Jaylene Johnson performs at Red Willow Coffeehouse in Nanaimo.

Jaylene Johnson performs at Red Willow Coffeehouse in Nanaimo.

Pop singer’s brush with death leads to renewed focus on songwriting

Jaylene Johnson’s voice has been described as angelic, yet a car accident nearly took it away.

Jaylene Johnson’s voice has been described as angelic, yet a car accident nearly took it away.

Johnson was touring the country when her vehicle collided with a truck on the Trans Canada Highway. She survived, although she was unable to tour during rehabilitation from her injuries. But she was able to write – something she’s done for as long as she can remember.

“Music has always been with me,” Johnson said. “It was always the way I expressed myself.”

Her mother encouraged her musical talents, enrolling the youngster in piano lessons after hearing her play nursery rhymes by ear on toy instruments.

Johnson began writing her own songs more than a decade ago and her music has been featured on television shows such as Being Erica and Pretty Little Liars.

She describes it as “soul-nourishing pop,” and said her Christian faith is a big part of her music, although it’s subtle.

“It’s not evangelical,” Johnson said. “I write what I write.”

She also collaborates with other artists, including Amy Sky and Sierra Noble, and her work with the band Eagle and Hawk earned a 2011 Juno Award nomination.

“[Collaborating] really broadens my scope,” she said.

Playing a small venue, like she will when she performs in Nanaimo at the Red Willow Coffeehouse at Hope Lutheran Church on Departure Bay Road, allows her to connect with people and share her music.

After her accident, she realized how easily it can all end and she’s more willing to take risks to make her dreams come true.

“I feel there’s something I’m meant to do,” Johnson said.

The concert is set for Aug. 12 and begins with an open mike at 7 p.m., before Johnson takes the stage at 9 p.m. Admission $5.

For more information, please visit www.jaylenejohnson.com.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com