When Jenny Lea was first invited to perform at the Shambhala Music Festival last year, the Selkirk College student was planning to do an acoustic set as a solo singer-songwriter.
But then she moved to Vancouver and met Mikey J. Blige, and together they formed the future soul duo I M U R.
“We came back and asked if we could do the same songs but with an electronic, psychedelic twist, and they were game. So we had maybe a month to get it all together. It was overwhelming,” said Lea, who is returning to the Kootenays on Thursday to play at Bloom Nightclub.
“That experience was huge for both of us.”
Since then the pair have been working “literally non-stop” to release 13 tracks in approximately 9 months, while touring and playing regularly in East Vancouver. And though she dropped out after her first year in school, Lea still credits her experiences in Nelson with jumpstarting her career.
“The teachers were really incredible at Selkirk. Melody Diachun in particular, she definitely helped me with my confidence in my own abilities. I became a singer without any previous lessons or coaching, so getting all the warmups and knowledge from her was really important to me.”
Lea is recovering from vocal chord surgery, but hasn’t let that stymy her creative process. Blige said his collaboration with Lea has produced some of the best material of his career—he’s been a part of multiple acts before this—and he’s thrilled about their upcoming release “FFL”—which stands for “Fight, F***, Love”.
“It’s going to be eye candy, and the song it’s put to is the most sparkly, appealing track. We’re trying to communicate this sultry kind of dark IMUR sound that we’ve developed,” he said.
Last year the pair released a six-track EP called Slow Dive, and now they’re working on a full-length album called Little Death—a title that alludes to orgasm.
“Little Death definitely encompasses our sexual revolution. It’s about emotions and sex and relationships in our current world,” she said.
Lea is stoked about the upcoming Bloom show.
“What I’m doing now is so different from what I was doing when most of these people saw me last, so I’m excited to see how people will respond.”
And her music is a perfect fit for the Kootenays, she figures.
“Knowing what I know about Nelson, I think we encompass a lot of things people are into: we’re electronic, but we also bring a lot of soul. And there are a lot of live elements to our show you can’t experience online. You won’t expect the things that are going to happen.”
The Bloom Nightclub shows starts at 10 p.m. Blige will perform opening and closing DJ sets.
This story will appear in the West Kootenay Advertiser.