Jaylene Johnson’s new record, Potter & Clay, brings tales of life challenges and faith renewed to Oak Bay.
The title Potter & Clay comes from a song Johnson wrote a few years ago and reflects where her life wound the past few years.
“I’ve always loved this idea of the Creator as the artist,” she said.
The award-winning Winnipeg native’s music saw early success as a 2000 and 2003 winner of Pop Song of the Year – International Gospel Music Association as well as her LP Finding Beautiful, a 2004 nominee for a WCMA. Her music has aired on shows such as Pretty Little Liars, Degrassi: The Next Generation and So You Think You Can Dance.
But life is not without twists. A head-on collision in late 2004 took her off the stage and she signed a co-publishing deal with Casablanca Media Publishing. An avid collaborator, she co-penned songs recorded by artists including Amy Sky and Luke McMaster, and New Zealand artist Jody Direen. Then in late 2012, a rare intubation injury left her with severe vocal damage.
“I went through reparative surgery a couple years ago in Toronto. I was able to sing again, which was amazing. I made a decision that if I was asked to sing again I would,” Johnson said.
Long-time colleague and acclaimed artist Steve Bell offered his studio at Signpost Music in Winnipeg, and encouraged her to explore devotional music further. Johnson spent summer 2015 writing songs for Potter and Clay, released Oct. 7.
“I feel like my life was ground right down to dust level,” she said. “I’ve seen that in my life. My faith is very rooted and I can say the potter has been faithful to me and taken the best of my life and reshaped and remade it.”
The 12 original songs on Potter & Clay reflect experiences that deepened faith with warm, acoustically rich settings.
“I don’t pull any punches, I wrote about my faith but I also wrote about the valleys, the desert times,” she said. “It just shows how things can turn around. You might not expect that they will, but we’re not forgotten about.”
The Canadian Christian artist performs “soul-nourishing pop” from her latest album on Oct. 20 at St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church.
“I’m pretty vulnerable and frank at my shows,” Johnson said. “Sometimes we’re tempted to show always the best and brightest side of ourselves. Artists, we have this thing where we’re compelled to share things, and we write about them in songs.”
The Oak Bay stop is part of a month-long tour throughout Western Canada with her husband and six-month-old baby girl.
“It’s still a lot of hard work to launch a record, especially being a new mom,” she said
“My perspective is just more accepting of whatever’s to come rather than being disappointed that this or that hasn’t happened. I have a lot to be thankful for.”
Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door (children 12 and under free). Call 250-598-2212 for advance tickets or go to jaylenejohnson-victoria.eventbrite.ca online. Visit jaylenejohnson.com for a taste of the music.