In so many ways, evolution serves as the fuel for inspiration and creativity, which is all the more apparent for musicians. Take Sleepy Jean, for instance. The singer-songwriter has just released the accompanying music video for her recent single “By the Oceanside,” from her debut album Idle Hands. Released this past summer, the album is not only Sleepy Jean’s musical unveiling, but it also marks a significant transition for her as an artist.
As a musician, Jean was always primarily focused on touring, playing up to 250 live dates per year for the better part of the last decade. When the pandemic fundamentally changed our lives, that kind of career and lifestyle was suddenly no longer possible, which left her feeling edgy and uncertain. To help alleviate her anxiety, she began to focus more on the writing and recording part of music and has delivered a beautiful collection of indie-folk songs that are both relieving and reassuring in their tone.
Explaining the motivation which led to the penning of “By the Oceanside,” Jean said, “‘By the Oceanside’ was inspired by murder ballads and the Everly Brothers. As I worked on the harmonized vocal, the mental image of twins on a windy beach continually surfaced. Director Andrew Beach and cinematographer Matt Wilkshire did an excellent job of translating that singular frame into a miniature film that brings the lyric to life.”
Recorded along with her longtime collaborator, Dan Serre (Cat Clyde, Shitbats), Idle Hands was recorded over two months in a Toronto bedroom. These songs became beacons of comfort for Jean, as she tried to manage the anxieties that came with being off the road. Her days suddenly felt very empty and directionless, which made songwriting so valuable to her. It gave her renewed purpose and enthusiasm, and it also helped move her mind away from the fact that she had no idea when she’d actually be back out on the road again.
Funnily enough, the extra time spent by herself at home did wonders for her musical imagination, and the songs just kept coming, so much so that a full-length album is expected in the new year. Despite all of the unwanted stress, confusion, and uneasiness, Jean has set herself up very nicely moving forward, as both a recording artist and as a touring musician.
Idle Hands Track Listing:
6. I Don’t Belong
7. How’s it All Going To End