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Monday February 19, 2001

Jane Siberry chat transcript

Jane Siberry, singer-songwriter and Juno nominee, chatted live with JAM! Music on Monday February 19, 2001.

Here is what she had to say:

Jane Matz: Hi Jane. Glad you're chatting again. I was wondering what you think you'd have chosen to do for a living if you weren't writing, singing, entrepreneuring, etc? (I'm very glad you're doing this, though -- and congratulations on the nomination)

Jane Siberry: Hello Everyone. I guess if I wasn't a musician, I would perhaps have a small company, maybe mail order, on the internet, do my own books, sleep with computer manuals and do interviews pretending I'm a singer-songwriter.

Biff: Hi Jane-I am a huge fan and have been for years.You have come as close as anyone to writing the perfect pop song on each of your early albums(the walking being an all time favourite).Lately you have lost me in the trees and in the lips -I will not survive!!When do we get to hear new original studio Jane excellence?

Jane Siberry: Are you Biff from the David Letterman show?

Jane Siberry: Someday. PS if your are lost in trees and lips it sounds like you are having a good life. We all need more of that.

Rob: Jane: What's the one thing you miss most about being on a major label? What's the thing you miss the LEAST?

Jane Siberry: I miss being taken care of, of being able to 'be an artist' and stay in that space longer. I hate 'bracing' to do things on my own so much. The thing I miss the least is not being able to take care of myself, of seeing how things could be done more efficiently, less waste, and not being able to take full responsibility for myself. How's that. Am I making sense?


Jane Siberry: You will never have that, so don't waste your time.

Taed Nelson: How are the 3 parts of "Map of the World" actually connected? I've never noticed any connection between them...

Jane Siberry: Map of the World part I has three songs going at once. One is (I'm trying to remember) someone sitting at an intersection in the middle of nowhere watching the wind blowing the red traffic light ahead of them. (I didn't put this in the song, but nearby is a dark (but blonde) wheatfield. The second song is someone trying to move forward, crossing the 'stripes' of this and that and time, (can't quite remember) and the third map that fits in with the first two is someone talking to an unborn baby. They all sing the last line together. Time.

Jeanne Wooser-Atkinson: Would you tell me a little (or allot!) about the song "oh my sister" from your beautiful album Teenager? It runs parallel to my life and twin sister who died in 1979. Thank You

Jane Siberry: 'Oh My Sister' - using the sister as a canvas, to try to explain something that is so hard to explain, our struggle with the life-long task of accepting ourselves, of giving ourselves the unconditional love we crave so much and ask for (unrealistically) from others - the complicated mirrors that family gives us. So many people I know would flee from their family forever, except the 'family' acts as a forced mirror. Too intense. I'm sure many of you are familiar with 'The Thanksgiving From Hell' phenomenon. And yet these people are dearer than any others you love. Does this makes sense.

Marni: Hi, Jane. How much does your Juno nomination this year mean to you? Thanks!

Jane Siberry: The first thing I thought was, if I win I can auction it. Isn't that terrible? Secondly, I am very happy for Hush as I am concerned that many people would like it if they only knew of it. Thirdly, I love these events because, like many musicians, it is one of the few times where you get to see so many people you like but rarely see.

Shawn: Hi Jane. What is your stance on Napster and online file-sharing in general?

Jane Siberry: I have a 'Napster' page on my website (janesiberry.com) - the moderator has just left the room so let me now say what are you all doing at a chat room on Monday at 4? Shouldn't you be at work? Oh, here he comes again. Napster - there is a real problem with how to have remuneration for something that circulates freely with such naturalness. Not just music but many things. But I don't know what the answer is. Except for now, I make a conscious choice to send $2/tune to a musicians fund, so at least my gratitude for the service is felt somewhere in the universe. All is heard. (I send it to Sweet Relief - for musicians with health problems and no support).

Kevin Renick: Jane, your CD "When I Was a Boy" is my absolute favorite, and I love the two songs that Brian Eno was involved in, especially "Sail Across the Water." Eno seems have an instinctive feel for your music, and to bring out something magical in it. Would you like to have him produce one of your discs from start to finish? How likely is that to happen some day?

