There are times when your mailbox gives you something that makes you smile. That happened for us this week when a packaged-pink envelope arrived from Switzerland. It’s not everyday that we get mail from across the seas so when that does happen I take note (no pun intended, but it does work). At first listen there is a nice blend of well crafted melodies and well composed ballads. But diving further into Jaylis’ album led me to realize that it offers the sweet sounds of Swiss folk music and so much more.
For those (like myself) who are unfamiliar with parts of Europe and the Swiss countryside, the village of Genolier lies between larger cities of Geneva and Lausanne. It is in this small town that Jaylis resides. Switzerland has four national languages (German, French, Italian, and Romansh) which can confuse those of us in the west who tend to stick with one language (and if you read Facebook or Twitter posts, you see we’re not so good with just one). Jaylis resides in the French area of the country and has been actively involved in music since her teens.
Guitar is an instrument most songwriters start out with when first getting into music. Drums are usually allocated to either the person who is naturally rhythmic, likes to tap/beat on things without thinking, and/or has extra space in their house for the drum set to go. Sometimes the drummer also ends up being the person that wouldn’t fit other instruments.
“I played in a rock band when I was a teenager (15 to 17 years old), my brother was playing the guitar and I was playing the drums, mainly because we couldn’t find a drummer,” Jaylis told me. Her career as a drummer was short-lived when she discovered more than a talent in a different line or music, but a passion as well.
“Then I realized I enjoyed singing. So we found another drummer who (later) became my husband and I started to sing.”
Fast-forward to present day where the love of singing meet the responsibilities of adulthood and the maturity of a songwriting prowess shines through in her album Precious As Diamonds. With a sound similar to Fiona Apple and Dido, Jaylis writes intriguing storylines within her songs on a plate of AC rock beats and instrumentation. Songs like Tim, Pain and In The Sky highlight an album full of musical flavors perfect for an afternoon drive, work in the coffee shop, or indie music playlist.
The maturity of her songwriting comes through songs like Ghost where metaphors for spiritual journeys and birth rise with a whispered breath through folk-rock textures. It is here where the Fiona Apple similarities shined for me, but Jaylis crafts her own pathway. Adulthood changes the writing process, as lifestyles change the way songwriters process life. Following the birth of her two children, the storylines in her songs took on a new birth.
“And that’s when everything started, when my son was about 1 year old, I started to get inspired, and had melodies in my head all the time,” Jaylis said in describing her re-emergence as a songwriter following getting married and having her first child (a daughter).
The melodies led to her forming a new band and playing some small shows. But it wasn’t until she connected with a producer named Raphael Noir that things started to really jive. Noir, also a musician, took a different approach to songwriting than Jaylis had experienced previously. The result is the album Precious As The Diamonds, a celebration of melodies and folk songwriting. Music for Jaylis has become a vehicle for not only expression but also connection. “It is full of tenderness somehow, I really enjoy it,” she says.
We do too. Pick up her new album (or recommended songs mentioned HERE.