ARTIST NAME: Jana
SONG TITLE: Gift
ALBUM TITLE: Lanterns
RELEASE DATE: 6th September 2019
GENRE: Folk-Rock, Alternative, Singer-Songwriter
Jana is a classically trained musician, a multi-instrumentalist with a wide spectrum of genres.
In her native Slovakia, she was a member of ‘Persona Grata’ – a prog-rock band that was invited to perform at ‘Progressive Nation at Sea 2014’ in Miami, organized by Mike Portnoy (Dream Theatre).
In the same year, she moved to London and started writing her own songs.
Inspired by the music of Sting, 70’s folk-rock greats, country, and classical – she developed her very own writing and singing style.
Jana assembled a band of accomplished genre-crossing musicians with a background in jazz.
They regularly perform at London’s leading venues that include The Bedford, PizzaExpress Live, Ritzy Cinema, and The Hospital Club (opening for GypsyFingers).
Jana draws inspiration from personal events in her life and poetry.
She is currently in a studio recording her debut album.
Tell us your opinion on creativity and originality.
It’s important to be creative and to stay creative. If you manage to be original, that’s great, but having it as a goal can sometimes put a strain on the creative process.
Tell us the beginning of your passion for music.
I come from a musical family and my dad was playing and showing me music from a very early age. It was clear to me what I was going to do in life.
Elaborate on how you make sure the quality of your sound is high.
Well, I make sure the recording studio is of a high standard and of course, the musicians I play with are of a great level. Every step of the chain, recording, mixing, mastering has to be done with maximum quality – That’s why making records is expensive.
Tell us how you get ideas to develop your songs.
Sometimes it starts with a melody or a riff on a guitar. Sometimes I’ve got a line of words or a phrase that I’ve heard or read or just came to me.
Discuss your music background.
I come from a musical family; I studied classical piano and flute. I was in various ensembles and groups, as a session vocalist, flute player, pianist…I was always singing but the songwriting is fairly new, that started about five years ago when I moved to London.
Discuss your music process.
If you mean composing – it starts with a bit of melody, a couple of words, or a chord progression on guitar/piano. Then I think about where the music wants to go, what is the mood of it. Then, words start coming and it slowly develops into thought, it’s like a puzzle. You sort of have a picture, you know roughly what you’re trying to say but you have to find the missing pieces.
State five hit songs and name the artists.
Lonely Teardrops – Jackie Wilson
A Natural Woman – Aretha Franklin
Sweet Baby James – James Taylor
Forget – Lianne La Havas
Pure Comedy – Father John Misty
Tell us how you entertain the audience during a live performance.
I don’t entertain. It’s about words and music; I don’t have dancers or flashy costumes.
List the name of artists that have a similar sound to yours.
I really respect the tradition of 70’s singer-songwriters, but I believe I have my contemporary spin on it. My voice has been compared to Karen Carpenter and Aimee Mann but I don’t think my music is similar to theirs.
Discuss how you think your music is impacting your fans.
People tend to compliment my voice and they enjoy my songs that sometimes don’t follow the expected route.
Tell us what inspires you to sing.
Other singers when I was a child. Just being mesmerized by how much you can express by singing. How much pain, love, compassion, urge and happiness you can put into your voice…Lyrics wise there are so many topics that are relevant today, I don’t think I’ll ever stop singing.
Discuss this song.
‘Gift’ is inspired by a Greek myth of Prometheus – bringing fire to the people. I used that as a metaphor for bringing ‘knowledge’, ‘wisdom’ or ’special light’ – basically something that should be reserved for the elite (the gods) to the people.
Discuss how you develop your melody.
What feels good for my voice and complements the lyrics in the right way will end up being the final melody for the song.
Share your press release and reviews with us.
Tell us how you master your songs after production.
Songs are mastered as part of the production. I’ve got a mastering engineer that does it. The studio is called TruPeak Audio.
Discuss how you get your songs to digital stores.
I use DistroKid, it’s a very good and affordable platform to help independent musicians get their music out.
Discuss how to generate income through music.
That is a big topic nowadays as the traditional recording deal isn’t really working for the artist.
There are several DIY ways to do it. There’s crowdfunding. The best seems to be to set up a mailing list and build up an audience that follows you and keep at it.
Basically; be your own manager/promoter/booking agent. Which is time-consuming and stressful and doesn’t leave much time for the actual music part…I’m still figuring what’s best for me.
Tell us your piece of advice to a new artist.
Make music you love, experiment, and don’t try to shape it in a way you think it’s expected or ‘marketable.’ Be honest with yourself and don’t get into music because of fame or money. None of those can be easily achieved nowadays, so you have to be in it for the passion of music. Study the greats.
Go into details on this song.
GIFT is inspired by the myth of Prometheus and David Lynch’s Twin Peaks series. The intro features a ‘marching’ beat to create a sense of urgency, maybe danger; something daring…Rhodes gives it a bit of light and mystery. Chorus is dreamy, melodic, very pop kind of melody and chords. It’s a tune to get lost in.