SHE has been a little under the weather this month…
so this interview, let’s hope, has cheered her right up! I have been speaking with the marvellous Corinna Jane about her past music and whether new material is due. She tells me about her highlight from 2017; how she saw in the New Year – and which new artist we should keep an eye out for.
I ask about her background – she was born in Germany and spent time in France – and whether she had an eclectic musical upbringing. Corinna Jane speaks about her favourite albums and what she has planned; whether we can see her tour soon – and why a gig at St. Pancras Old Church ranks as a career highlight.
Hi, Corinna Jane. How are you? How has your week been?
I had lots of good intentions to get started for the New Year – but, alas, the January bugs have got me! Sadly, I am on my second bug of the year - but the downtime has been good to plot the way for the coming year...
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
My name is Corinna Jane and I'm a quirky, piano-driven; Pop-Rock singer-songwriter who tries to unravel life's complicated emotions in a, hopefully, entertaining way.
Last year was busy and eventful one for you. How does it feel looking back at the past few months? What are the fondest memories?
Last year definitely featured some wonderful milestones...
The most notable one for me was appearing on London Live TV's prime-time evening show (being interviewed live on television). It was a dream come true: I had visualised a moment like that for a while and it was surreal to get to do it.
Hopefully, the first of a few!
I guess performing at St. Pancras Old Church must rank high?! What was that show like?
I have done hundreds of gigs but, by far, that’s one of my favourite venues I've played. You can't beat the feeling of playing in a historical, spiritual building that is hundreds of years old surrounded by beautiful stained-glass windows. The atmosphere was unlike any other gig I've played; there was a lot of warmth and the feeling of people coming together to really get lost in music...
‘Going to church’ took on a new meaning!
Can we expect any new material in the coming weeks? Will there be an E.P./single coming shortly?
I have unreleased material that I intend to release this year; however, I have also been working on an exciting Cinematic-Pop collaboration with someone - which we are just putting the finishing touches to and will be releasing shortly. You'll be hearing from ‘Animatiq’ very soon. Think of it as a modern, dark; emotional (slightly Bond-esque) kind of cinematic experience!
You were born in Germany and spent time in France – most of your life has been in England. Has that moving about been quite uprooting or has it been important and inspiring spending time in each country?
That is a very good question - and probably not one I've given a lot of thought to (which is unlike me as I am a master over-thinker)! I think my pride in having spent my childhood in Germany - and having a French mother and British father - has completely shaped my identity. I don't ever feel purely from one country or nation. I think connecting with different nationalities and speaking three languages has meant that I am able to easily relate to different people and way of thinking. I'm not saying I'm a chameleon but I think that my upbringing (and my creativity) means that I can get along with a range of people from all walks of life.
I think having all these influences of different European cultures has made me feel quite free-spirited in the sense that I don't like to follow crowds: I dance to my own beat.
How important are the French and German languages/dialects when it comes to music? Is language an important part of what you do?
Many people have asked me over the years - why I don't sing a song in French or German?! It's not that I'm not open to doing so: it's mainly because my thinking-language has been in English, which is where I can draw my poetic thoughts from. The trouble is that Pop music is so internationalised nowadays, which means that even in Germany (less so in France) English is often used as the language in lyrics.
Having said that; I recently wrote a song which, musically, definitely felt more French and, therefore, I will see if I can attempt to write a French lyric version - it's actually more fascinating to me how a melody can feel ‘French’ before you have even put pen to paper!
How early did music come into your life? Were stations like MTV quite instrumental?
Music came into my life right from the beginning…
My earliest memory of playing music is when I was a toddler figuring out how to play Richard Marx's Right Here Waiting on piano - which my father would always play. It was his playing, and introducing me to MTV, which initiated my life-long obsession with Pop music.
Who were the artists you looked up to when you were growing up?
I remember being very little and seeing this really cool woman on MTV playing the guitar; looking sassy and playing this song called All I Wanna Do. It was that moment on that I realised I wanted to be like Sheryl Crow and write songs - looking like a star - on the T.V.!
Your music has been taken to heart by stations and publications in this country. Is it encouraging when you get such good feedback from people?
Yes. It completely validates the reason why I do this!
Whenever I hear stories from people who have taken a song to heart and made it about their own experiences - this is when I know that what I'm doing has some value. I grew up listening to artists who felt like my friends as they sang about emotions I could relate to - who became the soundtracks to my life at varying stages. If I can do this for other people, then my life's mission will feel complete. When BBC Radio 6 Music and BBC Introducing (nationally) played my tracks; I felt like everything suddenly made sense.
This is why I worked so hard towards this.
2018 is here. What are your ambitions and dreams for this year?
As I've mentioned already: I'm excited to be launching the new side project, Animaitq. I'm very intrigued to see where this can go as it's still me, but it's an even more dramatic side - that's the beauty of collaborations. I'm working with a very talented film and commercial composer, Stephen Frost, and we believe there's some magic in what we're making. I think one of my dreams would be for a song to make it on to a movie or a T.V. show as a soundtrack - or even a theme-tune!
IN THIS PHOTO: Isaac Gracie
Which new artists do you recommend we check out?
I'm a fan of Isaac Gracie – I love his E.P. He really knows how to write a beautiful, melancholic and heartfelt tune.
What tour dates do you have coming up? Where can we catch you play?
This is pretty open at the moment as I'm just planning for this year. However; I'll be supporting the awesome Fred's House at the Ent.Shed (Bedford) on 6th April.
If you had to select the three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?
The Killers - Hot Fuss
It just screams out my teenage years. It takes me back to all the little tweenie dramas; the school bus to school, the romances; the house-parties. An exciting time but, seriously - there is no band that sounds like the Killers. Their sound and lyrics are utterly unique.
Marina and the Diamonds - The Family Jewels
She's such a unique Popstar but, sadly, a little underrated. She has a very distinctive voice and has such a wild imagination when it comes to her whimsical, yet highly melodic, music. Her lyrics don't just touch on the usual topics such as love: she goes deep-down and pokes fun at some of her dark sides and her quest for recognition. I found it very relatable - and she sounds like no one else.
Avril Lavigne - Let Go
I was in two minds about citing this but the reality is that, when I was a little girl, EVERYONE had a copy of this album. The songs were melody-driven, fun and feisty. She was this antithesis to all the more polished Popstars. She definitely inspired me growing up to want to write Pop-Rock anthems - and be a real show-off on stage. She certainly defined and era. I must confess that I also had people telling me for years that I looked like her twin. Ha!
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
It's a tricky time to navigate yourself as an artist because the old paradigm has changed: the gift and the curse is the Internet. On the one hand; you have all the means to promote yourself and cleverly play the game independently. On the other hand; you have to compete with a lot of other people screaming for the same attention. However; the silver lining is that it's not all about the major label anymore.
Try not to fit your sound into a particular mould in order to fit current trends - do what feels right to you and you WILL find your audience!
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
I do love a bit of Country - and one of my favourites is Kacey Musgraves! I love this song, Die Fun.
Follow Corinna Jane