Many musicians talk about the process of having to find what kind of artist they are.
Molly Johnson isn’t one of them.
The JUNO-winning Canadian jazz icon says she’s never particularly lacked for a sense of who she is.
“I think I was born a baddass. Quite frankly, I’ve been told ‘you actually scared me a little bit, Molly,” she tells Terry David Mulligan on this weekend’s Mulligan Stew.
It’s no mystery where that strong personality comes from. She credits her parents — both civil rights activists in America — for helping set an example.
“Nothing says Teflon like a mixed-race couple in 1950 in the United States of America. Clearly I inherited outrageous genes.”
That outlook, along with ceaseless talent and energy, have lead to a long and celebrated career — musician, festival organizer, advocate and Officer of the Order of Canada. Despite those many accomplishments, Johnson says her newest album, Meaning to Tell Ya, is the one that she has been waiting her whole life to produce.
“I got the dream producer, Larry Klein, who has produced some of the greatest vocal jazz records ever. Period. Full stop.” she says.
“And I got Canada’s A-Band. More importantly, Larry came to Canada and got in a room with us boneheads. “Canada, if we have a lot of something, it’s talent. Creativity … we’ve got it in spades, and we’re getting pretty darn good at it.”
The result is a vibrant, energetic album with seven songs penned by Johnson. She also lends her unmistakeable voice to songs from Marvin Gaye, Leonard Cohen and Gil Scott-Heron.
To hear more about Meaning to Tell Ya and Molly’s next steps, tune into Mulligan Stew on Saturday at 5pm MT, or check out the Mulligan Stew podcast later this week.