Ottawa has been producing an eclectic mix of talent in recent years that are having more and more success outside of the city, from Night Lovell and A Tribe Called Red, to a number of punk bands. And who can forget R&B prince Maurice Moore? We might be soon adding someone else to that list- Krista Jane.
At only 26 years old, the past decade has been an adventure, from landing a spot in the Top 200 on Canadian Idol at 16 years old and performing across North America, winning amateur night at the Apollo Theatre in New York City, and graduating from the University of Ottawa’s Bachelor of Commerce program and becoming an accountant, to her most well-known gig, singing the national anthem at Ottawa Senators games. All these experiences have brought her to the latest, and possibly most exciting, step in her career yet- the release of her first EP, Tomorrow.
“Tomorrow is for everybody. Tomorrow is universal. It’s a clean slate. What ever you’re going through tomorrow is a promise of a new day.” – Krista Jane
Last night, Krista Jane held an EP release concert at Mercury Lounge in Ottawa’s Byward Market to celebrate this milestone in front of family, friends and fans. She explained the title of the project telling those in attendance, “Tomorrow is for everybody. Tomorrow is universal. It’s a clean slate. What ever you’re going through tomorrow is a promise of a new day.”
Krista opened with one of her “older” songs, a ballad called What Is Love. One of the first things you notice about Krista Jane is how seasoned she is as a performer. Although she’s only on her first project, you can tell she’s put in years of work. The second thing you notice is that she has soul, which, along with her name, had me wondering where she’s from (I later found out she’s of Lebanese descent).
She then moved on to If I Ain’t Got You by Alicia Keys (there would be lots of covers throughout her performance) before moving on to the lead single off the project, Waters Overwhelm, an uptempo track with some Reggae vibes. Then came Can’t Let You Go, a track she co-produced. She joked, perhaps with some truth, that she wrote the piano part when she was 15 years old.
Then came the second single off the EP, Fly Away, which teased a bit of an old school rap intro, before going into a medley or “mash up” of classics including Killing Me Softly (apparently her favourite song to perform) and Doo Wop (That Thing), and newer songs like Sorry by Justin Bieber and Unforgettable by French Montana. To be honest, I don’t really like to hear covers at a concert, but Krista’s love for the music was contagious and as one of the few Ottawa artists that’s less of an underground artist and is clearly in more of “commercial” lane in the industry, it was good to hear her perform some well-known songs to get an idea of the kinds of songs we could expect from her as she hopefully hits the mainstream.
The show closed with the final two songs on the EP, Salvation Is Coming, another upbeat track, and Hopes of Tomorrow, a slower track with lots of soul that shows off her wide vocal range.
Looking at the names of the songs, Krista Jane seems to be just as interested in inspiring people as entertaining them. In fact, listening to the lyrics, there seems to be an underlying message of freedom on this project.
Overall, it was a good show. Krista Jane is a breath of fresh air for a few reasons. In a city where a lot of artists are independent or underground, a local talent that has mainstream potential is quite refreshing. It was also nice to see her living her dream. You could tell that at the end of the show she didn’t want to leave the stage. This was her dream and she was thankful, and she deserved to take it in.