An Interview With The Once One Tree Hill Actress Turned Country Singer-Songwriter, JANA KRAMER!
Posted On 27 Jul 2015
As a singer-songwriter and actress, Jana Kramer has already had major success. It all started when four of her songs were featured on The CW’s “One Tree Hill,” where she played the firecracker actress, Alex Dupre. When the show ended, Kramer focused all her energy on her promising music career.
“I love acting, but my heart and soul is in singing. I’ve been terrified to pursue this dream because it’s so personal to me. If someone tells me they don’t like my voice, it’s a lot harder of a hit to take,” said Jana. “This is what I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve wanted to do music my entire life.”
Her current hit country single is “I Got The Boy” which will be on her forthcoming album due in the fall. I was lucky enough to catch Jana in Nashville during a few days she had off to relax for a quick interview!
First of all, congrats on your recent marriage! Are you going to be able to have time to go on a proper honeymoon?
Thank you! Yeah, he’s incredible. He’s really awesome! We haven’t gone on one yet and probably won’t be able to go on one till the holidays or maybe sometime next year even.
I’m promoting the single right now and he’s got his work stuff so it’s just a not a good time. So I feel like I don’t want to get stressed about going on a honeymoon and just do it when we really need to get away.
Now, I have to admit that I first learned about you through watching One Tree Hill with my sister. We had a love-hate relationship with your character on the show. What was it like coming onto such a well-established show?
It was definitely scary at first because it had been on for like 7 years before 3 of the new casts members joined it. But was great though. Sophia and I became instant friends. It was shot in such a small town so it was definitely important for everyone to get along. It was really fun and I learned a lot from being on it. I’m glad that my character somewhat redeemable.
Music was always a really big part of One Tree Hill. Do you think that’s what you drew to be on it?
Yeah, it was definitely something in the back of my mind. I thought, “oh, this is where I can maybe kind of showcase what I’ve always wanted to do and that’s music”. I mean, I didn’t do it at first but I think the second year, I was on it, I gave some of my music to the creator of the show and I understood how much they value new music and new artists and wanted to know if it was something he thought was good. I just wanted to hear his thoughts. And that’s when he ended up turning my character into a singer and that made me kind of realize that maybe I could do this.
Yeah, it was definitely cool. I am so grateful to the show for giving me the opportunity. I don’t know if I would have had the confidence to do it if it weren’t for the show.
Your latest single, “I Got The Boy” is about something that I bed everyone can relate to and understand. Did you instantly relate to it?
100%! The first time I heard the song, it brought me back to my high school sweetheart days. That was who I first thought about with that song. I feel like nowadays, the song is ever changing because now I feel like yes, I didn’t get the boy, I’m with the man. SO now, I’m with somebody elses’s man or somebody else’s boy. So it’s definitely cool how the song keeps changing for me.
How is the #igottheboystories campaign going now?
It’s going so good. It’s just so great to hear people’s stories. Some people were lucky to get both, the boy and the man. It’s cool to hear what guys say. They wish they would have gotten the woman or they were someone’s “boy”. So, it’s just really neat to see how people can relate so well to a country song.
Speaking of country music, how did you get into country music being from Michigan?
I just grew up listening to country music. One of the big country radio stations- WICB was and still is a station I listen to when I go home. I grew up spending time with my grandparents a lot and all they listened to was country mostly- Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline. I just love how country music tells a story and I connect to that and I feel like I have a lot of stories that I want to tell.
On your upcoming solo record, did you write a lot of the songs?
Yes, I wrote more than half of the songs on the record. Even I didn’t, like “I Got The Boy” for example, is a song that I feel like I wrote. It’s my life. I’ll never sing a song that I don’t believe in.
I read that the “I Got The Boy” shoot was particularly tough.
Yeah, it was crazy! We had like an ice apocalypse. We actually used a lot more of the outside scenes. A lot of the letters were actually from my high school sweetheart so it was cool that I could coorelate them altogether.
You are going to be in a new indie music drama called “Country Crush”. How did you decide to get back into acting?
You know it was one of those things where I have to walk on a tight rope. If I do too much, people start to think I am not going back to music and that’s what I want to do and my focus isn’t music. So I always have to say that my focus is music. I am focusing on my next album and this single right now. But I got approached to this film and it was only for 4 days and I didn’t have any shows those days. So I thought, why not? But most of the time, I have to turn things down because I would have to cancel shows and I’m not about to do that because music is my focus. I am singing in this drama and it’s quite interesting. (Laughter) It’s going to be fun.
What musicians have consistently inspired you and your music? Who would be your dream duet partner?
Unfortunatly, she has passed away but because I grew up with her music and my grandmother and I would always listen to her, it would have to be Patsy Cline. I love her different sound and her music. Growing up for me, I was such an 80’s child. I love the Eagles still to this day and I love James Taylor. Just because they have a unique sound and so I’d probably say James Taylor just because he’s got that cool voice and artistry.
What was like working with Steven Tyler on a song for your album?
Well, we weren’t in the studio together. He had heard a song that I wrote and wanted to put his vocals on it. So when I was in the studio singing my part, we got told that he was in a studio putting his vocals on it too. Who would say no to that?!
When do you think you’ll be releasing your sophomore album and how is it different than anything you’ve ever released?
We are looking at Septemberish. I feel like I’ve come more into myself as a musician and artist on this record and wanting to release songs that are little more true and not be afraid to go deep and not afraid to have more fun with it too.
How’s your tour been going? Any favorite venues or crowds so far?
So far, it’s been awesome! We sold out some awesome shows on the last tour. We played at Joe’s Bar in Chicago which has always been a favorite of mine. I’m really looking forward to playing the Gorge in Washington with Eric Church next month.