Back in 2005, I was dragged by a friend into a large conference hall where some girl named Jane Lui was performing. I had somewhere else I wanted to be, but since my friend was one of the organizers for the event, I decided I would forsake the autograph of a favorite author and help fill out the seats.
I was told she had an amazing voice, but I was skeptical. My teenage years were spent adoring Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan, and Fiona Apple. I’ve got a special place in my heart for the female singer/songwriter. That’s another way of saying I’m a snob about the genre. As an adult, I was often told “she’s got an amazing voice!” more times than I can count only to be sorely disappointed.
My opinion of Jane Lui after the jump.
Sure, there are a lot of pretty voices out there, but I live in L.A. Talent is a dime a dozen in this town where everyone’s trying to break through and everyone tends to sound like everyone else. Often gorgeous vocals are ruined by droning music or superficial lyrics, so it’s hard to find an artist who really, really stands out.
Jane got up on stage, kind of geeky-looking but with a totally hip multilayer highlights haircut. She sat down at her piano and placed her fingers on the keys as I sat leaning back in my chair, checking my watch. Then she took in a deep breath and sang.
Immediately, I sat up in my seat and leaned forward. I realized I was exactly where I wanted to be. I felt her voice wrap around me, soulful and angelic, sad and playful, with musical nostalgia and skillfully impressionistic lyrics that were both familiar yet refreshing.
It was love at first listen.
Since then, Jane’s music is a regular part of my aural diet.
Her beautiful cover of Michael Jackson’s “You Are Not Alone w/Ave Maria” was previously shown much love on 8Asians. My favorite Jane Lui cover is the one of Burno Mars. It was so good I was sad when I heard the original.
Barketine is more chilled out and sort of zen minimalistic. I love relaxing to Firefly, West in Me, Surrija, and Widowmakers.
Her newest album, Goodnight Company, is generally more lighthearted and playful. Long Ago (this one with David Choi & Kina Grannis), New Jersey, and Jailcard frequent my playlists. Her new rendition of Edelweiss is to die for.
Although she sounds great recorded, it’s nothing compared to hearing her live. You haven’t really heard Jane Lui sing until you’ve really felt her sing, in flesh, blood, and soul.