Published May 28, 2019In the ebullient chorus of "Raven," the opening track of Jenn Grant's new album Love, Inevitable, Grant brightly makes a confession that's bigger than it may seem at first listen: "Honey, I don't know."
A year ago, when the Nova Scotia-based singer-songwriter was writing the bulk of Love, Inevitable and recording it, she was wading through the unknown. Grant was undergoing fertility treatments and then became pregnant with her son, Gus (born in December 2018) — the culmination of a five-year journey to motherhood. As Grant tells Exclaim!, Love, Inevitable is a time capsule of this unstable time.
"I think I was really in between things. There was so much unknowing," Grant says, in a condo-turned-Airbnb property that overlooks more condos in downtown Toronto. "It was just a strange time where I didn't know where my processes were going to take me, I guess. I was writing with hope."
Producer (and Grant's husband) Daniel Ledwell worked on Grant's last four records, but for Love, Inevitable, she decided to try something new. Already a big fan of his work, Grant teamed up with Tucker Martine (First Aid Kit, Neko Case, Laura Veirs) and recorded the album in Portland, Oregon.
"Dan and I make all of our records together, we tour together, and we are now parents together. I love working with Danny, and it's almost [at the point] when you don't even have to communicate anymore, you just know what you have to do," says Grant.
"I wanted to take a risk by working with somebody else. I also started wondering, 'Do I know how to make records without Danny?' 'What happens when there is no Danny?' He has been such a part of my musical process. But when I brought it to him as an idea, he was like, 'Go!'"
The resulting folk-pop album glistens like the high-noon sun reflecting on a calm lake. On "Arizona," for instance, Grant is ablaze as her vocal layers weave between each other, and "Lost in Our Wishes" ticks and shudders with a playful electronic beat. This musical lightness mirrors the optimism that Grant wrote with and reveals the other driving force behind her album: love. As the title suggests, love has a heavy presence on Love, Inevitable.
"[Love] is the thing that you need in life, so it's a big theme," Grant notes. About songwriting, Grant says it's instinctive and roughly describes the process of, through her songs, capturing a feeling that's within reach.
"I was talking to my video director [Samantha Scaffidi] for 'Keep a Light On,' and we had a cool conversation about where our work comes from. We talked about how it comes from nowhere and how there's this special nowhere," Grant explains. "I wrote a lot of [the album] in the living room of my house. I have these big windows and we live on a lake and there's trees and stuff. And I always felt like the thing I was trying to get was always right there: whether it was Gus or in songwriting or any type of creative work."
In the breezy album highlight "Keep a Light On," there's a line that Grant repeats: "Everything's going to be alright." It comes not long after "Raven," in which Grant expressed her uncertainty. The two statements feel entwined as a result, and together they provide a reminder to not lose hope. Happiness will happen; it's inevitable.
"I wrote [the 2014 record] Compostela after my mother died. I waited for a year before I wrote anything, because I wanted to honour the experience with positivity. I feel like that's what my career is kind of about: giving people that feeling of lightness or security," Grant says.
"I wanted to have a baby for such a long time, but I never wrote about it until this record when I decided to write about it — even though I didn't know it was going to happen, from a place of being okay about it."
Love, Inevitable is out May 31.