By David F. Rooney
She’s a Juno Award nominee, has three CDs behind her, an excellent reputation from singing with the likes of Paula Cole and has won applause around the world. As if that’s not enough jazz singer Laila Biali is currently on tour and is singing at the Performing Arts Centre on the evening of Sunday, October 6.
Will Revelstoke be the high point of her current tour? Who knows? Even if it’s not, the North Vancouver-born singer is looking forward to her moment in the limelight at the Performing Arts Centre. In fact, she’s actually been here before — back in March 2011 when she sang at the United Church. The church is a nice, friendly and honey venue but the Performing Arts Centre is larger and purpose-built concert hall.
“Revelstoke sounds like a fantastic place,” she said afer hearing about some of the things she and her band could see and do before their performance. It might even stack up against Brooklyn, the American city where she spends half of her life with her husband and child, the other half being Toronto.
“Brooklyn has changed a lot,” she said. “Culturally, it’s super, super diverse. It’s become a more hip place to be than it was once. We have a terrific farmer’s market and we’re a stone’s throw from the Botanical Garden. There’s stuff going on all the time.”
When you consider how Ms Biali jams her life with interesting experiences — everything from writing her own songs to teaching jazz workshops at places like Stanford University in California, The Banff Centre in Alberta and The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto — it’s natural that she values living in an exciting and interesting urban environment.
She also places a premium on music that is intelligently written and composed, music that touches you where it counts. But, the, Laila Biali has been writing music since she was a child.
“I often remember writing my first song when I was 12,” she said. “The Cells… it was a Halloweeny, spooky piece.”
She has gone well past that juvenile effort but it still sticks in her mind and you wonder what her 12-year-old self would make of her other original songs like Still The One or A la poursuite des marees (Chasing Tides.) You can hear both of those songs on Laila Biali’s YouTube Channel.
Ms. Biali is also something of an innovator when it comes to her own concerts. Usually, performers pick the songs they want to sing and hope for the best. Laila, however, is letting concert-goers pick the songs they’d like to hear.
She calls it her Requestomatic. You pick the songs from her three albums, From Sea to Sky (2007), Tracing Light (2010) and Live in Concert (2012). You can also send an e-mail with your requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laila Biali will be live at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre on Sunday, October 6 at 7:30 pm.
You can purchase tickets at the Chamber of Commerce and ArtFirst! For $15 or you can click here to purchase them online.