UT is pleased to present an interview with talented, eclectic Canadian musician Jayne Ava! Find out more about Jayne on her website, Facebook page, and Twitter as well as from the subsequent interview.
Please describe your trajectory to becoming a musician.
From a very young age I was surrounded by music. My parents always made sure I was involved in music in some way. I began doing theatre in my town and went to a performing arts school from 6-12 grade. Following high school, I was accepted into the prestigious theatre program at Sheridan Collage in Ontario and it was there I began writing my own music. I knew that this was what I wanted to continue doing and made the move to Los Angeles to pursue contemporary singing and songwriting.
How do you distinguish wanting to be famous from wanting to make music?
Being famous is just a possible outcome of being an artist. Making music is something I couldn’t live without. I can’t picture my life without making music and sharing it with people who connect with what I am saying. The goal is not fame to me, the goal is happiness and that is simply being able to do what I do for as long as possible and continuing to have a happy, full soul.
How has being from Alberta, Canada influenced the music that you create?
Where I grew up there is just an immense amount of support for the arts. We were always encouraged to pursue whatever huge dreams we had. I had a very open, positive, supportive upbringing. So that support has influenced everything from my musical style to my lyrics because I was always fully able to try new things and really go all in with what I wanted to create. Also, Canadian artist Alanis Morrisette changed the way I saw music and was such a strong female influence on me and really made me see the power and change music can create.
In what ways is this area of the world similar to Los Angeles?
They are very different! Haha, from everything from weather to outlook on the world, but like LA there is a huge arts community and so many wonderful ridiculously talented people you can surround yourself with to collaborate and grow with.
Your style has been described as alternative or electronic pop. What do you think of those depictions?
That is definitely the easiest way to classify my music though there are many other elements. There is some theatre in there, some rock, a little bit of everything!
When you want to relax, what is on your playlist? What about when you want to dance?
I love listening to bands I grew up listening to and usually keep it pretty moody. I have had Kings of Leons’s album Aha Shake Heartbreak on repeat for years. I go through phases like every other day of what I’m listening to. Right now if I feel like dancin I’m super into Betty Who and Haim. Queen. Always Queen!
You have identified Gwen Stefani, Pink, The Scissor Sisters, The Spice Girls, Alanis Morissette, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Gossip as musical inspirations. What about these artists have been impactful for you?
All of these artists have just had such important, impactful, and amazing careers. All these artists changed the face of music and did things no one else was doing. They are all just so unique and brilliant and stayed true to themselves and stood up for what they felt strongly about and that is just all you can hope to do as an artist. Stay true to yourself.
How do you want to inspire others? How have you already?
I just try to constantly stay positive and in this industry and I find especially in LA where it is so hard to get a foot in the door, you need to always see the light. I also want to handle everything with kindness and humility. Loyalty is the most important thing you can have and unfortunately when people have things like fame and money on their mind they can start walking on people to get to the top or treating others in a harmful way. If my goals take me a little bit longer to achieve because I want to handle my career with kindness and stay true to individuals who truly have my back I am completely alright with that!
Which other art forms are inspiring for you?
I am inspired by tons of different things something will catch my eye and give me a million ideas. I find fashion a brilliant art form and am inspired by fashion pieces daily.
What was it like working with Prince Saheb on your EP, March.
Working with Prince was phenomenal. He is a genius and he is just very open and accepting. Going into sessions with him it didn’t feel stressful or too heavy or that we were using each other to further our own careers it felt like a friendship and we were creating something beautiful. He is young and talented and just such an inspiration.
How did you come up with the title for the EP?
Well, I literally wrote the whole thing about a breakup I had that happened in March and as I finished writing the EP I found through it cathartically I found my way out of sadness and could march through anything head held high again. So it is a pretty literal title.
Listening to the title track reminds me of the season spring. What did you have in mind with this song?
It was when I was free again. I lived through the heart-break (as everyone does) and just was happy again. I could finally look back and reflect in a positive way! It reminds me of spring as well just sunshine all around and the beginning of something new. Everything is growing again and starting over!
With the refrain, “I’m ready to march right now,” I also think of not just literal movement, but also social justice movements. What are your reactions to the dialogues about race within the United States over the past several months?
Being from a truly beautiful open and supportive city in Canada I was never surrounded by any type of hate. So to hear all of this going on is shocking to me. I will fight fiercely for equal rights amongst everyone because everyone should be lucky enough to have had the acceptance I did.
How was it to make the song, “Something There?” I particularly hear the influence of Alanis in that track.
It was so fun making something there. I worked with a brilliant production team called Official Prodigal and as soon as we met I knew they understood me. The song just happened so naturally because we are all such a perfect fit. Something there is the first song in the concept EP we are creating. The whole EP will connect and chronicle the beginning to the end of a specific relationship. Kind of like Alanis it will be a bit more raw and emotional than my first EP. It’ll leave nothing unsaid and I’m just so excited for this creative process we are embarking on with this second EP
Is your music feminist? If so, in which respects?
As stated before I feel so strongly about equal rights for everyone. I don’t understand how everyone doesn’t agree with this statement by now. It feels very primitive to me that this isn’t just a worldly accepted concept. But I wouldn’t necessarily say it is “feminist”. I am however a strong female who truly believes in everyone being able to achieve and strive for and excel in whatever they want regardless of gender, race, sexuality or anything else!
How do your intersecting personal identities affect your art?
Oh I have so many different personalities and they directly affect everything about my music. I am a very different human when I am alone versus when I am out and about or even performing. Alone I am a lot more introspective and analytical, moodier and self-conscious, but that brings the truthful, real, and relatable side of me to my songs. On the other, I have a never-ending list of quirks and I am probably the weirdest person most people know so that brings the fun and out-there positive elements in!
What is next for you creatively?
My whole focus right now is doing this EP. I have never felt stronger about anything in my life than this project. I will be recording a song with the BRILLIANT Alex Hinsky who is a close friend of mine with the voice of an angel, so I can’t wait for that and very soon the music video for “Something There” (Directed by another one of my closest pals, Jo Roy) will be released once we finish that up. So just a lot of exciting wonderful things and I cannot even put into words how grateful and humbled I am to be able to do these things!
What insights do you have for aspiring musicians?
I know I have said it a lot, but always be kind and always be loyal. You are always enough and don’t let people make you think you are not. The downfall of most people is how other people make them feel. Although I as well sometimes get down over what individuals try to do to bring me down, who doesn’t?!, Especially in this industry you just need to be above it. You are on this planet for you. So be your best friend and only strive for happiness. What’s better than that?! xx