Jane Siberry: Brian Eno is a wunderkind and I love what he added to the songs. But even those songs would not be the same if I hadn't bent my own magic into them. He is like a big brother to me, same as Peter Gabriel. But I don't think he could stand all the hours I spend on vocals.

Kramer: Any future collaborations in the works (like your recent work with Joe Jackson, Sotoma Takafumi, Hector Zazou and others)? How much do these experiences with other artists impact upon your own creativity?

Jane Siberry: Carlos Del Junco (harmonica extraordinaire) - I sang 'How High The Moon' on his upcoming CD, a beautiful Judee Sills song on 'Ghostland''s new recording coming out of the UK, and some new things ahead. I think some other things but I forget.

JJ HUNSECKER: Just wondering. What's been in your CD player lately?

Jane Siberry: 'I will not be sad in this world'. Is that your real name? None of my business.

Jane Siberry: 'I will not be sad' is an armenian flute recording.

cdickey: I saw where you studied Microbiology at university. Do you keep up with it and find yourself naming organisms when you open your fridge? Just wondering......

Jane Siberry: Although I started out as an Art student, I didn't enjoy anything as much as the requisite Science class art students had to take. I would leave the classes ecstatic. And with a sense that false mystery could be replaced by grounded mystery - a new basis of facts that would allow me to break down and build up to my own satisfaction, discriminate with a bit more aptness between so much information coming about new things - new age things - old things new.

Josh: Hi, Jane. Congrats on another fine album. Any plans on a supporting tour? Would enjoy seeing you again, this time in my city (Minneapolis/St. Paul). By the way: I've been addicted to French-pressed coffee ever since 9.9.99 :o)

Jane Siberry: Are you talking about the coffee I make before shows? Did we have some together. Be careful - I have a highly addictive nature and if you drink or eat something I am addicted to (and made) you will be put under a spell. Anyways, I'm rambling. And 9.9.99 - wasn't that a release date for something I did? Hmm. TOURING. Trying to stay still so I can write songs for my new record.

Julie: Hey Jane, You're kinda like Madonna, in that each album for you seems to represent a new expression of yourself as a musician. Where will the next album take us as listeners, do you think? ps - "When I Was A Boy" is easily a desert island disc for me...absolute perfection!

Jane Siberry: After my third recording, I realized that different as all the songs were within each, overall they were the same. They were all full spectrum. That's when I started to make each work more of a 'pure tone' an awareness that the 'body of work' had to work together as a song, too. Hence each new work is like an inset exaggerated. I would like to publicly thank Madonna right now for being so generous in distracting people so I don't have to be famous and can get some work done.

shawn: what advice do you have for a young song writer just starting out in the business?

Jane Siberry: I believe music is sacred and so many have the gift to use it as a means to serve. And serving means to simply present your take on 'life on earth' as purely and honestly as possible. (Without 'dumping', if you know what I mean.) So, with that in mind, the main work is to make your music as close to what you hear in your head in your own unique way and humbly go one step at a time. Taking responsibility for yourself as an artist and also a transactor or business. It is all towards positive use of energy. (I apologize - I can only see a few lines of what I am typing so can't look back to keep track of what I just said - hope it makes sense.)


Jane Siberry: The S word. Makes me nervous. I always that everyone was talking to God all the time, I guess I still think this must be even if we don't know it. So, it's like breathing. Sometimes the breathing is short, shallow, sometimes cool and electrified.

sk8: read any good books lately? I'm looking for one. .

Jane Siberry: 'Think And Grow Rich'. An odd book - very old esoteric principles in it, but on the surface sounds like one of the 'typical get rich' books. I love the Bible, too. It calms me. Makes my vision less jittery. I just open it every now and then.

cille, keywest: darling jane ~ thanking you for "trumpeter swan", which i played at my cats funeral ceremony.it so spoke to me ~ in an inexplicable way ~of "animal love"! what is that song about for you?

Jane Siberry: You people are lovely. Thanks for coming today. 'Trumpeter Swan' partly about my aunt that I named myself after. Her neck always seemed slightly stretched forward in eagerness and joy. In the song, I am the jaded one trying to learn from her. There is a picture of her in in artwork of 'Teenager'.

s venna: How do you feel when you see frat-boy Canadian record company reps with such chesire grins walking down College St. with their sunglasses on?

