Yeah…Err ummm I am late, again. I can’t believe we’re well into the beginning of a new year. 2014 was, once again… unimagined…. at least by me.
Just a quick recap… Last year was all a mix of surreal and ass busting long work schedules between the administrative parts of the “I’m my own record company now” and semi regular rigors of being a touring Blues-Soul-Americana artist. That kind of schedule could be enough to make a Viking war ship turn tail and run. Only, it turns out I didn’t run …neither did you.
You probably know I self released earlier in 2014 a CD titled ORIGINAL on FATHEAD RECORDS. Which also means you likely know some of what was involved with that process… and a lot of the “for-real results” of those combined and concerted efforts. All brought to you by Team Fathead (i.e.: Dave Darling, John Oszajca and Niels Schroeter), and The Net (that would be a lot of YOU).
Simply put, it was an amazing year with even more amazing results.
Both the individual and broad stroke response to the release of the album seems to have struck a nerve for more than just a few. The reaction has been outstanding, past my own personal measuring stick. Go figure.
Multiple chart positions repeated week after week on multiple charts in multiple genre’s…Amazing. #1 song for I NEED A MAN on Blues Radio for much of the summer, including the Living Blues radio charts, Debuted at #5 on the Billboard Blues charts, SOLD OUT the first run before street date of 6/24/14. Entered the Americana radio charts in the Top 25 and held ground for several weeks ending at #18. A spot usually reserved for artists with much higher name recognition, label and stature than yours truly!
It goes on and on and ending with a cover story on American Blues Scene Magazine, top rankings of the year on the Living Blues Radio charts and THREE BMA nominations – Contemporary Album of the Year, Contemporary Female Artist of the year and Song of the Year for LET ME BREATHE. For me its simply spectacular to have been nominated twice (we won last year..) for SONG OF THE YEAR. Especially since I am so new to the songwriters circle. We are keeping digits crossed on all of that!
IF you want to support us by JOINING and VOTING … do it right here and now at BLUES.ORG
The VOTING ENDS IN TWO WEEKS ON MARCH 1, 2015. Your support would be tremendously appreciated.
OH yeah..Did I mention I am actually working on a memoir and now ORIGINAL THE MUSICAL … WHAT??? Yes… it’s a musical based on my memoir…Hahaha…life is very full and kinda interesting. Check it out at http://originalthemusical.net.
AND if that peaks your interest. Please check out the MARCH 1st CONCERT at the fabulous OHM NIGHTCLUB in Hollywood.
All proceeds from this intimate show, go towards hard costs to raise the Workshop for the Musical. Workshops are a critical part of the process before successfully launching Theater performances. It’s a private rehearsal, staging, blocking and script tweeking scenario all leading up to a performance of the show for a small handful of interested folks.
Click here for more info and tickets http://originalthemusical.net/#events
Sewwwannywaay….Here’s the thing… When I step back and take a look at all of what happened in 2014… What WE did by stepping out, leaving the comfort of the largest indie blues label, writing a bunch of songs, pushing the envelope on ALL fronts, with a response that has been overwhelmingly beautiful and strong… I can’t help but grin. Grin a lot. Even privately when I am sweating to get everything done that now falls on my lap as President of Fathead Records. Sweatin’ cryin’ & grinnin’…
Still, at times… it’s just all too hard. Too much work, too many long days and nights strung together …and I long for some level of consistency… Some kind of predictability in my life. I want to throw in the towel and just be a regular “so and so”. One that takes zero risks and has, what I imagine, some kind of life on much more an “even keel” than I do as a touring and recording artist and now head of my own record label. Most touring musicians don’t have either of those… consistency or predictability. Well not for long anyway. I suppose you could say if I wanted “normal” I should have been in a different business. God knows I’ve tried. Year after year, like most other Artists, to be something, anything other than what I am…
I have in fact been a Waitress, Hotel Maid, bussed dishes, Receptionist, interned as a Juvenile Probation Officer, Office Manager, Dairy Queen Worker, Grocery store clerk, Night Manager at a Health Food Store, Cashier and Cashier Coordinator, Bookkeeper, In-Take Counselor, Production Manager, Musicians Contractor, Delivery Driver, Extra in films, Office Temp., House Maid, both Commercial and Private Limo Driver…That’s just the legal activity. The list goes on and on. ALL the while I had one thing on my mind. Singing music. The music. ALL along the question has always been there…
“How am I going to get to the music?”
If I am brutally honest, it is only in very recent years I have begun to be a tiny bit comfortable with the term “Artist” as a reference to me. Sounds insane and I may well be. Still it’s a piece of my truth.
I already KNOW changes are manifest in my life these days. I appears I will continue to be on tour…But you won’t be seeing me there until at least late in April. I will be home and plenty busy. Hopefully write some more songs and make another CD for Fathead release. And must now also make room for writing – completing my memoir AND the theater! Hahahahah… Life is definitely stranger than fiction, right?
I often pray, just in case someone or something is actually listening… In part because I believe it works and other times it is as basic as…Just in case. When things appear particularly frightening to me (ie THE FUTURE…) I sometimes pray for direction, in those darker moments, when I feel very much as if I am the Man of La Mancha … Having gone quite mad …and standing in front of a another perceived demonic monster… When I am most unsure if I should trudge on in this effort of being an Artist. I ask the universe to be shown, some small sign please, no need for a burning bush here, I can usually read subtleties and frankly don’t want to be arrogant about it, I am sure the universe is busy enough dealing with much bigger issues than my own personal angst.
Then poof! I get an e mail like the one the other day. This gentleman and his wife are now deeply involved in mentoring youth at risk in Idaho Children’s Home. Teaching blues guitar to the young people at risk. He had contacted me the year before, requesting I make a stop to perhaps meet some of the youth and have a meet and greet plus a Q&A session. We managed to make that happen at my hotel since the travel and show schedule was a tight one. I was SO glad it worked out and the room of about a dozen youth. So this “Guitar lesson thing” has now turned into a regular part of the curriculum at the Children’s Home. The reason being, is the staff is seeing marked improvement in the attitudes, disposition, behavior and grades of the dozen or so youth participating in the lessons. Music is a healer. Go figure.
And I KNOW pressing on is not just AN answer, it is THE answer I have asked for… The thing I have said countless times to my friends and loved ones and even fans that are brave and tell me of their own personal struggles. Soldier on. Press on. Steady your course. Keep moving forward. When you are going thru hell… Keep going (my personal fav. Winston Churchill quote). And I will.
SO ladies and gents… There it is! A Memoir, A Musical, Songwriting, Mentoring and Touring. Whew! Sure do hope to see you March 1st show at OHM Nightclub, out there on campus at a book signing, at the theater, at a show or perhaps an event to support Youth at risk, or hell maybe even see you in Memphis at the BMA’s!
Love – Janiva