Warpaint bassist goes solo as jennylee

Warpaint’s Jenny Lee Lindbergh calls her new solo album “honest and raw.” (Courtesy Mia Kirby)
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At first, fans might not recognize her from her solo-project sobirquet, the lower-case jennylee, as seen on last year’s similarly lower-case “right on!” It’s Warpaint bassist Jenny Lee Lindbergh, testing her wings with the (naturally) bass-heavy originals “Riot,” “Offerings” and the New Order-ish “Never.” There’s a logical theme running through the album. “There’s a lot of self discovery and kind of owning yourself, or owning your power,” she says. “And it’s all very honest. Honest and raw.”

Why fly solo now?
We’ve all been making our own music since before we were in Warpaint, but Waraint has just been my primary focus for many, many years. So it just got to a point where I felt like I’d been saying to myself for quite a long time, “Oh, I want to make a record, I really want to put some songs out.” And I’d definitely recorded a lot of songs by myself at home over the years, but I never had any intention of doing anything with them – it was more just for me. So I just finally got the guts to take the next step and decide to commit to making a record and sharing it.

But historically, your music was only instrumental?

Yes, I did that for a very long time – I would mess around with vocals, but I was never fully committed to singing over my own tracks. I didn’t like my voice so much. And because I wasn’t fully committed to taking it there and making it honest, I was too censored, too controlled, and that doesn’t work for me. I like being freer and giving myself no limitations, no rules, and expressing myself in a way that feels natural. And at first, I just wasn’t ready to do that.

How did you discover your singing voice?
Well, I’ve been singing with the girls for a while now, but on the last record (“Warpaint” in 2014), I was singing a lot more. So I just kept doing it, even though I never quite liked what I was hearing. I wasn’t fitting into my voice comfortably, because I don’t sing like Barbra Streisand or Whitney Houston. I don’t have a classically-trained voice – my voice is quirky and it’s got character to it. But once I embraced that, it was just effortless. I was singing like I’d never sung before.

And you’ve settled into this dreamy, 4AD style.
Yeah. Nothing was planned. When I’m writing, I’ll think, “Oh, this is cool!” And I’ll just see where it goes. And with vocals, it was like, “Just sing from your heart and see what happens.” And that worked really well for me.

IF YOU GO
jennylee
Where: Chapel, 777 Valencia St., S.F.
When: 9 p.m. Jan. 28
Tickets: $15
Contact: (415) 551-5157, www.ticketfly.com

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