Star on the rise Jane Ellen Bryant is releasing music on all genres of the music spectrum. I had the pleasure to sit down with her at Arlo Nomad the week of her EP release for an interview.
TBA with Felicia and Jane: I’m Jane so I’m so excited to be meeting another Jane. You’re here in New York and you just released your new EP, “Let Me Be Lost”. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Jane Ellen Bryant: It’s five songs that are all very different from each other, but I kind of did that on purpose. I wanted to showcase a little bit of everything that I do and I’m really excited for everyone to finally hear it.
TBA: Your newest single, “Attention”, is a bop. It’s very different from some of your other songs.
Jane: Yeah. That one is definitely an extreme case of being different. I made this vision board about a year ago when I was trying to decide which songs would go on this project and I hadn’t written “Attention” at the time, but I had this empty spot in the vision board where I knew I needed a wild, out there, pop song. Shortly after I wrote “Attention”. It’s definitely more pop and upbeat than anything else I’ve done in the past, but it’s been fun. It’s been an adventure to kind of explore that side of the industry. I’m not sure if you saw the music video for it, but it’s fun to dance to it and go all out.
TBA: The video [for “Attention”] is fierce. What was it like making it?
Jane: It was such a long process. And I was so scared. I was really nervous that people were going to think this video is insane. Some people do, but actually a lot of people have really loved it. It took about eight months of planning and editing, but I had a lot of great people come into my life because of it. It was definitely a labor of love, but just a lot of fun. Fun to become all of those different characters. Fun to learn how to dance again. I’m glad the world likes it, for the most part.
TBA: I thought it was really empowering.
Jane: Thanks. That was my goal. It turned out to be that my characters ended up a little more crazy than I anticipated, but I wanted it to be a very female empowering thing and I think it still is.
TBA: I know we shouldn’t pick favorites, do you have any favorite songs from your new EP?
Jane: I love them all for different reasons. “Attention” has been really cool because it’s so different. I really like “Too Smooth” and “Let Me Be Lost” probably because those are the newer ones of the five. I like them all for different reasons.
TBA: What do you hope that people take away from your music?
Jane: I hope that there’s a little bit in there for everyone. I hope they have a moment where they can reflect on their own life or feel empowered. I hope it feels relatable and meaningful. It’s not all in one direction, but hopefully that keeps people entertained.
TBA: How did you start writing music?
Jane: I started writing in high school. Just the typical get your heart broken and try to figure out how to get the emotions out. I picked up the guitar and started writing. I had always been a singer and a performer, but I had never written so personally before. Since then it’s been a real form of therapy and it’s transformed over the twelve years I’ve been doing it now. I definitely have explored a lot as a songwriter.
TBA: Are there any artists or things that inspire and influence you?
Jane: A lot. There are so many people right now. I made this playlist on Spotify with some local Austin artists and female artists that inspire me and nationally based artists that I love right now. I’m a huge fan of Phoebe Bridgers. My biggest influence in life growing up was probably Sheryl Crowe. My parents listened to her all the time so I got introduced to her early on so she was very influential. There are so many people, it’s hard to narrow it down. Right now I love Janelle Monae, St Vincent, there’s a lot of female artists I’m into.
TBA: If you could tour with any artist, who would it be and why?
Jane: Oh gosh. It’s hard. I’m having trouble because my music is a bit up and down. You have a ballad and then you have a big pop song. My first thought was St. Vincent. I actually got to meet Annie Clark earlier this year and she was so encouraging. I was feeling a bit discouraged at the time and she was so real and so raw. I also got to see her do her big performance stripped down and it was nice to see the way she took a big production and made it raw. I would love to have the opportunity to either make my songs a big production or make them really raw on tour with her and so many others.
TBA: If you could play in any venue, where would you play and why?
Jane: I’m a big fan of old theaters like there’s the Paramount in Austin. That’s really special. I want to play the Troubadour in L.A. I’m sure there are things here I would love to play. I haven’t done enough research. I love rooms where you can have a really raw intimate moment and then also rock out in. I don’t know if I am a stadium type of gal. I would just like to feel really connected to the people in the room.
TBA: Any favorite shows or moments so far from your career?
Jane: I had a show last weekend that was really special in Austin. I got to play at Antone’s which is a really legendary venue there and I’ve grown up in Austin and I always wanted to play there so that was really special. I’ve had a lot of moments. A lot of celebrations. A lot of collaborations with friends. I had a moment where I got to do a Crosby, Stills & Nash song at Austin City Limits Theater. It was my first time performing on that stage and we got a standing ovation. I’ll never forget that moment when everybody in the huge room stood up. There’s been a lot of highlights but those are the first to come to mind.
TBA: So you’re in New York all this week. Do you have any exciting plans?
Jane: Yesterday was pretty exciting. I had a bunch of interviews all day and then we did a Sofar Sounds show last night which was really special. It was like 50 or so people who all show up not knowing who they are going to see and they stay the whole time and they listen. It’s a great way to meet a new fanbase and share that with strangers. I wouldn’t have met those people otherwise.
TBA: Do you have a favorite pre-show snack?
Jane: Oh man, I love snacks. I’m always in a panic before a show so I’ll pretty much eatanything I can find. My choice would probably some chips and salsa or guacamole. I’m a Texas girl.
TBA: What’s your latest Netflix binge?
Jane: I love The Crown and Stranger Things and Breaking Bad and I love The Office. I love Gilmore Girls. I watch these things all a million times. I just watched The Handmaid’s Tale. What about you?
TBA: They put season two of The Good Place on Netflix and I watched all of that.
Jane: I haven’t watched it.
TBA: It’s so smart and it’s about philosophy but it’s fun. I’m like why didn’t they show that in my philosophy class because it’s so funny but really smart. I’ve watched Freaks and Geeks a million times. I’ve been trying to watch all of Sex and the City. Watching it all was my summer goal but I only made it to season three.
Jane: That’s a good goal. It would be so cool watching that show while living in New York.
TBA: What is your perfect pizza?
Jane: I like all pizzas. As a kid, I used to get pepperoni and black olives. There’s something really sentimental about that. I love a good margarita pizza. Literally anything with cheese and bread and sauce, I’m all in.
TBA: Thin or thick crust?
Jane: Ooh. I like a medium crust. Not too thick but not too thin.
TBA: When will your next project come out?
Jane: The EP comes out Friday (it’s out now. Find it here). I’ve had a couple of singles on it already been released. I’m hoping to have a physical CD release mainly just to have to sell at shows. I have about ten songs that I’ve released over the past few years that I haven’t done a physical release for. And they are all produced by the same person so it would be really cool to have it all on one big project.
TBA: Anything else you’d like to add?
Jane: If you like what you hear its so helpful to give an artist a follow on Spotify or Instagram. It’s not even about buying anything it’s about getting the word out because that’s the hardest thing. There’s so much out there that if you can find a true fan, it goes so far.
You can follow Jane Ellen Bryant on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Spotify. Make sure you tune in to TBA with Felicia and Jane on Tuesdays at 11am EST/8am PST on mywbcr.com and 1090AM to hear upcoming artists like Jane Ellen Bryant.