Fans will no doubt recognize the multi-awarding winning, soulful and humanitarian Native American chanteuse Jana Mashonee. After communicating back and forth over several weeks, it was an honor to complete this interview with her on May 28, 2012.
I have been trying to promote your work at the bar. For patrons who are still getting to know you, what are some things you’d like to share about you?
I’d like people to know that my passion is music and what I want to share with others in a positive way. I love the universality of music and how it brings people of all walks of life together to experience it in a powerful way. I believe music is this powerful, and this art form can change people’s lives forever. I thank the Creator that I was blessed to be a part of music in some way and that I have the opportunity to share my music with others.
I understand you are doing this interview while traveling. Where are you and what are your plans?
I am in NY now recording new music for a project I’m working on for teen girls. I’m also working on a new music of my own, with a single coming out in early summer following my “Stay With Me Baby” single. I’m really excited about it.
What’s it like to go on tour? What are favorite places to visit, and where would you like to go that you haven’t been?
I love to travel and perform. I love the southwest and west coast –being from the east coast, it’s a nice change of scenery and the weather is so much better! Of course fans from all over the country have been wonderful to me so I will go wherever to perform for them! I haven’t been to the UK and I would love to go there, especially London. Hopefully soon.:)
Let’s talk shop. How did you get started with music, and how many instruments do you play? Your voice is amazing; do you have a vocal coach?
Thank you! I currently don’t have a vocal coach, but I’ve taken a few lessons in the past. I think it is important for any musician to refine their craft and continue to practice because you can always get better – no matter how talented you are or famous. I play the piano and I know a little bit on Native flute.
I started singing in my church, which led me to love gospel music, especially The Winans Family. I gained confidence there, did some karaoke, played in a local band in NC, and then got “discovered” by a producer from Motown who eventually got me signed to my first record deal.
Who are your influences? And what’s your creative process?
I love Cece Winans, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand, Patti Labelle, Annie Lennox, Steve Wonder. I love “singer-singers.”
My creative process is fairly non-linear and random! It really depends on the project I’m working on, my deadlines, my mood – the list goes on… ha as to how I get the creative juices going. I’ve had songs originate from my dreams which have prompted me to get up in the middle of the night to write them down. I can just be walking in the park and have a melody come to me. Many of my personal experiences in life have influenced lyrics to songs I’ve written. If I’m under a deadline or know specifically what I want to create, then I force myself to sit down at a piano and just noodle on it till I come up with something. Sometimes it’s just that simple. I love that there is no right or wrong way, just my way, which is different every day.
Tell us more about the projects you’re working on.
I currently have a new single out on itunes called "Stay With Me Baby" that is a remake of an old soul classic song by Terry Reid. Also I have a new single to come out late summer/early fall that will be the first of its kind - hint: it's a duet, but something that's never been done before and with an exciting artist!
I'm also working on a project geared towards the teen/young adult market that encompasses an online experience like no other - I'm working on the music for it and it's going to be awesome. It will be a multimedia project and will be debuting next year.
What should fans look out for over the next year or so?
I will be putting out singles for the rest of this year (an album is not in the works yet). I feel that my fans want instant gratification and they don't want to wait around another year before they hear new music from me. I hope this new way of giving them music works - maybe an extended EP might be in the future instead. My first film I starred in , Raptor Ranch (2012) will be out later this year and I'm also possibly starring in another film later this year to be filmed in Austin, Texas. I will continue to do upcoming dates (but no scheduled tour yet). I will be performing again later this year at Carnegie Hall which I'm excited about too! (That's another project to be revealed later!).
Congrats on your movie! Jana, words cannot express how glad I am you stopped by the Bar. Thanks so much!