Steadily rising within the music scene, JÁNA, a budding musician from Stockholm and making waves by bringing effortless vocals and sleek production styles into her music. Racking up over 60K monthly listeners on Spotify, she draws upon inspiration from artists such as SZA, Steve Lacy, BADBADNOTGOOD and Frank Ocean as well as infusing all her music with relatable anecdotes that might just bring a moment of nostalgia back to you.
When she was 16 years old, JÁNA made the conscious decision to make music seriously after realising she might have to commute four hours into Stockholm to make music, as there weren’t any music schools in her hometown on Uppsala. From having musical influences from her parents trickling down into her own likes, her mother played a lot of Jazz such as Billie Holiday or Louis Armstrong. Her father however touched into classical such as Bach or Liszt, introducing a range of sounds and textures within music for JÁNA. Alongside pop being listened to at home such as Michael Jackson or rock like Queen or Supertramp, JÁNA has always been surrounded by a colourful sounding range of beats which influences her music today. With her brother also being a keen piano player, he takes heavy involvement with her music. “He is literally the only one I trust to give feedback on my songs, except for the ones I make music with” she says. But as she started school in Stockholm, she was introduced to alternative R&B and neo-soul, in which she completely fell in love with.
When talking about pivotal moments within her career, the collaboration with Swedish band Little Dragon instantly comes to mind. Her debut single ‘Wild Roses’ shone through the European music scene, as well as into a neo-soul perspective and JÁNA initially supported Little Dragon for their tour in Sweden. “We actually did pretty much the whole EP “Flowerworks” together… I did not have any music out at the time, after the show we started talking and then they invited me to come to Gothenburg to write together. They are the best and have been super supportive. I really look up to them.” Stating her admiration to the influential band she’s also worked with Nigerian duo VanJess on recent track ‘Green’ another lush and fruitful track, submerged in nature and the outdoors. Described as a surreal moment, JÁNA sent VanJess a message on social media and they responded the next day. Released during the pandemic, it was a moment for both JÁNA and VanJess to work remotely however, she believes that it was a blessing that they were able to have the freedom to put their own twist onto her track. Soon enough she hopes to be in the same studio as the duo, whenever that time may come.
In terms of collaborations, JÁNA has a long list of dream artists that she would love to work with, including Little Simz, Noname or Tyler, The Creator. Not only as an artistic venture, but also to see their musical strategies and how they work. As she strives for her listeners have a few minutes of escapism through her music, music like these other artists do, she tries to make each of her songs live in its own space. The process is telling of her escapism- style nature to make pockets of nostalgic moments and speaking on relatable anecdotes such as going through breakups, something we know all too well. When creating her EP Works, she tells the story of love and relationships through her perspective, and about doing the hard work yourself. “I started writing the first song “Joyride” two years ago, so that song sort of feels like the heart of the EP to me.” She tells tales of morphing into somebody else, shedding skin or breaking out of a cocoon into being the person she is today.
It’s not uncanny that her music tends to focus around nature. As she states the cycles of relationships through her body of work, she feels like emotions can be connected to nature like how volcanic outbursts symbolise anger or how flowers bloom and we do as well. “My first EP was a reference to 'Flowerworks' being the cycle of a relationship, the flowers portraying femininity. This EP 'Works' is taking place in a car. It starts in a withered garden (what is left of Flowerworks) which you drive away from, to deal with the loss inside a moving shell - the car/you. Then there is a full circle moment when you step out of the car into nature, free again.”
As we start to get ready to get outside again and return to life as normal, JÁNA has seen the silverlinings of working through the pandemic. From being dismissed from three jobs she had during the pandemic; she tries to look at things through a positive perspective. “Of course, I wonder what would have happened if I could have played all the shows I had planned but at the same time I think the collaboration with VanJess was a great outcome of the circumstances. Maybe they would not have had the time to check their phone if they were out on tour for example.”
With JÁNA’s EP Works out now, it features collaborations from Little Dragon as well as bassist Ben Reed, known for his work on Frank Oceans Blonde and Endless albums. This introspective piece is about breaking up but meeting new people and learning things about yourself. She’s written the music for you but most of the time, some of her questions are directed towards herself.
"On this new EP I've got more verbal with my anger and frustrations. It’s kind of scary but also liberating to me, because I rarely express these things in real life. I think you should write things that scare you or at least something to awaken that frustration."
Works is available to stream right now!