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Linley Weir finds bittersweet spot between jazz and blues on debut album

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Desires, the debut album from the Linley Weir Quartet, may introduce a new voice in jazz, but it's one rooted in the classic influences of Nina Simone and Cassandra Wilson. Like those legendary vocalists, Weir's singing finds that bittersweet spot between jazz and blues.

Born and raised in West London, England, Weir's future was cemented at the age of 10 when a piano was brought into her house. For Weir, it was only the beginning. “I had piano lessons and enjoyed playing throughout my teens, but it wasn't until my 20s that I heard Bobby McFerrin and Chick Corea's 'Spain' on the radio. Something clicked that day," Weir recalled. “It was at that moment that I knew and felt with all my heart that I wanted to sing jazz." Nevertheless, Weir seemed destined to pursue music given that her members of her family were no strangers to it. “I was surrounded by music as a child with my father playing the bagpipes and my uncle being a professional classical pianist," Weir added.

Weir eventually graduated with honors from Leeds College of Music and then started performing around the world to Japan, Spain, Ireland, and China. To Weir, live performance rewards her with a breathtaking high. “Performing is the best part of sharing your music," Weir said. “I love the spontaneity, the pleasure of improvising and feeling the audience with you."

What Weir was not aware of during her early years of being a performer was that there was another side to music, a less glamorous one: the business aspect of it. “At first I didn't realize there's much more to being a musician than just playing music," Weir revealed. “You start out not thinking any further than the music you're creating, but then when you realize you actually have to make a living from it, the whole business side comes into play. It's a steep learning curve, and something you have to pick up as you go along."

Nevertheless, the passion Weir felt for music in her childhood has never dissipated. “What I love about jazz is the freedom to take influences from anywhere, stretching the boundaries and reaching for something new," Weir explained. “I'm already writing material for the next album and hope to really challenge myself and my voice. I studied Indian music so would love to incorporate a more fusion sound and take on ideas from other musicians and cultures. Working with musicians from other genres really opens up the possibilities in terms of musical colors and brings new sources of inspiration."

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