Jane Siberry: I feel just great. How did you feel, frat boy?

Derek Moore: Jane - How important is it for you to visit Wales and gain an understanding of your heritage? Do you also enjoy going to Glastonbury, the Chalice Well and places of quiet!

Jane Siberry: I wonder where we will all go for quiet years from now? I am thinking of designing a line of clothing that is lead-lined to block out radio waves. Just thinking of all the noise careening through our NRG fields. Wales - I have never been so depressed as I was there. Twice I went. I got very sick with it. Couldn't stop crying. I was a real mess. (poor Nigel Kennedy). I know it had something to do with the energy there. What, I'm not sure. But going there and also Scotland more recently, and Ireland was an activation of something in me that allowed me to record Hush in an integrated way. Earned me the right so to speak.

Paul: Jane, Why not sell Siberry-approved coffee from your site? You could call it "Siberry-Jittery" since it's so strong.

Jane Siberry: Siberry-jittery - that's a good one. Actually, people don't find it makes them jittery. It's very buttery and chocolaty (no chocolate, though). I will spend 5 minutes getting just the right amount. (Sometimes this is why I'm a bit late going on stage.) But no, my addictions are not something I'm proud of and want to purvey. But I am thrilled that they are no longer (the other) drugs and alcohol. (OH). VEry thrilled. Sugar is also fatal for people like me. Don't send chocolates unless you don't like me.

Terri: I heard you were had done some performances recently in people's living rooms. Could you talk a bit about how that works, and what it's like? Thank you!

Jane Siberry: The 'Siberry Salons' came out of a 5 day workshop I did in 1996 at a retreat in BC. They wanted me to give a workshop on music, but I was at that time interested in going back to college and redoing my first year sciences. So I used this as an excuse to re-study on my own. It was a whirlwind review of all the buzz words that we all know but have forgotten the meaning of. Osmosis, Mitosis, Stamen, Xylem, Phloem. Even the words give me shivers. It was fun and the workshop was a 'travelling roadshow' based on this including a performance. It now feels 'out of the air' so no plans for any more. But I am always surprised so never say never.

seeker: why is the onus placed on your fans to fund new music? While I find your initiatives and ambition admirable, I find the means highly questionable

Jane Siberry: If you are talking about the various things I've set up with SHEEBA - auctions, handwritten lyrics, bunnies - these are all value-driven (is that the right word) things. None will sell unless someone wants it. And in the auctions, the price is determined by the buyer. I am trying to find the right balance and my fear of asking for freebies probably makes me try even harder to give good value for money. And now with free-downloading of music through peer-to-peer file sharing, it will mean that I will have to be even more creative in finding the funds to buy studio time. It is important for me to feel that Sheeba is pulling it's weight and sustaining itself through fairness not favours. What would you do?

Cam Bailey: What sort of knickknacks inhabit the area around your computer (IE. I have a gargoyle candle holder, wooden shoes, a Canucks hockey puck, a can of Japanese sports drink, etc.)?

Jane Siberry: Is this Cameron Bailey from the world of film? If so, you have a nice television presence. Knick-knacks around my computer - pictures of children I love, clothes I see in magazines that I'll have a tailor make someday, computer short-cuts, a toy bunny that speaks for my computer to me (when I'm too tired and should stop working), purses from Japan, and most importantly - my SHREDDER which I love and offer cookies and milk to knightly.

Dinah: If I asked you what is the most beautiful thing you have seen and/or heard, what would come to mind?

Jane Siberry: What comes to mind immediately is something I once tried to put into words for a song once. It was a vision, really. But I was in a garden, bees buzzing, sunny, a myriad of colourful flowers and ... someone (older person) leaned forward and said to me ... Yes? with such sweetness I can't even explain it. It is in the word yes. I want to be a yes like that.

Jane Siberry: Okay, now you can all pretend you were researching courier services on the internet and get back to work. Thank you for this harmonic convergence. I'm sorry I couldn't answer all your questions. They were so interesting. Maybe another time. Be sure to sign my email list at janesiberry.com if you can. Everything is heard everywhere. Make a joyful noise. love, Jane Siberry, February Nineteen, 5 weeks before the true new millennium, spring equinox. Getting out the Murphy's soap.

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