Welcome to Almost Famous, a weekly segment where we ask up-and-coming queer musicians some not so hard-hitting questions about music and life and maybe even convince them to share photos of their pets. Get to know intimate details about your new favorite artist or band before they hit the Big Time and become too famous for us to interview for real.
Header by Rory Midhani
New York City, NY
Jana Fisher writes sweet lyrical pop that’ll likely resonate with people who are finding their feet. The child of a minister, Jana’s music career began at churches and corn festivals in rural Ohio. Following a family-forced move to Florida and the release of her debut album, A History of Sleepwalking, she followed her heart to New York City and completed her “evolution from naive choir girl to self-aware and articulate artist”. She describes herself as “a good girl everywhere but at the piano”, which is kinda hot.
Late last year Jana released an EP titled Ideals & Deals, which showcases some memorable pop hooks and an angelic voice. It’s her first record since coming out as a queer artist, and you can download it for free. Up next she’ll be releasing the music video for her second single, “If I Ever Break Your Heart“.
How would you describe your music?
Lyrical piano pop. My latest release, Ideals & Deals has a spunky, folky feel to it. I wanted everything to feel live and a little dirty.
What instrument/s do you play?
I’ve been playing piano since I was six. I’ve dabbled in other things— electronics, bass, guitar— but piano is my home.
Which song would you most like everyone to hear?
My song “30k,” which is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek tale about the New York dream and being broke.
What inspires you to write?
Writing helps me process emotions that are complicated or a little too raw to talk about. For the longest time I was completely unable to write songs that weren’t angry or melancholy. I’m trying to work on that. I’m actually a reasonably happy person!
What was the last song you wrote about?
I wrote a song called “Another Layer of Sorry” about the boyfriend I had when I came out… Poor guy, he was really nice and I put him through a lot. Every time I look back on that I have to laugh at how oblivious I was.
What do you get up to when you’re not making music?
I’ve gotten really into cooking since I went vegan about a year ago. I love how putting limitations on the ingredients you can work with forces you to be more creative. I’ve gotten into making all sorts of ethnic food I never would’ve touched before. It’s extra fun when my omnivore girlfriend begrudgingly admits to liking my rabbit food.
If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Fiona Apple’s Extraordinary Machine. I don’t even think that’s her best album but it’s the one I relate to the most. It carved out a little spot in my heart.
Have you ever had to work a terrible job to pursue your music career?
I had this horrible job as a guest list girl for a nightlife promoter. Every Friday and Saturday I had to put on heels and dresses I’d never wear otherwise and stand outside a club for four hours, even in the dead of winter. The worst part was these people would drive in from New Jersey or Connecticut all excited for a hot night on the town and I had to charge them an exorbitant amount to get into a club I knew was dead inside. It totally killed nightlife for me.
What was the last book you read?
I’m making my way through A Song of Ice and Fire now. After watching the first season of Game of Thrones I got anxious for the next season and started reading the books. I don’t know what I’m going to do when I finish A Dance with Dragons. Just tell me who Jon Snow’s mom is already!
Who is your idol?
I want the career Aimee Mann has had! Even after so many albums, she’s still making wonderful, carefully constructed music and seems like she’s managed to keep her sanity.
Do you have any pets?
Sadly no! I grew up always having cats, and I’d love to have one now, but I haven’t quite talked my girlfriend into keeping one in our tiny NYC apartment… yet.
If you’d like to hear more from Jana then head to her website and download Ideals & Deals. Also check out these places:
If you are, or know of, a queer artist or band that should be featured in Almost Famous, drop me the details via crystal [at] autostraddle [dot] com. Please write ‘Almost Famous’ in the subject line!