Laura Jansen: Los Angeles, California
While establishing her career on the international stage, Laura Jansen, a Dutch-born singer-songwriter, and pianist, makes her home in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles. Having been trained at Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music and perfecting her performance chops at L.A.’s storied Hotel Café, Laura’s uplifting songs are a beautiful tapestry of quaint piano ballads stitched with alt-pop, blues, and even reggae stylings that dazzle her fans worldwide. Provoked by gospel, her angelic voice and graceful melodies tell “deeply relatable stories”—of finding stability and solace in tough times or surviving the heartbreaks of love lost—with a gimlet of lyrics that delve deep into the heart. In 2009, Jansen’s debut album Bells shot up the charts, reaching sixth place on the Dutch Top 100 and second on the Netherlands iTunes pop chart. Bells has since gone platinum in her native Holland, and the singles “Use Someone” and “Single Girls” are radio favorites in the U.S., with “Single Girls” earning over 1.3 million views on YouTube. Laura Jansen has toured with chart topper Joshua Radin, and with the Spring 2011 release of Bells in the U.S. and Europe, a successful European Tour showcased this talented songstress and rising star.
Go to iTunes to download Bells and visit LauraJansen.com for tour information and much more!
The Concierge Questionnaire: Laura Jansen, Singer and Songwriter
What is your favorite word to describe Los Angeles?
Sunny with a chance of traffic.
What word best reflects the people of Los Angeles?
What is the most creative, spiritual or emotional place in Los Angeles?
I would have to say the entire neighborhood of Los Feliz. I've lived here for 3 years now, and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't love it. Coming home from the road is always an emotional experience and being able to recover and reflect in such a fantastic neighborhood is a grounding experience. Los Feliz feels like a little bubble in a big city. There's a definite small town feel to the 'hood that I cherish. I'm constantly traveling and was raised with a sense of homesickness and wanderlust, so coming home to a neighborhood like Los Feliz is new for me. I'm growing some roots here, and that’s a very good thing. It’s where I write my music, it’s where I decompress, and it’s where my best friends live.
What is your favorite outdoor activity in Los Angeles?
Griffith Park is a haven for me. I live at the base of the Griffith Park Observatory and hike in the park whenever I come home from tour. It’s incredible to live in such a huge city and still be able to hike for hours and only see a few people. It’s the anchor point for my neighborhood. I go as often as I can and always stop at Trails Cafe. I like sitting on a hay bale with a latte and watching city people decompress. The park is in full bloom again after a pretty savage fire a few years ago. It’s amazing to witness the resilience of the place and escape the streets. There's a patch of forest up in the park that feels magical and secret, and I love sitting there after a tough hike and looking out over the city.
Among Griffith Park’s many attractions are 53-miles of hiking trails, the Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles Zoo and the iconic “Hollywood” sign.
Griffith Park: 4730 Crystal Springs Drive
Hours: Daily, 5am-10:30pm
Please visit Griffith Park for additional information on hiking trails and much more!
The Trails Cafe: 2333 Fern Dell Drive
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 8am-7pm
What is your favorite indoor activity in Los Angeles?
My adopted second home in Los Angeles is the amazing Hotel Cafe. Located in the middle of the crazy Cahuenga pass is this little bar/venue at the back of an alley. It has a legendary history for musicians, but is one of the least pretentious places in Los Angeles. I came here first for the music because so many of my heroes started out here. It’s now the place I go to when I want to see my friends. Any night of the week offers amazing live music and good drink. I've built my best memories of the city at this place, and it’s where I slowly built up the courage to play my own music. It almost feels like an episode of Cheers.
Hotel Cafe: 1623 1/2 North Cahuenga Boulevard
Check out Hotel Cafe for music schedule, tickets and more!
What is your favorite sound or noise in Los Angeles? Coyotes. Not the sound you'd expect to find in a city as big as Los Angeles, but trust me, they are out there! If you're lucky enough to have a friend with a house in the hills, you are sure to hear them. It’s a chilling sound, but also a fantastic reminder that we're never too far removed from Mother Nature. In Los Angeles, that’s a good thing. It’s a “wild” place to begin with, but the added factor of coyotes really pushes it over the top.
What is your favorite smell or taste in Los Angeles?
My favorite meal in Los Angeles is tie between Pace in Laurel Canyon and Figaro in Los Feliz. Pace is a magical little restaurant that instantly takes you to another time. The food is simple, fresh and made with a lot of love. It’s a great place to people watch.
Pace: 2100 Laurel Canyon Boulevard
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 5:30pm–10pm and
Figaro Bistro: 1802 North Vermont Street
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 8:30am-10:30pm and Friday- Saturday 8:30am-11pm
What drink best reflects Los Angeles?
Old Fashioned. I learned how to drink this in Los Angeles, and it instantly reminds me of late nights at the Hotel Cafe. Another great place to get a cocktail is the Dresden Lounge in Los Feliz. If you're lucky, you can catch Marty and Elaine singing the songs they've been singing there for decades. The bartender always calls me Princess, and there's something timeless about stepping through those doors and ordering a well made Old Fashioned. Now if we could only figure out how to get Don Draper to appear.
Traditionally made with bourbon, bitters, a sugar cube, and garnished with two maraschino cherries and an orange twist, mixology historians believe the Old Fashioned was the first drink to be called a “cocktail.”
Dresden Lounge: 1760 North Vermont
Hours: Monday-Sunday 4:30pm-2am
What song or type of music best reflects Los Angeles?
Los Angeles is music to me. It’s in every part of my day here in the city so this is a tough question. I love the sounds of Mexican mariachi music being blasted from a radio at my favorite taco stand (Yuca's). I love the music coming out of The Hotel Cafe scene—so many incredible and undiscovered artists. I listen constantly to the music made in Laurel Canyon during the 60s and 70s. It’s a patchwork city with a new identity in every neighborhood. Each area reflects the energy of the people who live there. That’s what I love about it. It’s too eclectic for one song—you need a whole play list. Mexican, folk, hip-hop, indie hipster dream rock and some glam.... you get the idea.
Yuca's Taco Stand: 2056 Hillhurst Avenue
Hours: Monday-Saturday 11am-6pm
If Heaven were Los Angeles, what would God say to a visitor when they arrive at the Pearly Gates? Los Angeles as heaven? There's a concept! I think God would welcome a visitor, ask him for his head shot, ask him who his agent is, point him out to a great yoga studio, offer him advice on the latest cleanse, show him the ocean and the mountains and the glitter in between, and then remind the visitor that sticking it out is the toughest part. If you manage that, the city pays you back tenfold.
Laura Jansen: Los Angeles, California • Los Angeles, California • Phone: ***