EP - Shouting at the Ghost
Hi Corinna Jane, how are you?
I am doing great thank you, and yourself?
I am currently in Berlin for a few months and I absolutely love it here. It is completely different to London in its atmosphere – it almost feels like an extended German town just with a more modern cosmopolitan vibe, I am looking forward to exploring more of it – may give me some inspiration of some sort!
Which instruments do you play?
Well, singing is my main instrument so to speak, but ever since I was a toddler I was drawn to the piano until my mother decided to get me some piano lessons when I was 5. Although it has to be said that I think my dad is hugely responsible, as he was the one that subjected me to MTV on Saturday mornings while spinning me around in the living room. In this living room, there happened to be a piano and that’s where the interest began. I also play guitar and began to play when I was 13 – I love it, but playing wise I feel more confident with singing and piano.
What made you decide to be a solo artist and not want to be in a band?
I don’t think that decision was ever made consciously. I just think that being an only child (i.e a bit of a handful sometimes... I’m lovely really) and being such an independent thinker made me naturally write songs on my own and I felt comfortable just going out there and performing them myself. Writing music for me is often my own personal creative release (oh dear that does sound pretentious!) Having said that, I have had a band back me before and my near future goal is to set a band up in order to have that buzz you get when you play with a full live band. Plus I have so much fun writing music with other people too!
Do you work with the same musicians when recording as you do when performing live?
When I record, I do have some friends that have been invaluable to the process, for example my friend Tim who is a fantastic cello player. It’s a nice set up – I write him a cello part for one of my songs – he tells me if it actually makes any sense to a cello player – we work on it and then record it!
How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t yet heard you?
Dramatic, occasionally sinister piano and guitar driven pop rock with the occasional guest appearance of the cello.
What can your fans look forward to in the next 12 months?
Well at the moment they can go ahead and purchase my brand new E.P on Itunes and soon there will be a very special acoustic bonus track that they will be able to download for free (so they might as well go grab it). In January I will be releasing a special collaboration with a New York Songwriter which was produced by a Grammy award winning producer – it is very exciting and different to my other stuff, worth checking out. And meantime you can watch me perform in Berlin, France and the UK and I am even going to be doing some live Twitter cam performances!
Did you always want to be in a musician/singer when younger?
Yes most definitely, ever since I was small actually. This will sound like a reality tv show cliché, but I don’t actually remember a time when I did not want to do this, it’s very innate. I have always been obsessed with performing. As a child I used to run around with a little mini tape recorder and record my own pretend radio show or I’d go and make up little shows with my friends. However, I am realistic and so of course I have contemplated back up career paths, but even they have been slightly unrealistic, I guess I’m not that realistic after all.
What music did you listen to while growing up?
My first CD was actually Sheryl Crow – Tuesday Night Music Club which I got when I was 3. I loved singing along to “All I wanna do”. She definitely inspired me somehow to sing and write. If we ignore my Spice Girls and Busted phase (ahem) ... I’d say bands and artists that I have always loved and have found to be influential when growing up are The Cardigans, Green Day, The Killers, KT Tunstall, The Beatles, (to be honest they inspire us all subconsciously at least). There are many other bands and artists I love like Biffy Clyro, Paramore, Alanis Morrisette, Marina and the Diamonds (refreshing new talent) . I do love good pop music as well as rock, but sadly I think that the pop music of today (i.e chart stuff) isn’t as colourful and original as it was even a few years ago.
How long have you been involved with writing & performing music?
Ever since I was a child I have been writing music in some kind of way. When I was 6 I composed this little melancholy piano piece called “Rainy Afternoon” – still one of mine and my mum’s proudest moments! However, I started to seriously right music with lyrics and perform them when I was 12 and then started doing school performances, local teenage gigs – that sort of thing.
Do you have a set routine when writing and recording or does it depend on each track and the inspiration?
It completely depends on the situation. It is an absolute catastrophe if I say to myself “right now I am going to write an amazingly catchy song that will tug on people’s heart strings” – the complete opposite happens and then I thump the piano and sulk. The best songs happen by accident, a lot of artists will tell you that. For me the melody always comes first and that will dictate the lyrics...
