A musician since a young age, Jenny Laahs is a passionate and versatile performer, community musician and therapist based in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Jenny was born in Grasse, France to Scottish parents, and moved to Linlithgow, West Lothian when she was 6 months old. As a young child, Jenny suffered frequent ear infections, and at the age of 4 a particularly bad occurrence left her with a permanent hearing loss of 95% in her right ear.
Jenny's musical life began at the age of 9 when she began trumpet lessons at school, and shortly afterwards started private piano lessons. Although learning mostly classical music, Jenny was a keen listener of rock and pop as a young teen. At 14, she began teaching herself to play guitar, borrowing the instrument belonging to her father to learn the songs she loved listening to - Red Hot Chili Peppers, Greenday and Metallica. At age 17, Jenny's instrument collection began when she saved up to buy a small folk harp, inspired by Joanna Newsom who had become her favourite artist.
After finishing school, Jenny took a year out to work in a microbiology lab and then volunteer in Levuka, Fiji for 9 months. She then moved to the north of England to study at Durham University. Although she was ostensibly there to study Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Jenny spent more time playing music than in lectures, and played trumpet in two orchestras, a big band, a local colliery band, conducted the concert band, played for various musicals, and played harp in a pop song cover duo.
After a year working in a research laboratory, Jenny decided that she had taken the wrong path by pursuing a career in science and looked for a change in direction. A late night Google search on a whim for "music + science" led her to find out about the MSc course in Music Therapy at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. After researching the field and seeking out some work experience, Jenny attended audition and was pleasantly surprised to be offered a place on the course despite her not so relevant degree subject. She qualified as a music therapist in 2014.
Since changing her focus to music, Jenny has loved exploring different avenues of her musicality, as well as growing a substantial collection of instruments, some of which she can even play! She began frequenting the open mic scene in Edinburgh, which sparked a love of songwriting, and Jenny began performing in various groups and as a soloist. Her passion project since 2018 has been PINLIGHT - a solo alt-pop songwriting project where Jenny puts her skills as a multi-instrumentalist to play. PINLIGHT's debut album Grow Slow came out in 2019 and was named Indie Gem 2019 by Doing Life Records. As featured on BBC Scotland. Check out PINLIGHT's website for more information, or listen on Spotify.
Alongside her music therapy work, Jenny began taking on projects in the field of community music and wellbeing, and also began performing as a musician for improv comedy. Please click through the links to learn more about these individually.
Check out Jenny playing all 28 of the instruments she had in her flat during the 2020 lockdown!
As featured on BBC Scotland.