Interview of Laila Biali by Marc Louis-Boyard for Slow Culture

Laila Biali (jazz, ‘Out of Dust’, out now) – ITW #15

Jazz has always been Slow Culture’s forte. That being said, vocal jazz never really got our full attention. But that was before Laila Biali’s single Sugar hit our inbox on a rainy morning.

At that time, we din’t believe that the whole album would stay in our playlist for long. Little did we know! We will review ‘Out of Dust’ – Laila Biali’s eighth album – next week.

To cure our wait (and hopefully, yours!), we’re delighted and honored to publish today the interview we did with The Artist Formerly Known As Laila Biali.

Read now, or…

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Our interview with Laila Biali:

In 2019, you won a JUNO Award for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year. Sources of validation seem to be vital in today’s society, especially for millennials. Did this award change anything in the perception you have of your talent, positively or negatively? Did you need such validation?

Much as we want to say we don’t need the awards or accolades, they can be helpful. For me, it was a nod from the industry that demonstrated an embrace of my own unique brand of Jazz mixed – Jazz that mixes with other genres. I have worried about being rejected, wholesale, by the Jazz world; but more and more, I see that people are allowing for newer expressions within the genre, which is exciting.

‘Out of Dust’ comes after a long process of mourning and shock in your personal life, but yet you are now known for your happy-go-lucky spirit. Did this spirit grow thanks to the struggle you’ve been through, or has it always been there?

I think it’s always been there. Though I’ve struggled with bouts of depression, I’ve always been a fundamentally optimistic person. I was raised in the church, and my parents generally take a “glass half full” view on life. 

Your last single ‘Revival’ addresses the topic of climate change, that is rather political and controversial. Didn’t you feel like you were taking a risk?

Sure, but I thought it was more important to get that message out. We need to make changes if we are going to save this beautiful planet we call home – especially for the generations to come. I have a 9-year-old, so that holds personal resonance.

Lisa Fisher, Alan Ferber, John Ellis, Larnell Lewis… Prestigious names appear on ‘Out of Dust’. Organizational matters put aside, how did you cope with the pressure of bringing such talents to the fore?

They’re mostly my friends, so it was easy. But I still felt incredibly blessed to have them all involved.

You recently appeared in a short homemade video clip with your family, introducing a new part of yourself to your audience. Is family central for your art?

It’s a big piece of it. Now, more than ever, we’re all stuck under one roof together, so why not make some music?!!

Listen and buy here.

Laila Biali, Sugar.

Available now.

Tracklist
  1. Revival 3:58
  2. The Monolith 5:13
  3. Glass House 4:56 $1.29 
  4. Wendy’s Song 4:39 
  5. Sugar 4:13
  6. Alpha Waves 4:08 
  7. Au Pays De Cocagne 4:12 
  8. Take Me to the Alley 5:23 
  9. The Baker’s Daughter 5:24 
  10. Broken Vessels 5:34 
  11. Take the Day Off 03:40

Interview by  Marc Louis-Boyard for Slow Culture

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