JENNY LAAHS was drawn to music as a child. Her gift for learning instruments is palpable, having taken to piano, trumpet, guitar, harp and even ukulele.

When it came to deciding her future, she gave a lot of thought to studying music, but opted to keep it as a passion and, instead, completed her studies in biochemistry.

That career proved not be as satisfying, however, and so she took up a Masters in music therapy. But the performing bug took hold and Laahs was soon a fixture of open mic nights in Edinburgh.

Before long, she was writing songs and developing her sound. And, as of last year, she has been releasing music under the name PINLIGHT – with a debut album Grow Slow an impressive showcase of raw talent and ingenuity.

Her story is likely the same as many others, except for one fact. At the age of just five years old, she lost the hearing in one ear – the cruel after-effects of an infection.

Being hearing-impaired presents a unique set of challenges for a musician. Nonetheless, her decision to follow a career in the industry has certainly been vindicated.

"I would be lying if I said I haven't doubted myself," she tells The Weekender. "But I hear more surprise from other people...surprise that being a musician is something I could pursue with my hearing impairment and an irrelevant degree.

"I was young enough that I don't really remember what it was like to have two working ears. It's particularly hard to identify how it affects my musicianship since I already had the impairment when I started learning instruments."

Laahs continues: "The biggest impact I'm aware of is that, since I can only hear on one side, I essentially hear the world in mono. I get really frustrated sometimes with stereo panning in songs when listening to music on headphones, as it just means I'm missing out on whatever is panned to the right.

"There was one time I was learning a song for my band and I missed out a whole section because it was hard panned to one side - I was so confused in the first rehearsal.

"When I started working with my mix engineer (Calum Cummins of Yoko Pwno and Bombskare), I asked him if he could refrain from putting any stereo effects on until the last minute so I could have the best idea of what the track would sound like.

"It was his suggestion that we could avoid using any stereo effects at all. I see it as a USP for my music, but it's a very practical one as it means I hear my music as everyone else does, and vice versa.

"It does bring challenges in the mixing though – it's more difficult to make tracks sound full and present as you can't spread things out in the auditory space in the same way."

Laahs took the time to hone her craft before she admits herself that she was surprised by the direction she had embarked upon with PINLIGHT.

"I was writing and performing on ukulele and piano, but I really wanted to find a more electronic sound. I think it came from the realisation that I was writing music in a style that I wouldn't really choose to listen to myself.

"I started performing on ukulele because that was the instrument I found it easiest to write songs on – something about the limitation of only having four strings helped kickstart my creativity, but it is quite a stylistically limited instrument.

"Like many musicians, I've got a really broad music taste, but I do find myself increasingly drawn to electronic styles, and in particular 80s pop and modern retrowave.

"I listened to a lot of folk growing up so perhaps that comes through in my melodies. I'd cite Kate Bush and Prince as major influences – both in their songwriting and in their sound.

"I also find Joanna Newsom hugely inspiring, although I'm not sure how evident that influence is in my sound. I took my name PINLIGHT from one of my favourite tracks of hers: A Pin-Light Bent."

While the music industry has become increasingly focused on singles – it is, therefore, unlikely to see many new acts releasing albums. However, that vogue had no bearing on Laahs; she was determined to take the course she wanted, uninhibited by the appetites of the ephemeral.

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Last year, the debut album from PINLIGHT was released and all the years of study and development came to the fore. Having a full record in hand meant the world to Laahs.

She says: "I really wanted to release an album before I turned 30, so it was essentially a bucket list challenge for myself.

"I particularly wanted to do an album because that's how I most enjoy listening to music myself - I love getting physical CDs, having the artwork and lyrics available and listening to a record in full.

"Diving into making an album was really creatively satisfying but a very steep learning curve, especially as I was making it independently.

"If I had started releasing music earlier, I would have done singles first, as that definitely seems to be the smartest way to release music in terms of building an audience through streaming services and social media.

"Despite that, I'm really proud of my album, so it did work out in the end."

Those artists who express a deep-rooted appreciation for albums are usually the ones that possess the ability to create one that is truly worth listening to. The difference between a record of individual singles stitched together and a unified body of work is stark.

Laahs reflected upon her songwriting style and knew which way she wanted to go when unveiling PINLIGHT to the world.

"I want to write music that demands your attention, that is worthy of repeat listens to reveal new elements each time," she says.

"I try to find a balance between capturing my own experience but also being zoomed out enough to not be tied to specifics, so it's great when people can relate their own experiences to my music - I love hearing interpretations of my lyrics."

The singer adds: "I started writing songs as a means of emotional processing, so initially my songs were all very heart-on-sleeve.

"With more experience writing, I've become better at finding inspiration from different places and getting my creativity flowing on tap, rather than waiting for inspiration to rain! Generally speaking, my songs are about relationships, friendships and self-affirmation. "

Of course, much like all musicians – especially those working independently – there is always scope for a second opinion, a fresh perspective and, in some cases, just a pat on the back.

Confidence plays a huge part for songwriters, and even a little bit of encouragement can do wonders for the craft.

Laahs recalls: "A few months before my album came out, I had the opportunity to send some tracks to Friedemann Findeisen for feedback. He's a songwriting coach from Germany who I have loads of respect for - he's got a fantastic YouTube channel called Holistic Songwriting which I've been following for years.

"As both a professional and a stranger, this was the first time I knew I could expect truly objective feedback from someone, as prior to this only a few friends had heard what I was working on. I was so nervous when the time came for the first song feedback... but he loved it.

"I was over the moon. I've had feedback from him on quite a few tracks now and it's always been incredibly helpful – both in boosting my confidence and in giving me constructive criticism that I can work with and keep improving."

Some new PINLIGHT material is on the way, Laahs confirmed. It is likely that the follow-up will be an EP, as the singer takes a more chilled-out approach this time around.

She has also been working on some remixes of her Grow Slow tracks – a useful exercise in terms of being able to take songs in completely different directions. Indeed, this Friday will see the remixed release of the album's title track, following on from a remix of Armour last month.

"It's been really fun doing the remixes," she adds. "I put so much energy into trying to perfect the original versions for the album, so there was something really freeing about just having a play around and reimagining new versions."

Laahs continues: "I've got a few songs in the pipeline – some new ones I've been writing over lockdown, and some old ones from my ukulele open mic days that I'm arranging in my current style.

"I've learnt a lot over the last year and made lots of new connections in the industry, so I'm hoping to put all of that to good use, and at a slightly more relaxed pace than when I made the album – no self-imposed bucket list deadlines this time around."

Whatever Laahs creates next it is sure to be the product of a mind so focused on finding the sweet spots of her sound. She has taken a few years to get here, but PINLIGHT will be around for some time yet.

The singer concludes: "I've always loved playing music, both on my own and with other people, so to get to play music every day as part of my working life is just brilliant.

"It's creative and expressive, allows me to connect with other people, and in general is just the thing I feel most driven to do."