Port Alberni jazz musician Lauren Falls has been nominated for a Juno Award.
Falls was nominated for Solo Jazz Album of the Year for her album “A Little Louder Now,” which was released in late 2022. Although Falls currently resides in Toronto, she grew up in Port Alberni and graduated from Alberni District Secondary School (ADSS).
Falls said she was “very honoured” to hear the news that she has been nominated for her first Juno Award, and she plans to attend the awards ceremony in Edmonton on March 13, 2023.
“It’s pretty exciting, and a little nervous,” she said. “But a good kind of nervous.”
Falls says her most recent album was mostly inspired by moving back to Canada from New York, where she lived for around nine years.
“I felt like Toronto was kind of my landing place,” she said. “It was kind of about getting re-inspired and feeling fiery again. That’s where the name ‘A Little Louder Now’ came from.”
The album features a collection of original compositions that Falls has written in the last three or four years. Falls plays the bass on the album, which also features her brother Trevor Falls on drums, David French on tenor sax, Trevor Giancola on guitar and Todd Penney on piano.
“When I write music I can hear [each of my band members] playing it,” she said. “I’ve always loved playing with my brother, Trevor, and I can’t really think of anyone else I would have wanted to play on the record.”
Falls grew up in a very musical family. Her brother plays the drums, while her mother and father were both music teachers. Falls started out playing piano and violin at a young age, but eventually fell in love with the bass.
“At first I wanted to pick the drums,” Falls laughed. “But my parents thought maybe two drummers in the family is too much. They lightly suggested the bass, I gave it a try and I fell in love with it. My parents are definitely a huge part of my musical upbringing and were always very supportive,” she added. “They’re jazz lovers, so there was always jazz music playing at home. That’s where I got an ear for it.”
Falls said she had plenty of support throughout her early musical career in Port Alberni, especially in the schools.
“I think Port Alberni’s really lucky in that sense,” she said. “The support for the arts is really strong. There are some fantastic private teachers, as well. A lot of music happening there. I’m also really inspired by nature and Vancouver Island is one of the most beautiful places on earth, so that also played a part in being inspired to write music as well.”
After graduating from ADSS, Falls went on to study at Toronto’s Humber College Jazz Program. She received her Master’s in Jazz Bass performance at New York’s Manhattan School of Music and presently resides in Toronto, where she teaches in the jazz department of the University of Toronto and performs in many jazz groups in the area.
Falls says she has a number of gigs coming up before the Juno Awards in March.
“I’m always busy playing,” Falls said.