With millions of streams to her name already, and with a sound reminiscent of Jessie Ware and Lianne La Havas, R ‘n’ B newcomer Janice- pronounced Jah-nees – already has a big year ahead with the release of her debut album and a Scandinavian tour in place for February and March. ThisIsTheLatest caught up with her to chat dream shows and the advice she’d give to aspiring artists.
TITL: Please sum yourself up in 3 words for me.
Janice: Warm, strong, brave.
TITL: Have you always wanted to be an artist or did you have other aspirations growing up?
J: Yes. I knew from a very early age that I wanted to sing but the confidence to actually do it came much later and also and grew into becoming an artist who creates music.
TITL: If you had to say you sounded similar to another band or artist, which would it be?
J: That’s a hard one. Sabina Ddumba and I have the same character in our voices I would say but totally different sounds.
TITL: Tell me about your latest track “Queen.” Is there a story behind it?
J: It’s about that person that makes you wanna be the best version of yourself and also about never settling for less than a partner that makes you feel like you can do anything.
TITL: The song is taken from your upcoming album Fallin’ Up. Is there a story behind the title and how did you find the writing/creative and recording process?
J: It was harder to come up with the title than to actually write the album! But yeah, I was listening to all the tracks and I heard it so clear. It’s all stories about a place and a state I was in and the place I’ve developed and where I’ve landed now. I felt that I was falling down time after time but I ain’t anymore – I’m Fallin Up! The creative process was long, fun, amazing and exhausting. HYENA and I experimented a lot with sounds and different genres and we found Javeon McCarthy, an amazing artist, songwriter and now friend who we connected with at first sight. We’ve written the majority of the album together. I can’t wait for the world to hear it!
TITL: Which song on the album are you most proud of and why?
J: Oh lord what a hard question! I mean, they’re all my babies and I’ve got so much love for each and every track but If I have to say one, it’ll be “Changing” I think… I wanted to write it as a part two of “Don’t Need To” and it’s a song where I’m so vulnerable yet strong which makes it special. I get to sing my heart out which I love. HYENA’s production is magical and it’s very electronic yet organic which makes it huge. And the backing vocals…SO powerful!!! I’m very proud of it.
TITL: Hailing from Sweden, how are you finding the more global reaction to your music? Is it at all daunting to hear that notably thanks to social media, individuals in far flung places are discovering your music and keeping up to date with what you’re up to?
J: It’s been very inspiring throughout the years to see Sweden’s music export grow and to see the power of music. It’s limitless and that’s what makes it so beautiful. To see how far my music can go is a blessing. Social media is powerful in that way because basically anyone anywhere can discover you and show you and your music love and I’ve really experienced that through this process and still am.
TITL: Are you much of a social media user, and to what extent do you think it’s impacting your career and the music industry in general?
J: Yeah I am but I try not to be for periods of time. It’s so distracting and misleading but it’s also the way we communicate and connect nowadays. I use it as a tool to extend my music and myself as an artist which basically everyone does. You can sort of get to know an artist by following them on Instagram or Twitter for example but social media is also so dangerous in that way. You can post the things you like however often you want to, or not, and in that way, it works great; but I also think it’s important to at least talk about how and why social media can be negative too. You don’t have to share everything with everyone but to show that you are human is important – especially for the ones that look up to you.
TITL: You recently participated in a Paste session in the US, performing as the headliner in their Sweden Makes Music show. What was that like and is breaking into the US market something you’re considerably focused on in terms of your plans for this year?
J: It was like a dream. Couldn’t have ended 2017 any better. And I know it’s gonna be a challenge but I’m ready for it and I’m going to work so, so, so hard.
TITL: You’ve already been nominated for Swedish Grammy in the category of Best New Act, but do you care much about awards and accolades or are you more concerned about what your fans think?
J: It’s insane and I’m so happy! I appreciate that they appreciate what I’m doing but that’s not what I do it for. It’s more important that my music resonates with my fans and that it brings them the kind of hope, joy and comforting only music can bring.
TITL: What are your upcoming tour and performance plans?
J: I’m going on a Scandinavian tour in February-March.
TITL: If you could play any venue in the world, which would it be and why? What is it about that venue that means so much to you?
J: Madison Square Garden. It’s been a dream since I was little kid and a big goal for me still. I like to visualize and I don’t know why but if I close my eyes and think of it, I see it so clearly.
TITL: Finally then, given how hard the music industry can be, especially on new and upcoming artists, what advice would you give to those wanting to follow in your footsteps? Is there anything you’ve been told recently that you wish you’d known before you started on this journey?
J: To keep on doing what you love and don’t let anyone change who you are and what you want. Dream big, visualize, work hard and you can have it, you’ll have it!