This week Addicted is crushing on the lovely and insanely talented Laila Biali.
Laila is an award-winning Canadian Jazz pianist, vocalist and songwriter who is absolutely killing it, both on and off stage. She’s toured with Chris Botti, Paula Cole and Suzanne Vega, and recorded with and supported Sting, who seems to have his own crush on Laila! In his words,”It is the ultimate task given to the musician, whether as singer or instrumentalist, to create a unique signature or fingerprint that is instantly recognisable as their own. What is surprising and delightful in Laila Biali is that both as vocalist and pianist she accomplishes this with equal aplomb. She is an exciting and unique talent, and I admire her greatly.”
Sting isn’t the only one singer Laila’s praises. Her accolades include “SOCAN Composer of the Year” and “Keyboardist of the Year” at Canada’s National Jazz Awards. Her 2011 studio recording, Tracing Light, received a JUNO nomination for “Best Vocal Jazz Album of the Year”, and Live in Concert was named one of the Best Albums of 2013 by DownBeat Magazine. This year, Laila will release a pop-oriented project co-produced with her husband, Ben Wittman, which features original songs fitted for a vast range of instruments from gospel choir to brass quartet, bass clarinet, Haken Continuum and string orchestra. The new album, House of Many Rooms, also highlights collaborations with various singers Laila has worked with over the years including Lisa Fischer (20 Feet from Stardom, The Rolling Stones, Luther Vandross), Jo Lawry (Sting, Paul Simon), Alan Hampton (Andrew Bird, Sufjan Stevens, Robert Glasper) and the Toronto Mass Choir. Laila is also a member of the all-female New York based neo-Classical crossover quartet, Rose & the Nightingale, whose members tour with Grammy award-winner Esperanza Spalding. She currently divides her time between New York City and Toronto.
Take a listen below and get a taste of what everyone is talking about when it comes to Laila Biali.
What is the first thing that you notice about a potential love interest?
The eyes. We don’t call them windows for nothing.
What is your definition of romance?
Observing, absorbing, and then wooing.
If there was one piece of advice you could give to other men/women out there, what would it be?
Don’t assume that, if you’re not immediately attracted to someone physically, there’s no chance of developing an attraction. I know we’ve all heard this before, but I can personally attest to the fact that, in spending proper time with someone and truly getting to know them, they can become the most beautiful person you’ve ever laid eyes on. And that sometimes incremental process of truly getting to know one another as people can and often does lead to a lifelong love.
Describe your love life in one word
Steadfast (I’m married) 🙂
How do you keep the romance alive in your relationship?
Let’s just say that the flexible schedule of two freelance musicians who also happen to be the parents of a school-aged child has its perks. [HINT: See the middle of the first verse of Simon and Garfunkel’s hit song Cecilia, then omit the words “with Cecilia.”]
Catch Laila right here in Toronto on June 26th for the Toronto Jazz Festival, performing as a trio at the Jazz Bistro, and keep up with her all summer as she hits the festival circuit.