As the lead vocalist of alternative rock band Blind Revision, Jen Janet is hoping to expand her artistic resume by experimenting with a refreshing dance-pop vibe on her first solo EP. Although experienced in sharing the stage with national touring acts (Hawthorne Heights, etc.), she seeks to delve back into her love of catchy pop music through tracks such as “Moonlit Dancefloor” and “Can’t Breathe,” both featured on “Dangerous.”
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For more information on Jen Janet, check out the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! Now that 2016 is over, what are some words you would use to describe the year? What have been some of the highlights for you and your music? What are you most excited about for 2017? Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions?
The word I would use to describe 2016 is: busy. One highlight of my 2016 was traveling to Cambodia. I love to travel, and I think exploring other cultures and places is really beneficial to anyone who loves creativity. I feel like I am always going, going, going. I learned a lot about the music industry this past year, and met a lot of wonderful people. Coming from a small town, it’s sometimes difficult to meet like minded individuals in the music industry and maintain those important relationships. 2017 will definitely be the year that I get right to work. There’s no slowing down for me.
In April of 2017, I’ll be attending the ASCAP I Create Music Expo in Los Angeles, so I’m pretty excited for that. It’s one of the most well-known conferences for songwriters in the world. I did not officially make a New Year’s Resolution but I am going to try to continue to eat healthy, and of course, work on as much new music as possible. In the first week alone of 2017, I wrote two new songs, so I hope I get to share them with everyone in the future. It’s off to a good start.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall some of your first musical memories?
Yes! I’ve always been very artsy- interested in music, theater, art, writing, etc. I’ve been writing songs ever since I can remember. When I was very young I wanted to be an actress, and that interest shifted a bit over time to music. One of my earliest musical memories was listening to Kelly Clarkson and Avril Lavigne on a Sony portable CD player (those were all the rage back then.) I was sitting in a bright pink princess tent that I got for Christmas, and I was hooked. Kelly Clarkson was one of the reasons why I started writing my own songs. I’d sit there with a pen and paper, just doodling or writing random phrases. Eventually I put everything together and started writing real lyrics.
In just a couple months, you will release your debut solo EP, “Dangerous.” What does that feel like? How long did it take to put this collection together? Where did the inspiration for these songs come from?
It’s very exciting! I actually wrote three of the songs when I was about 15 or 16. At the time, I knew nothing about the music industry and I knew I wanted to release them but I wasn’t sure it was the right time. My inspiration for those songs included a lot of pop divas of the day. I listened to a lot of Lady Gaga and Marina and the Diamonds. In general, I wanted to create fun, upbeat songs that got people moving. I hope the EP can do that. I want to make people feel good. The slower song, In Bloom, is probably the more serious song on the EP. The subject matter deals with an intimate relationship and the process of getting over someone. I wrote that song about three years ago and it’s very personal. I wasn’t sure I wanted to release it, but I decided it would be a good thing to try to be vulnerable once in a while, especially since the other songs on the EP are more fun and less serious. I hope people can connect with the lyrics.
What was it like moving from being in an alt-rock band, Blind Revision, to going solo? How is your sound different now? Are you continuing to work on new music with Blind Revision now?
It feels very strange right now because I’m used to releasing music that is a lot heavier and musically technical. I am still very much a part of Blind Revision, and we aren’t going anywhere! I’ve actually been working on recording new music with them this past month. I love having that outlet to talk about serious feelings, emotions, and issues. For example, Blind Revision’s next EP will deal with the subject of mental illness, anxiety, depression, etc. My solo EP Dangerous is much more lighthearted. I’m not saying my solo music will never be serious. It definitely could be in the future. But I think it’s important as a musician to establish yourself as an individual and create things slightly out of your comfort zone sometimes. As we get older, we grow and change. I think everyone’s music should too. Wouldn’t it be boring if everyone created music that stayed the same?
I saw on your Facebook page that you also model. How do you think modeling and being a musician go hand in hand? How did one help you do the other?
We are now living in the age of social media. People love to take photos, and I think sharing that with others is a great way to reach people who might potentially listen to your music. I was late to the Instagram party- I only got my account this past year. But I love it! Modeling and music are both in the entertainment industry, so I definitely think they compliment each other. People are also attracted to musicians who have an interesting image, and I think sharing your photos can usually be helpful when fans want to know more about you. Performing live music has definitely helped me gain confidence. I don’t think I could do modeling if I wasn’t already accustomed to people staring at me on a stage for hours at a time.
You’ve got a few shows coming up later this month, where are you excited to play at? Do you think you are happiest on stage singing?
I have a show at Koto in Salem, Massachusetts on January 27th. The next one is in Plainville, Connecticut at Zen Bar on February 4th. I’ve never played a show in Salem before, so that should be fun. I’m definitely happy being on stage as a vocalist. I’ve been doing it for many years now, so it feels natural.
Who are some of your favorite artists and what bands continue to inspire you and your music? Who would you love to work with in the future?
I’m inspired by everything I see and listen to. Lately I’ve been inspired by an artist named Sevdaliza. She has a lot of artsy music videos to accompany her music, and I’m digging her style. I listen to a lot of genres of music so it’s hard to pick just a few artists. A few well known bands or artists that have inspired me in the past are Lana Del Rey, Foo Fighters, and Coheed and Cambria. But I’m inspired by indie and local acts too. If you’re looking for some great music, the band Sic Vita is from my area, and they write amazing music. I love listening to them. There are a few people I’ve met on the internet who I’d love to work with in the future. Obeson is one artist who has created really interesting electronic sounds. He manages to make very emotional, unique music and I’d love to work with him at some point.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
My message can vary. With the release of Dangerous, I really just want people to have fun. That simple concept is one that I have not actually explored very often, because I sometimes feel pressured to write more artsy, “important” music with a deep message. I will always strive to write music that is incredibly meaningful, but I think right now, especially with the divided political climate in the United States, a lot of people just want to forget about their issues and let go. I know during the past few months, I myself have felt weary of hearing about serious topics, even when I know I should be listening and learning. When I release more music in the future, I have a feeling I will be tackling more serious, important topics. But for now, I just want to have fun. With Blind Revision’s music, I definitely write serious lyrics dealing with more serious issues. For example, our song Colors is about the war in the Central African Republic. A lot of our future music will deal with inner turmoil, such as depression, anxiety etc. For those songs, I hope people take away the idea that they are never alone, and we all go through things that are difficult.
When you aren’t performing, working in the studio, what do you like to do for fun? How do you unwind from it all?
I LOVE television. I am a huge sci-fi and horror nerd. American Horror Story and Doctor Who are two of my favorite TV shows. I can binge watch TV shows like it’s my job. In the summer, I’ll occasionally go out into the real world and I enjoy hiking and swimming.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers regarding yourself or your music?
One thing most people don’t know is that I genuinely want to hear from you. Yes, you! I love interacting with people on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. I’m always curious about how new people have found me online or found my music. Write me a funny tweet or something. Send me a song you wrote. Get creative