‘A moment of sheer and utter insanity’

Singer-songwriter Jenn Mierau talks about the DIY process behind her album, Hush

Raised in Winnipeg, singer-songwriter Jenn Mierau has called Montreal home for the past seven years.
Mierau recorded her most recent album, Hush, over the course of two years in her home studio.

Talk about doing it yourself. For her latest album, Hush, Winnipeg expat and current Montreal resident Jenn Mierau not only wrote and recorded all the music herself, she also created the album artwork by rug-hooking a 14,400-stitch self-portrait.

“That was a moment of sheer and utter insanity, of course!” Mierau says with a laugh, recalling the moment she decided to create the self-portrait. “It literally took me three months of doing it almost every day, almost like a full-time job. By the end, I’m sitting on my couch and I’ve got braces on both my wrists and I can’t tell you how many times I was thinking, ‘I make really horrible life choices. This is ridiculous.’”

The musician laughs about it now, especially since the hard work paid off. It’s a great looking cover and you can witness its creation on YouTube via a stop-motion video Mierau made during the rug-hooking process.

But beyond the homemade cover art, Hush contains some great, dark pop songs with Mierau’s alluring voice singing over programmed beats and the warmth of a vintage Wurlitzer electronic organ.

She recorded the album herself in her home studio, drawing from a collection of songs she wrote roughly two-and-a-half years ago.

“I feel like very often my songs come from a bit of a melancholic place,” Mierau says. “I sort of have to sometimes push myself to write happy things, or do a cover song to add happy things into the mix.”

Since she released the album last fall, Mierau has been working on perfecting her live show.

“I’m constantly tweaking the live show because, for the most part, I’m always playing by myself,” she says. “I’m doing the live looping, I’m making live beats on my MPC2000 sampler, and then playing the keyboard and singing. It’s such a coordination between all limbs that after each show I go, ‘OK, now that I feel more comfortable doing this, let’s add (more) to it.’”

See Jenn Mierau open for Wax Mannequin and Oldfolks Home at the Lo Pub tonight (Thursday, Aug. 16). Doors open at 9:00 p.m. and the show starts at 10 p.m. Admission is $7. Visit www.jennmierau.com.

Published in Volume 66, Number 28 of The Uniter (June 27, 2012)

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