January – Interview

Tuesday 21st February 2017

I have to be honest and say that this genre of music isn’t something that I know too much about, or often listen to, but when the new single by January Thompson ‘Too Soon’ arrived in my mailbox I was quite simply stunned.  I had a good click around YouTube and SoundCloud and found myself listening to something very beautiful and enthralling.  Born in LA but now living in London, I had to catch a moment with January to find out more about her music.

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Could you tell me a little bit about yourself, and how you came to be a singer/songwriter.

Hello! Would be my pleasure. I was born in Los Angeles to a musical household, my mother is a classical pianist, so playing the piano and singing came quite naturally to me. I always knew or had a feeling that was what I was born to do though I didn’t start writing songs until I was 20. I suppose I had to gain some life experience to really feel I had something to say.

You have the most beautiful voice and there are clear classical influences in your songs. How were you influenced by this genre?

Thank you again, that would be my mother. I grew up listening to her play Chopin and Bach, my favorites, for hours. I studied classical singing as well, though I was drawn to my own sound and style of singing. Classical is a bit regimented. I didn’t find there was much room for experimentation, but it is still very much my foundation in my writing and singing.

How would you describe your music, and where do you take your inspiration from for writing your songs?

I would describe my sound as subtle and atmospheric whilst being lyrically and song driven. I’d love for the listener to be enveloped in the sound and the stories that go with it. My inspiration for my songs always comes from relating to others, primarily in love.

Your new single ‘Too Soon’ is just wonderful.  Could you tell me about your writing process. Being a solo artist, do you have anyone to bounce ideas from, or do you just know when a song feels right?

Thank you again, I’m happy you like it. My writing process is always a bit different. Generally starts with a few piano chords and what I’m feeling at the moment. ‘Too Soon’ was a tricky one. I had the idea which was one of showing up ‘Too Soon’ and waiting but the rest of the lyrics were a bit tricky to fit with a melody. So yes, in this case I did reach out to the producers and their fellow composers. It is hard sometimes when it’s just you in a room alone and you get stuck on a song.  They aren’t all just flashes of inspiration.

What instruments do you play, and are you the one playing them in your songs?

I play the piano and on the album yes it is myself, also my mother Deanna Thompson, and the keyboards were both producers as well, Steffen Aaskoven and Thor Finland.

Your album ‘Whelmed’ has been out for a few weeks now. How are you finding the response to the release?

So far I’ve had some lovely support from local radio and fans. I’m hoping the momentum continues through radio and live shows. Fingers crossed!

When you first heard the complete album, how did that make you feel?

It’s an incredible feeling hearing something that you’ve poured your heart and soul into reach completion. It always comes out a bit different then you plan but this album kept growing into something quite beautiful. I am so grateful for all the musicians and the producers that were a part of this with me.

Having never been out to LA, I’m interested to find out how the music scene is out there for up and coming artists, and where else you enjoy performing?

I was never really fond of the music scene in LA, that’s what drove me to work in the UK. I found I could really explore my sound and I could think outside the box with producers abroad.  My experience is that the scene in LA is very pop driven. That being said most things are now and I have friends that are in bands and DJs that love it and have done well.

What do you get up to when your not writing or performing.  Are there any particular hobbies you enjoy?

I try to stay pretty connected to nature and am passionate about wildlife conservation and the extinction crisis. I try to visit the elephants orphaned by ivory poaching at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya every year and this year I will also be going to Borneo to spend time with the Orangutans orphaned due to the Palm Oil industry and deforestation.

Do you have a goal, and where do you hope your music will take you?

I’ve had the same goal since I was little, to be a part of and create beautiful music. I hope it takes me into ever widening circles of that dream.

Connect with January via her Website, Facebook and Twitter.