INTERVIEW: Jana & The Lanterns



Jana & The Lanterns


THANKS to Jana of Jana & The Lanterns...


for telling me the story behind the debut single, Birdhouse, and what its story is. I was keen to know if there is more material coming and which artists Jana got involved with at a young age – she tells me what she wants to achieve going forward.

The songwriter selects some albums important to her and reveals whether there are gigs coming; which rising artists we need to get behind and whether she gets time to unwind away from music – Jana selects a great track to end the interview with.


Hi, Jana. How are you? How has your week been?

Hi, Sam. I’m ok, thanks. This week has been busy, but good.

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

Sure. My name is Jana. I live in London and I’m a musician and singer-songwriter. I started playing with my band about two years ago and named the project ‘Jana & The Lanterns’. It’s essentially Folk-Rock with hints of Pop, Country; maybe a hint of Jazz. I’m having a hard time putting it in the box, actually (smiles).

What is the story behind your new single, Birdhouse?

It started as a poem. I was just lying on a sunbed, writing a poem about birds. There was a birdhouse in the tree nearby and I realised that they only stay there for a while before flying away. It was like a temporary home. Hence, the lyric “Even a wanderer needs a piece of home every now and then…”.

Do you think there will be more material coming next year?

Definitely. We recorded five songs for an E.P. which will be released in 2019.


Which artists did you discover young and become involved with?

Sting was probably my first big influence when it comes to ‘popular’ music.  

Do you listen to a lot of modern music or do you find you gravitate towards classic artists?

I love listening to time-proven classics but from the newer people I prefer Father John Misty, Chris Stapleton; Lianne La Havas, Florence & the Machine...there is good music around.


What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?

I’d love to spread our band’s name around; introduce our music to as many people as possible. Releasing of the second single is planned too.

Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?

Well…there are a few. Playing at a Progressive Rock festival in Miami and meeting Mike Portnoy and Jon Anderson was pretty spectacular.


Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

Mercury Falling by Sting

I found it in my dad’s C.D. collection and was amazed by the impeccable musicianship of the band, imaginative songwriting and arrangements. Never heard anything like it before. You know there’s a direct link between hearing that album and me coming to England (smiles).

Nat King Cole (compilation)

My interest in Jazz started with this.

Blue by Joni Mitchell

It showed me how much of an impact you can make with just a voice and a guitar/piano and that it’s possible to get abstract in expression while remaining very direct to the listener. I suspect it’s only possible with Joni.


If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

Oh; I don’t know. There are so many great people around. It would be cool to support Father John Misty cause he’s one of a few singer songwriters that is REALLY honest and doesn’t make compromises. Good music is obviously the first priority for him.

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?                   

Well. I am a new artist myself. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been making music before - I was fortunate to have a lot of amazing Classical music teachers that taught me discipline, dedication and refining musical taste. So, passing on their advice; listen to a wide spectrum of genres and practice, practice, practice.


Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?

At the moment, I am playing some solo/duo gigs with my guitarist. A proper tour will follow after the E.P. release. There’s an amazing Folk club in London called The Lantern Society that I play at quite often. Wonderful people and the performers are always great.


 IN THIS PHOTO: Aksel Undset/PHOTO CREDIT: Annika Derksen

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

I’ve seen this Norwegian guy recently, Aksel Undset. Beautiful landscape-like harmonies and melodies; incredible guitar playing too.

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

Haha. I never really chill away from music: it’s just in me. I’m always writing or just humming or thinking about swapping the melody of the new chorus for the old one as it was better in the end…otherwise I just watch a movie or go out for a walk (smiles).

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Joni MitchellHelp Me


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