often hard-hitting lyrics. ‘Small Lights In The Dark' not only bristles with an arsenal of pop hooks, but brims with pathos too. This is a record you feel as well as hear.
The album features songs on a range of emotional themes, but they all offer that resounding empathy with the pain and hopes that each of us faces as we journey through life. "Some of the songs are autobiographical but others are taken from the experiences of the people around me. All my songs read like pages from a personal journal, but it's not always my own diary that people are being allowed to peek into!"
Born in Berne, Switzerland, to a family that surrounded themselves with music at all times, melody became part of the fabric of Jaël's daily life. Despite this, it was not until the age of 10 that she picked up her first guitar, but she had started with a school band a couple of years later. By the age of 16, Jaël has started performing with what she terms ‘real bands' and was becoming a fixture on the local scene. These early musical steps took Jaël all across the spectrum. "I wanted to try everything, I sang with R&B bands, dyed my hair black and joined a reggae band, you name it!" At the age of 18, she met Luk, guitarist with Lunik and joined the band. At the time Lunik - whose sound has evolved enormously over the subsequent years - were playing a kind of Electro Pop. Over time this morphed into a more pure Pop sound, before developing yet further and taking another giant leap forward with the potent Pop Rock that characterises ‘Small Lights In The Dark'.
At the time that Jaël became Lunik's frontwoman she was still studying to become a teacher. "I never thought that music could be a career." Inevitably over the early years of Lunik's success, the day of reckoning was on its way: it was soon time to pick a path. Though Jaël's passion for teaching came from her hard-wired desire to communicate with and help people, she came to realise that by connecting to people through her music and her lyrics she could choose music and still achieve that dream. Another factor pushing her towards music was the fact that, increasingly, the teaching job was not without its drawbacks. Jaël laughs, "I think, in truth, my mind was made up one day when working as a substitute teacher. I was photocopying some Maths assignments and had half the school queuing for my autograph!"
Once Lunik started to enjoy real success, even Jaël's parents were keen for her to drop everything and chase the dream. Knowing that she made the right decision, Jaël is "Happy that I quit," though with typical determination she made sure that she finished her qualifications before heading into the showbiz world. Largely self taught, both with her remarkable vocals and on guitar, Jaël loves to practice with the band when she can really open up. "I'm not one for singing in front of the mirror. In terms of practicing, I'm quite lazy I guess. Maybe that's why I'm a singer, with…
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