Hit­ting the right note

Jor­dana Tal­sky on the wind­ing path she took from a ca­reer in law to jazz mu­sic by Ju­lia Mas­troianni

Bayview Post - - Currents -

There are two ver­sions of Jor­dana Tal­sky — one ex­ists in the world of law and jus­tice, and one ex­ists on stage singing jazz.

For a while, Tal­sky didn’t know if that sec­ond ver­sion of her­self would ever be a re­al­ity.

“My re­la­tion­ship with mu­sic has al­ways been that I have a pas­sion for it, but I haven’t been sure of how it fits into my life,” she says.

Grow­ing up, mu­sic was ev­ery­where for her. Around the house, she says her par­ents were al­ways play­ing ’50s and ’60s oldies mu­sic.

When Tal­sky was six, she had a solo in a school play, and when her teacher pulled her par­ents aside to tell them Tal­sky might have a spe­cial tal­ent for mu­sic, Tal­sky started tak­ing pi­ano lessons.

Though mu­sic con­tin­ued to play a role in her life — Tal­sky at­tended Claude Wat­son School for the Arts where she stud­ied opera — she found her­self on a dif­fer­ent path, study­ing law at Western Univer­sity and prac­tis­ing for seven years.

Dur­ing her days as a lawyer, Tal­sky started go­ing to open mic nights and meet­ing peo­ple in the mu­sic scene, even writ­ing her own songs. That’s when it hit her.

“I think I was just like, ‘You only live once and who are you liv­ing for? What are you liv­ing for?’ Right now I’m on an up­swing, I want to ded­i­cate my­self to [mu­sic] and ex­plore it,” Tal­sky says.

She says it’s a dif­fi­cult com­mit­ment be­cause there’s no set path on how to make a ca­reer out of a pas­sion for mu­sic.

“Ob­vi­ously it’s not very prof­itable, so I think you have to con­stantly be ask­ing your­self and re­mind­ing your­self why you’re do­ing it,” Tal­sky says, “and af­firm to your­self why you’re do­ing it be­cause no one else will.”

Though Tal­sky stud­ied clas­si­cal mu­sic at Claude Wat­son, she’s de­voted to jazz mu­sic now.

“I ap­pre­ci­ate the com­plex­ity in jazz. I think I en­joy mu­sic that is chal­leng­ing to the ears. Some­thing about the swing, I guess, the swing and the emo­tion be­hind it just drew me in,” she says.

So far, she has re­leased two al­bums, Stan­dard De­vi­a­tion in 2013 and Nei­ther of Ei­ther in 2017, and is cur­rently work­ing on new mu­sic for an­other al­bum.

As much as Tal­sky has taken her new ca­reer in stride, she says she wishes she had started out think­ing of her mu­sic as a pro­fes­sion and a busi­ness.

“That kind of stuff is re­ally hard for me be­cause I al­ways con­sid­ered mu­sic kind of a pas­sion. Ev­ery­one sort of has to learn for them­selves how to make it a busi­ness and how to make money from it,” she says.

She men­tions Suba Sankaran, Juno-nom­i­nated singer and ed­u­ca­tor, as some­one who men­tored her and helped shape her ca­reer.

“She’s been some­one I look up to be­cause she is some­one who man­aged to carve out a ca­reer for her­self. She’s shown that it’s pos­si­ble if you have the where­withal to make mu­sic a full-time thing,”Tal­sky says.

Tal­sky’s first Cana­dian tour per­form­ing at dif­fer­ent jazz fes­ti­vals was this past June, and she says it was a high­light.

“I per­formed in parts of Canada I hadn’t been to at all be­fore, and that’s been able to hap­pen re­ally just within this last year.”

Though Tal­sky took a unique path to get to where she is now, she rec­om­mends that oth­ers who are pas­sion­ate about mu­sic don’t take as much time to get there.

“If peo­ple think they want to do some­thing, they should shadow some­one and get to know the dayto-day ex­is­tence of that kind of life­style and ca­reer,” Tal­sky says.

Her next show is Oct. 25 at the Cameron House in Toronto.

Tal­sky will per­form at the Cameron House in Toronto on Oct. 25

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