Would you sign with a major record company?
Of course, I’d be stupid not to! At the moment I am signed to a small, but worthy Bristol based independent label who are also a marketing company called Viper. They are a small team of hard workers who are very passionate about what they do.
How much involvement do you have with the arranging and production of the songs when recording?
I always have a vision and then I invite people to share in my vision and bring their ideas to the table too. With this E.P, I worked damn hard to prepare everything before I went into the studio. I spend my Easter Holidays arranging the songs, for example writing various parts for the song and trying to hear the songs produced in my head. When I got to the studio, the producer (Mark Hutchinson) totally got what I wanted to do and how I wanted it to sound and came up with some great production ideas that suited my style. I am an absolute perfectionist though, which meant severe insomnia doing my studio time, but in the end it is worth it.
Do you write songs/tracks only about personal experiences?
I think there always have to be something personal as a stimulus, but they are not always directly about me. For example, “Shouting At The Ghost” was a product of a conversation I had with my mother and how she was feeling at the time. In the end the song turned into a theatrical, yet metaphorical number. I think I let one line or phrase that I find interesting dictate a song.
Which countries have you gigged in?
Mainly in the UK. However, I have done a mini tour with a German Singer/Songwriter (Benjamin Sazewa) in my birth town Minden in Germany and have also been lucky to have had a couple of gigs in NY. One being at The Bitter End on Bleeker Street in Manhattan. It has been the platform for many legends before they were famous including Lady Gaga and Bob Dylan. Absolutely amazing atmosphere there, as it’s got that grungy old feel and you can’t help but feel that it’s all a bit surreal being there knowing that so many legends have played on the same stage!
How do you promote your music and get your music out to new fans?
90% of my musical opportunities have been thanks to the internet – mainly myspace. I was lucky to have caught on to it in its early days, because there weren’t as many of us and the way their system was back then, it was easier to discover unsigned and indie artists. But, nowadays the internet has become an even bigger place than it was even 4 years ago and so I’m now a very small fish in a big big pond, meaning that the answer is to get the music absolutely everywhere online! Luckily there are some great sites around, such as yourselves – somojo, cheers!
However, the internet is bitter sweet. On the one hand you are able to promote your music in ways unimaginable in pre 00’s, yet on the other there are now too many of us – good and bad!
How do you relax?
I don’t. Well, more precisely, I don’t know how to. I am a big worrier, hypochondriac and have absolutely no sense of rational thinking. This can be great of song writing, but hazardous elsewhere.
What else do you do apart from being a singer/songwriter?
I study French and German in Bristol. I was actually born in Germany and lived there until I was 8 when I moved to England. My mother is French and my father is British. I feel very privileged to have grown up with 3 languages. You may say that it is a cop out to study 2 of them, but trust me there is always room for improvement! The great thing is that studying languages means you get to do a year abroad too. So now I am currently in Berlin where I get to combine my languages with my other interest which is Radio. Therefore I am currently getting work experience at a popular radio station here. I love TV and Radio! Last year I was presenting my own Radio show in Bristol where I’d find some great unsigned acts to play and invited some to come into the studio to perform live. It was a lot of fun!
Would you like to be a full time working musician or are you happy with things as they are?
Of course I would. The greatest thing would be to be able to be a full time working musician and be able to earn a comfortable living from it.
Is composing for film & tv something you’d like to get involved in if the opportunity came along?
Very much so. As I have already stated, I love all things to do with Radio and TV. I often compose tunes that could well be a theme to a TV Show (they all seem to sound like period dramas or murder mysteries). Who knows what the future will hold in store!
Is there anything you'd like to add?
My website www.corinnajane.com will be launched very soon (may already be launched while you are reading this). You can also follow me on twitter @corinna_jane , find my fan page on facebook , check out my channel on youtube.com/corinnajane . Oh and most importantly go purchase my E.P on Itunes!
And I’d like to thank Somojo for giving me this interview!