Find Yourself | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Find Yourself

Jennifer Lande uses songwriting as soul searching

Find Yourself
Gary Callicott
Lande performs originals by local singer/songwriter Jennifer Lande Sunday on the Music Makers Stage.

I first had the pleasure of listening to Lande when they performed on the main stage at the Bend Summer Festival in July.

"I grew up Jennifer Lande, that's my maiden name," Jennifer Lande told me. "In college, everyone just called me Lande. So Lande just stuck with me. When it came time to come up with a band name, because I just have a rotating variety of musicians I play with, Lande worked. It's nice, when you don't have a set band, to have it be yourself, and then featuring other artists."

Lande reminds me of one of my favorite female musicians, Jenny Lewis, known for her solo work as well as being the lead singer of indie rock band, Rilo Kiley. Like Lewis, Lande has long reddish brown hair, plays guitar and does the principal songwriting for her projects.

"I've always loved music and sang, but never formally," Lande recalls. "I used to make up songs, kind of Weird Al-style to make my friends laugh. In college, I picked up my first guitar for $100. I aspired to play like Stevie Ray Vaughan, but I never took a lesson. After college, I just kind of got bored with it and it just sat under my bed for a decade or more. I was going through some rough times in life and needed to do some energy work.

"I got in touch with my emotions for the first time in my life and just out of the blue started writing full songs. I pulled out the old guitar, it was still there under the bed and still in tune. I was living in Hawaii. I wrote my first song. It was called, 'Where Did I Go?' I didn't know who I was anymore. I couldn't go back to being a carefree college hippie and I couldn't go back to where I was. I think songwriting served as a way to express myself."

Through songwriting, Lande was able to find herself, working really hard on soul searching.

"Sometimes everything comes together perfectly and it feels like a little bit of magic happens," Lande says. "It fills my soul. Those are the songs I like sharing with people because they tend to mean something to them as well." 

When she first started writing, Lande admits the songs were a bit all over the place. She tends to write in a rock-meets-psychedelia type vein, but sees all of her songs fitting a common thread. Earlier this year, Lande released a first album, "Stealing Flowers," which includes more slower-paced songs. She's currently working on a second, more rock-heavy album, called, "Waiting for Nancy." She pulled the more rock-y sounds off of "Stealing Flowers" and decided to separate the two styles to create two more cohesive albums.

After she wraps up the next album, Lande plans to promote both albums and aims to get on a festival circuit, while continuing to play and write.

"I like that I don't have an agenda or an end goal," Lande says. "I'm just walking the path and it's going to go as far as it's meant to go." 

Lande says she can't wait to play Bend Roots Revival again this year. She has a coveted evening spot on Sunday night and loves the community focus of the fest.

"It's a great reflection of our little town, because I think what people fall in love with about Bend is our community," Lande says. "It lends to raising awareness and giving access to music to children in Bend, it's wonderful. Look at the talent that's growing out of here. These kids are so young and they blow me away."

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