Nfld. & Labrador·First Listen

Laura Taylor found her jazz singing voice By Chance

Laura Taylor of Happy Valley-Goose Bay didn't know she had the voice of a jazz singer, until she took a voice lesson from Peter Halley of Spirit of Newfoundland Productions.

Have a First Listen to By Chance by Laura Taylor

Laura Taylor's debut album is called By Chance. (Laura Taylor)

Laura Taylor of Happy Valley-Goose Bay didn't know she had the voice of a jazz singer.  

That is, until she took a voice lesson with Peter Halley of Spirit of Newfoundland Productions about two years ago. 

Halley had been in Labrador as an adjudicator for the Melville Music Festival, and immediately booked Taylor to perform at the Stars of the Festival Concert, even though she had not competed as a solo singer. 

"It was pretty nerve-racking but also awesome," said Taylor, 18.

After that first performance a couple of years ago, Taylor kept in touch with Halley, meeting for voice lessons and introducing her to other musicians whenever she visited St. John's. 

"He [Halley] suggested, 'Why don't we try recording something?'" said Taylor. 

"So we headed down to the legendary Sandy Morris's studio and we wound up recording By Chance." 

Jazz favourites

By Chance is a collection of covers of some of Taylor's favourite jazz and jazz-influenced songs, from artists such as Norah Jones, Sam Cooke and John Lennon.  

Taylor has also started booking solo performances, in both Happy Valley-Goose Bay and St. John's. 

Now a Memorial University student, Taylor divides her time between St. John's and Labrador.  

While she's at university, Taylor is determined to keep the momentum going in her accidental singing career. 

She performs regularly and works on songwriting — with an eye to creating some original songs. 

"I have a piano in my room and a little ukulele," said Taylor.

Laura Taylor of Happy Valley-Goose Bay has recently discovered her jazz voice - and she's putting it to use on her new album, By Chance. 13:42

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You can hear First Listen on Sundays on Weekend AM from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. (5:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. in most of Labrador) on CBC Radio One.  

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About the Author

Heather Barrett is the host and producer of Weekend AM on CBC Radio One in Newfoundland and Labrador.