Singer/songwriter Jodi King has been surrounded by music and melody as long as she can remember. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba into a family that gathered every Sunday at church to sing in the choir, Jodi recalls, "Even Lilly, my Ukrainian grandmother joined us. She was a soprano." Soon thereafter, the piano caught her attention and, as a four year old, Jodi began writing her own songs, each sophisticated enough to feature separate verses and progressions.
By high school, Jodi was fully immersed in music, singing backup on tour with popular Western Canadian singers including Juno Winner Steve Bell and Jon Buller. Some performances saw Jodi solo in front of 3,000 plus patrons. Jodi remembers a guest turn performing background vocals on a Christmas album by the beloved Fred Penner as one of those unique experiences that cemented her resolve to pursue her dream to become a singer.
For the past two years, Jodi has toured tirelessly across Canada, building a grassroots following on the strength of her two self-released EPs: 2007's The Acoustic EP and 2009's Street Lights EP which have sold a combined 11,000 units to date. The word-of-mouth buzz culminated in a 2009 Covenant Award nomination for Inspirational Song of the Year for "Breathing In / Breathing Out", featured on the Street Lights EP.
The two EP's set the stage for Jodi's forthcoming full-length debut LP, Little Smile, which was written over a two year period in concentrated writing sessions sandwiched in between tour dates. Collaborations with Damhnait Doyle (formerly of Shaye), singer/songwriter and emerging Broadway talent Kyle Riabko and veteran guitarist Stuart Cameron (son of the late John Allan Cameron) took place in Toronto. Jodi wrote with Colin Munroe in Los Angeles in between shows at the venerable Hotel Café. Other songs emerged during brief stopovers in Winnipeg and Nashville.
In spring 2010, Dallas Austin protégé Colin Munroe and Walter Afanasieff protégé Adrian Bradford begun the process of turning the writing demos into fully realized songs. Munroe's (Lights, Sia, Travis McCoy) eight productions represent the bulk of Little Smile and feature his signature blend of organic and synthetic musical elements, resulting in bright, soaring, crystalline pop songs that showcase Jodi's vocals. Bradford's (Meiko, Mat Kearney, Starfield) four contributions anchor Little Smile with a live-off-the-floor, atmospheric quality, revealing Jodi at her most beautifully vulnerable and natural. Veteran engineers Joe Zook (Kelly Clarkson, P!nk, Katy Perry) and Bryan Cook (Meiko, Sia, The Raconteurs) collaborated with Munroe and Bradford to mix the album.
The resulting LP is - like Jodi herself - disarmingly sincere, honest and completely without pretence. Whether marvelling at the natural beauty of her home, Winnipeg, nestled in the prairies in central Canada, ("Home", "Breathing In / Breathing Out"), poking fun at herself and her inability to convincingly pull off the latest trends at the mall (the LP's first official single, "My Boyfriend's Jeans") or declaring her true love for a boy ("Your Reason", "Synthesize") in every note Jodi sings, she embodies the proverbial "Girl Next Door".
Although 10 of the 12 songs featured on Little Smile were written or co-written by Jodi herself, the thread weaving the songs together is Jodi's voice. Evoking the fresh-scrubbed, natural vocals of a young Sheryl Crow, Jewel or Chantal Kreviazuk, the intimacy of Jodi's delivery is a much-needed antidote to the auto-tuned antagonism of female artists currently dominating FM pop radio.
As the release of Little Smile looms near, Jodi is optimistic about how the songs will be received, "I think there is room for pop songs that are genuine and uplifting. That's what I do best and that's what I want to share - as far and wide as possible..." With each song and performance converting more and more music lovers into fans of Jodi King, it's becoming clear that music, quite simply, is what Jodi was meant to do.