JAS had a chance to connect with Halie Loren last week to learn a little bit more about this amazing vocalist headed to the JAS Cafe this weekend. Get to know Halie and be sure to check her out the Cooking School of Aspen this Fri/Sat. Tickets are still available here.

What artists or people have been the biggest influence on your career and why?

In many ways, I have my mother to thank for my being on this path. When I was very young, I was steeped in the music that influenced so much of what I now perform, all due to the fact that my mom has always been an avid music fan and constantly played jazz and blues and Americana albums at our home in Alaska. I grew up listening to the songs of Nat King Cole, Etta James, Ray Charles, Patsy Cline, and Ella Fitzgerald, along with so many others, and came to love their music from a very formative age onward. I developed an appreciation for stellar song craft and emotionally-honest performance because of the music I was exposed to. Later on I became more and more aware of and in love with singer/songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Sarah McLachlan, and Paula Cole, who helped inspire me to become a songwriter myself, which has been a huge part of my musical identity for nearly two decades now.

What is your favorite thing about performing live?

Performing brings me immediately in to a sense of total presence – of being fully in the moment. Nothing takes me out of that feeling of being totally distracted by the mind-noise of daily life quite like a performance, where I get to be immersed in a world of melody and rhythm and emotion that engages my full attention. And it’s a special kind of joy to be able to give others, the listening audience, an opportunity to join me there – to shuck off the cares of the day for even just a few moments and re-connect with the beauty of simply being here now.

What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?

I’m a nature lover, so hiking is way up on my list of day-off activities. If I’m near the water, especially the ocean, that’s my number one choice of places to be. I also relish a chance to curl up in a sunny spot and read for hours on end. A day that combines all of these is my idea of heaven.

If you weren’t a vocalist, what do you think you would be?

I grew up on the ocean, and have always been completely enthralled with it and the lives that inhabit it. For many years, I thought I would be a marine biologist or in another ocean science field in addition to continuing to play music. I also have been a visual artist my entire life (I have a degree in it), and have often entertained incorporating that into my life in a bigger way. I mostly paint with melody these days, but I still so love taking charcoal to paper.

Top three songs on your playlist?

I find my selections changing moment-to-moment with the moods of the day, but this very minute it would be “Samson” by Regina Spektor, “All I Want” by Joni Mitchell, and “Nature Boy” by Nat King Cole.