When British Columbian singer Jessica Stuart decided to move to Toronto a half-dozen years ago she had just three goals.
“I had only three goals when I moved out to Toronto as my markers of success and I met two them fairly quickly, which were to release an album of my material [and] to have my music played on radio,” Stuart told the News Bulletin. “And CBC started being very lovely to us.”
Her third goal was to return to the country that she once lived in as a child.
“The last goal was to tour Japan because I play a Japanese instrument [the Koto] in my group.”
Prior to moving to Toronto, Stuart found herself working at a regular day job when she decided to relocate and kickstart her music career.
“I was in a very stable job before and I gave up that up and financial stability and all the things that go along with a normal job in order to do this,” she said.
Since relocation, the Vancouverite has not only found herself living and working full-time as a musician, but she has experienced some success with her band, The Jessica Stuart Few, who took home two Toronto Independent Music Award nominations in 2012.
“I hadn’t been doing music as my profession out west because I didn’t really see an opportunity to make enough money to live to be honest,” Stuart explained. “Unless I was doing a whole lot of teaching or other things, which take the form of a more conventional job.”
On July 17, she and her band will be performing at the Vault Café. The Vancouverite’s stop in Nanaimo is part of a lengthy tour, which will also see her perform throughout Western Canada and on Gabriola Island.
Last year, The Jessica Stuart Few, who are self-described as a pop-indie-folk-jazz band travelled to Japan, where they experienced a wealth of success.
“I really wanted to have the chance to bring my music back there and see how the Japanese felt about it and if they would connect with it in the way that I hoped that they would and they did. It was totally amazing. We ended up with a Top 40 single from our last album. It just totally blew me away,” Stuart recalled about their tour in Japan.
The Jessica Stuart Few have released two albums, Kid Dream and Two Sides to Every Story.
“When we recorded the first album I feel like we were still quite young as band. Also, some material on that album, was songs that I had from when I was in B.C. and I brought with me to Toronto,” Stuart explained about Kid Dream. “I was sort of experimenting with things at that time, so that album has a particular sound to it.”
She said Two Sides to Every Story is a more accurate representation of the band’s sound.
“When we recorded that album we had done a significant amount of touring. We recorded it after a 40-date cross-Canada tour. So we were totally studio ready. We had been playing these tunes over and over in a variety of ways and contexts and so when we got to the studio, I knew we could nail it,” Stuart said. “It was just a matter of what energy we were going to bring to it and what interpretation we were going to do … I feel like it is a totally great representation of who we are.”
The Jessica Stuart Few are currently working towards a new record and those who take in her performance at the Vault Café will have a chance to hear the band’s new tunes.
“We always play our material a bunch, when we are touring, before we record it,” Stuart said. “There are a bunch of new tunes that we’ve been playing for over a year now.”
The Jessica Stuart Few perform at the Vault Café on July 17. For more information, please visit www.jessicastuartmusic.com.