Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Your New Favorite Artist Spotlight - Jana Fisher

Jana Fisher - Photo by Samantha Verdure
Welcome to another Your New Favorite Artist Spotlight. Today, let's get to know piano playing singer/songwriter Jana Fisher. Jana and I started chatting on Twitter a couple summers ago after I downloaded her introspective debut record A History of Sleepwalking. Since those initial tweets of me praising her wonderful voice and piano playing, I've found her to be a very thoughtful person with a great sense of humor and even better taste in music. I'd like to thank her for taking the to time answer the same "not so deep" questions I posed to her friend Brett Gleason last week.

BIO (ripped from janafisher.com) 

The children of ministers are known to fall into two categories: the angels and the troublemakers. Jana Fisher is a good girl everywhere but the piano. "Music is my rebellion," she says. "At least it's better than setting things on fire and getting arrested."

Jana's music career began with performing at churches and corn festivals in rural Ohio, ministering by singing other people's music. When the family business uprooted her Florida, she self-medicated by confessing her teenage angst to the piano. While scrambling to finish college and escape the Sunshine State, Jana wrote, produced, recorded, and self-released her first album, A History of Sleepwalking, just in time to pack up the family car and be uprooted again— this time by choice, to complete her evolution from naive choir girl to self-aware and articulate artist in New York City.

In October 2012, Jana released her first EP since the transformation. Ideals & Deals is an intimate yet lively set of tracks constructed around piano, guitar, and light percussion, recorded over three hot summer days in Brooklyn.

The songs traverse diverse emotional landscapes in pinpointed detail. From obsessing over the "30k" that makes or breaks a big city transplant, to purposely undermining a relationship in "You Deserve Better," to recording new open-hearted love for a woman in "If I Ever Break Your Heart"— all three spin tales of what we'll do for our ideals, the shocking compromises of survival and the rewards reaped from a life richly lived.

Photo by William Murray
The Interview

Your New Favorite Song: It’s time to get the party started, what are you asking the bartender to make for you?
Jana Fisher: A nice and sour gin gimlet. Apparently I'm an old man.

YNFS: As we close in on 2012 what are five albums released this year that you can’t get enough of?

JF: Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel
Sharon Van Etten - Tramp
Ellie Goulding - Halcyon
The Weeknd - Trilogy
St. Vincent & David Byrne - Love This Giant

YNFS: OK, And now what are the five albums you can’t get enough of that aren’t cool to admit to liking (I know how these lists work, I do the same thing)?

JF: Wow... I'm oddly lacking in guilty pleasures this year! I'm usually all about Lady Gaga and some silly Top 40 hip hop but nothing that's come out this year. These are five more albums I've been enjoying that are just a little less cool than the first five. 

LP - Into The Wild
Sleigh Bells - Reign of Terror
Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra - Theatre Is Evil
Missy Higgins - The Ol' Razzle Dazzle
Mumford & Sons - Babel

YNFS: When you were in high school and locked yourself in your room what 5 bands were you digging on the most?

JF: I listened almost exclusively to Christian radio until about 8th grade. When I "discovered" mainstream music, I was greedy for anything I perceived as "dark" — really any music that expressed emotions other than unwavering positivity! The bands I liked seem a little random now, but each of them represents a unique mood that I was hungry for at the time.

Vanessa Carlton - Embarrassingly, she inspired me to starting writing songs on piano.  
Evanescence - My first boyfriend got my attention by playing "Bring Me To Life" at a church camp piano.
System of a Down - I thought I was so hardcore for liking them! 
Thrice - I loved their album The Artist in the Ambulance. 
Brand New - I wasn't very assertive back then, so I lived vicariously through their biting wordplay.

YNFS: It’s the 1800s, whose novel do you wait in line for before its midnight release?

JF: Alexandre Dumas (père). I love me some good, complicated action/adventure stories! And in my 1800s reality I'd have more time to work on my French and I'd be nearly bilingual instead of having to look up all the descriptive words in the dictionary.

YNFS: Cats or Dogs?

JF: Cats! I prefer my companions to have lives outside of me. (Though I have met some great dogs with very nonchalant cat-like personalities!) There's nothing so relaxing as reading with a cat asleep in your lap.

YNFS: Who’s the most famous musician/artist/actor you’ve ever had the pleasure to meet? Paint the picture. What happened?

JF: I met Portia de Rossi at a book signing and q+a for her memoir Unbearable Lightness. It was refreshing to see a celebrity who normally seems so composed being honest about a very personal topic. She's also quite lovely in person, though she was wearing a lot of makeup.

YNFS: What’s your favorite word?

JF: Adventure… I love how its meaning has changed in my life over time, starting as wandering off in the woods by myself when I was a kid to now living an authentic and fearless life. 

YNFS: What's the most embarrassing thing that's happened to you while performing that you can laugh about now?
JF: I had a really inappropriate gig once at a pirate-themed frat bar. People were literally playing beer pong while I played heartfelt piano music. At least at the end I got some drunk people to sing along to "You Deserve Better."

YNFS: Finally, If you could say one thing to potential and current fans about your music what would it be? Sell us on your awesomeness!

JF: When I'm feeling something that I feel is particularly well expressed in a song, I'll listen to it over and over until I process what I'm feeling. If I don't find a song that works, I write one! I hope everyone will find a song they relate to.

If you liked that video you can check out and download the entire 3-song Ideals & Deals EP at her website. You can and should also follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.



1 comment: