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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Jana's Blog - And then there were two.

Hey guys,

Playing all these shows by myself got to be a little boring. Honestly, my setup is a bit awkward at these places by I've been playing - when following a loud and upbeat punk band, sitting down to play melancholy music on my keyboard for a bunch of drunk strangers is a little anti-climactic. (Though sometimes drunk people play in my favor, like at Wicked Willy's when a bunch of strangers started singing along to "You Deserve Better.")

So I decided to find a guitar player to join me using the tried-and-tested poor musicians' method - Craigslist. After several responses, I scheduled a meeting with the person who responded first - Mike, who, instead of sending me a recent photo, sent me a photo of a life-size Tetris block.

I foolishly scheduled his audition for 10am the morning of Halloween - foolish because I, having gone to a Halloween party the night before, woke up with a wicked hangover (apparently vodka and whiskey do not mix - just ask the sidewalk in front of my friend's apartment on Wall Street), and he, being on his way to work at an infamous retail store the day of a holiday that requires costumes, was dressed as the Swedish Chef. We played the two songs that Mike had learned by ear, but my brain was so foggy all I could think about was a sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit. What a bizarre morning.

Anyway, none of my other Craigslist contacts actually met with me. But it's okay though! Mike and I are getting along fabulously. To get some performance experience under our belts, we played for the first time at Side Walk Cafe's open mic (along with quite an assortment of interesting characters). I had unfortunately drawn slot 24 from the lottery, meaning that we didn't go on until 12:30am and that I was full of adrenaline for the next three hours, arguing with Mike that Muse's new album is, in fact, good.

Playing as a duo makes me feel much more confident and less like the tiny emo girl that all the bar guys want to quote unquote rescue. I am going to take over the world. You best not miss it!

Our first show together is December 1 at Googie's Lounge. For now, we are just going by my name, but we might re-christen ourselves with an appropriate duo moniker (since no one seems to know how to spell Jana and my last name is an allusion to sea creatures).

Peace out,


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Jana's Blog - I went to Florida and all I got was this lousy cough.

Hey guys,

I went to Florida last weekend to visit friends and family. Had all these plans to run around doing cool stuff and wind up completely exhausted - exactly what you're not supposed to do on vacation. I knew nothing was going to go as planned when Dan (my boyfriend, who also happens to be the bassist on "You Deserve Better") came back from the clinic wearing a surgical mask. Flu Time. Nice.

On Friday I visited my high school choir teacher to talk about being an aspiring songwriter while working in the music business. The first class degenerated into a completely amateur version of TRL (amateur because of my lack of song knowledge - "Do you know any Alicia Keys?" "No..." "Do you know any Taylor Swift?" "No ...") The second class asked me questions and made me feel really important. ("What's it like playing in New York with all that competition?" "Well, once I realized that everyone started out playing for three people, I got past the mental block and just started putting one foot in front of the other.")

Played my first three-hour set at New Harmony Coffee & Tea in Clearwater. Would have been so worn out if not for the delicious caffeine-infused drinks!

Then it was Flu Time for me. I still have the cough I came home with. I recorded a rough demo of my newest song "Cheater" and Dan asked if I had a cold when I recorded it. "Dan, I recorded that yesterday ..."

I'm visiting Tennessee and Ohio in November and December - if you have anywhere you'd like to see me play, let me know! Going back to Recoup and Local 269 in the upcoming weeks. Hope to see you there!



Thursday, October 1, 2009

Jana's Blog - 10.1.09

Hey guys!

My song "Fairy Tale" was featured in the trailer for the book "The Garden That Grew Her" by Leslie Bradford. This is really cool ... and not just because they picked my song (though that was an enormously pleasant surprise). Books don't usually come with film-style trailers - we're venturing into new and exciting territory here! I'm super stoked. Check it out here:


I'm going to Florida next weekend to visit friends and family and booked a show in Clearwater while I'm there. October 9, to be precise. I'm supposed to somehow play for three hours so you'll be hearing a lot of old, new, and otherwise unheard material during my set. (Ironically, I am really looking forward to going shopping with my mom for winter clothes while in Florida. It's getting too cold too early up for my southern blood. 48 degrees! That's like the darkest days of winter in the ol' FL.)

I'm playing shows in New York every other week right now, the next being a free show this Sunday. I've been writing songs for my as-yet-untitled (that's the official word anyway - it's titled in my head) second album that you can only hear live right now (except for a few bootleg copies floating around for people who are super nice to me =P), so be sure to come out to see me sometime!

I feel a little delirious and really should not be writing at 2 am. Signing off before I announce that I'm holding a free buffet in my apartment or something.



Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Jana's Blog - 9.8.09

Hey guys,

New York is an adventure as always. I've started collecting all of the bizarre pick-up lines used on me and a friend suggested that I turn them into a book. Here's a sample:

"Hey girl, come over here! I swear I won't do nothing bad to you!"

"Hey beautiful, you dropped something. Don't walk away! You're so beautiful, I'm sure you dropped something."

"Where you goin', shorty? We're on the same side of the street and you got a fat booty!"

"I'm sorry, I don't mean to bother you, but I'm a little tipsy right now. And you're just so beautiful! I could marry someone like you. I've got a house, and money, and everything! ... I'm not bothering you, am I?"

A book would be good for a laugh or two, but that also means I need about a thousand more weirdos to hit on me. Great.

Anyway, I've got a great show coming up on Friday at Uncle Mike's in Tribeca with Blue Food, Northern Point, Dylan, Girls Rock the Night, and Calm & Repose. Tickets are $7 in advance, $10 at the door. Get your advance tickets here: I normally charge $200 for autographs, but I'll give them to you for free if you come to the show. ;-)

Peace out,


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Jana's Blog - 8.29.09: Bowery Poetry Club

Last weekend I went down to the Bowery Poetry Club to put up posters. Here's what they look like:

Apparently they are very attention-getting, because when I got to the BPC, everyone already knew who I was.

"Oh, you're the girl in the posters!"

"You're the girl who's been staring at us for the past week! It's a very haunting photo."

One guy gave me a breakdown of the ups and downs of the poster.

"See the eyes - the eyes are perfect. But I don't like the position you're in. You're all hunched over and you have no length. You look like a midget. It doesn't do you justice. You're much prettier in real life."

That's a good thing, I guess.

Anyway, the guys who work there are really nice. I asked the guy at the front what I needed to do to get ready for the show, and he suggested I gargle with a shot of bourbon to loosen up my throat.

"Well, do you want to give me a free shot of bourbon, then?"

"I'm not in charge of that department," he replied. But later on in the night he poured me a shot - my first experience with bourbon, and I'm not really much for shots anyway. I chased it down with an entire glass of ice water.

Apparently 7pm on a Friday in New York isn't a good time for a show - I ended up playing for three of my friends and the BPC employees. The act that followed me didn't even show up until like 15 minutes before their set, and they only had two or three fans with them too.

It was kind of nice though - it was intimate, and not nerve-racking. I discovered recently that I play better when I'm focusing more on meaning what I'm singing instead of hitting every note right, and this was a good chance to practice that.

My friend Brett brought a friend with him, someone I hadn't met before. Partway through my set - I'm guessing somewhere around "If We'd Just Said What We Meant" and "White Paint" - she turned to Brett and said, "She's really good, but I think she had a really bad breakup."

To which I just have to laugh.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Jana's Blog - 8.16.09

The past week was really crazy, but awesome. I played two shows on Tuesday and Wednesday, and they were quite an adventure, if nothing else.

On Tuesday, I was convinced I wasn't going to have anyone come to my show. I was supposed to get to the bar at 8:30 and hit at 9, so I made my way over to 169 Broadway and arrived exactly 8:30. I was walking around the area that the bar should have been, thinking, "Why is there a huge office building right here?" ... before I realized the show was at 169 East Broadway, in an entirely different neighborhood all together. Laughing at myself, I hopped on the subway, sure that if anyone had come to see me play, they would have all left by now.

I got to the bar a little after 9 and was greeted by a friend from college sitting outside on a bench. "I didn't win the lottery for cheap Broadway tickets, so I came to see you play!" Then I found my friend Kal waiting inside. I went to talk to the bartender, but he thought that no one had come to see me, so he said I couldn't play and bought me a beer to console me.

Two of my co-workers showed up, having left the bar for a Chinese food run. Then two of my friends from Queens showed up, apologizing for being late due to getting lost. We turned into a loud and lively bunch, so the bartender was more than happy to let me go on.

I finally started playing at 9:30, slightly buzzed and feeling brave. I did a set almost entirely of originals, including "Fairy Tale," which I've never been courageous enough to play live. The crowd was really enthusiastic, and afterward two street hockey players who had wandered in bought me a drink - for being awesome, of course. ;-) They were a lot of fun and I gave them a CD.

169 Bar has a piano, so I didn't have to bring any gear with me. Wednesday's venue, Wicked Willy's, does not, so I bungeed my keyboard, stand, and throne to a little hand cart. Being the cheapskate that I am, I decided to take the whole mess into the subway... It was one of the most miserable experiences of my life. I would have been brutally mauled by my own instrument if not for the help of many strangers. I have bruises to prove it.

Anyway, the venue turned out to be pirate themed with bright-colored beer pong tables -- not exactly the best place for a girl-with-a-piano act. But I did my thing and enjoyed it thoroughly even though most people weren't really paying attention. I fell in love with a couple who were sitting at a table directly in front of the stage and cheered enthusiastically after every song. "Your voice is beautiful, and your music was entirely wasted on these people!" I don't know why it slipped my mind to give them a free CD. (If you're out there, and you're reading this, shoot me an email!)

Grabbed some Chinese food with friends after my set. Feeling sore and exhausted, I took the easy way out and commissioned a taxi to take me home. It's crazy how many people feel sorry for a young girl dragging around a keyboard almost her size - a man in my neighborhood offered to carry the whole thing up the four flights of stairs to my fifth-floor walk up apartment. I graciously declined, determined to finish the task myself and injure no one else.

I suppose I am now officially a gigging musician in New York, and there will be many more adventures to come.



Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Jana's Blog - 8.11.09

Hey everyone!

So life is good! I've relocated to New York City, and I love it! I live next to a 24-hour deli that also sells Haagen Daas. What more could a girl ask for?

I've started writing again. I've put up a rough mix of my new song "You Deserve Better" - mostly because singing it makes me feel like a badass rock star. Let me know what you think! Giving the best flattery will give you a chance to jump on stage with me and perform an air guitar solo.

Kidding. ...Sorta.

I've got a few shows coming up in New York City in August and September. (Now that I'm 21, I can actually get in to bars to perform!) If you're in the area, come out and watch me perform my making-a-pained-face-while-banging-on-a-piano act. I've got some new songs that for the time being can only be heard live, so you can brag to all your friends that you heard them first. It'll be fun. I promise.

Peace out,


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New Song "You Deserve Better!"

Hey everyone!

For months I've been dying to show you my new song "You Deserve Better." It's an upbeat pop-rock song that's been drawing a lot of comparisons to early Alanis Morissette and just makes me feel like a badass in general. I worked on it with my producer friend from college, David Plakon, and it sounds great.

Unfortunately it's been taking forever to finish. Today I decided I just couldn't wait any longer, so I put up a rough mix of the track on Myspace. Check it out and let me know what you think!

It's songwriting season so be on the lookout for a lot more new stuff where that came from. =)

Monday, July 20, 2009


Okay, this is really super lame but I feel like wasting some time. Here goes...

Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions. Pass it on to 15 people you like (or think will actually do this) and include me. Try not to repeat a song title. It's harder than you think but it's a fun way to waste a few minutes and get the brain cells moving around.

Your Artist: Fiona Apple

Are you male or female: Sullen Girl

Describe yourself: Love Ridden

How do you feel about yourself: Waltz (Better than Fine)

Describe where you currently live: On the Bound

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: To Your Love

Your favorite form of transportation: Slow Like Honey

Your best friend: Shadowboxer

Your dream boy/girl: Pale September

Your life motto: Oh Well

If your life were a TV show, what would it be called: The Way Things Are

What is life to you: Better Version of Me

What is the best advice you have to give: Sleep to Dream

If you could change your name, what would you change it to? Extraordinary Machine

Your favorite food is: The First Taste

How I would like to die: Parting Gift

My soul's present condition: The Child is Gone

Sunday, April 19, 2009

April 17

Friday, April 17 was an entire crazy day dedicated to art. I loved it.

At 9 am, I had a friend from Stetson named Keelyn take pictures of me because the ones on my website are so old. In the past I have been super camera shy when it comes to pictures like this and shoots usually end with me uncomfortable and upset. But this one was such a blast! Keelyn's fairly new to doing portrait shoots but she made me feel very comfortable (maybe it's because she's new to it that I felt comfortable ...). I felt like a blank canvas, forgot all my stresses and became very relaxed. We took 320 pictures in an hour and a half but it felt like time stood completely still. She's gotten a few of them back to me so here's a taste:

I'm not used to posing/not smiling in pictures so at first I actually really didn't like them. (I brought my friend Stacey over and said, "Look at these ... I look like a whiny b---h!") Now they've grown on me and I think they're pretty cool.

Okay, I lied -- the day wasn't ENTIRELY dedicated to art. At 11 am I had to attend an "Exit Loan Counseling" session. I'm graduating college in three weeks (!!!), so they had to tell me what to do about my student loans after graduation. (It was basically like "Your loans have interest. Interest is bad. If you don't pay your loans, you're dumb.") Thankfully I don't have too many loans so I'm not worried.

From noon to 3 pm I worked on my senior project. I'm creating a sound art piece that provides an overview of the French and American Top 40 charts from 1/2/2009 and 1/3/2009, respectively, similar to Luke DuBois's "Billboard." The process of creating a patch in Max/MSP to take a pleasant-sounding spectral average of each song has been a bit of a struggle, but my patch is finally working and I can start the composition aspect of it (with two and a half weeks left before it's due ...). My professor and I discussed strategies for putting the songs together. I'll probably post a version on the website when it's done.

From 3 pm to 6 pm, a friend of mine from high school named Mario came up to Stetson to record with me. His band Pariah is doing a metal-esque cover of Pink Floyd's "Mother" and wanted me to sing the choruses. This was my first time being featured in another band's project and it was really fun. Having metal guitar solos in your headphones is a great motivator to sing powerfully.

After recording I drove down to Orlando to act in Joshua Ingle's DORM series. We were filming the finale to Season 2, a party where the camera chronicles the same events from five different characters' perspectives. The series is based around oners so it gets a little chaotic trying to get the shots just right, especially with uninitiated extras hanging out in the way of the fast-moving backwards-walking steadicam operator. I got so caught up in acting that suddenly at 1 am I felt drunk (I wasn't) and exhausted (I shouldn't have been) and realized I hadn't eaten any real food all night. We didn't wrap until 4:20 am (I went to sleep at 4), and then Josh woke me up at 6:30 am to go shoot scenes outside at dawn.

It's Sunday and I'm finally just recovered from the hectic schedule of Friday and Saturday morning. But I would gladly trade getting good sleep for getting to live my life like that all the time.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy 2009!

I'm starting 2009 off on the right foot. The very first thing I did this year was go kayaking for the first time with good friends, so I think this year will be a chance to grow and face new challenges.

I'm looking forward to playing live much more actively this year -- I've started practicing a bunch of new covers so I can have an expansive and exciting repertoire. Once I graduate in May, I will be working on my music career full time.

Best of luck to both of us in this new year.