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Jana Josephina - Interview

  by John Clarkson

published: 15 / 1 / 2014

Jana Josephina - Interview


John Clarkson talks to Frankfurt-based electro-pop artist and actress Jana Josephina, about her forthcoming debut album 'Contradictions', upon which she sings for the first time in English rather than in German

Jana Josephina is a Frankfurt-based singer, songwriter and electro-pop artist. Jana, who is a television, film and theatre actress in her native Germany, released her first album ‘Karussel der Liebe’ (‘Carousel of Love’), which she sung in her native German, in 2009. She sings ‘Contradictions’, her second album, which is due out later this year, in English. It was co-written by Jana with Joe Cross, a Manchester-based producer who has worked with Hurts, with Jana providing lyrics, melodies and vocals and Cross the music and production. On ‘I Know’, the first single from it, Jana’s ethereal, heartfelt vocals glide above Cross’s strident, glistening electro beats. Other tracks on ‘Contradictions’ such as ‘Avalanche’, ‘’The Greatest’, ‘Dreamdancer’ and the balladic ‘Say What You Want’ similarly mix Cross’s soaring textures with Jana’s emotive vocals. Pennyblackmusic spoke to Jana Josephina about ‘Contradictions’. PB: You’re a well-known actress in your native Germany and appear regularly in the theatre, films and on television. You act under your full name of Jana Leipzeiger, yet for your musical career you have decided to call yourself Jana Josephina. Why have you decided to do that? Do you see Jana Leipzeiger and Jana Josephina at one level as different personalities from each other? JJ: My name is Jana Josephina Leipziger and it's always me whatever I do. I just thought that my parents gave me a nice name. It has a good sound, a melody "Jana Josephina", so I use it as a singer. It’s slightly easier to remember too! As an actress people write and say my whole name, but sometimes they miss the middle name out. It's just too long, I guess. PB: Most of your songs tell of romances coming to an end and their aftermaths. Yet your music in contrast is stridently upbeat. Was that the main reason why you decided to call the album ‘Contradictions’? JJ: If there is an essential message to ‘Contradictions’, it is in light of however bad things can get there is always hope for the future. Yes! I call it a lighter dark. Every song is about a contradiction. The contradiction that makes a person unique, the contradictions that makes life exciting, contradictions between lovers… PB: You have drawn comparisons to both Icona Pop and Kate Bush, and there are similarities in your vocals and music to both of these artists. While you have acknowledged both those comparisons, you have said that your most recent influences have been Ellie Goulding and Jane Birkin. They are like Icona Pop and Kate Bush on the surface pretty far removed from each other. In what ways have Ellie Goulding and Jane Birkin been an influence on you? JJ: With Ellie Goulding, it is more her sound which is inspiring to me, and Jane Birkin as a women; a personality. PB: As well as being an actress, you are also a single mother with a nine-year-old daughter and run your own studio. You were also instrumental in setting up a café in Frankfurt for parents and their children. Has it been difficult finding time to make your own music? JJ: Time management is complicated for every working mother. As a singer and a songwriter it is sometimes even more difficult because you can't push a button to be creative, even if you organised some time. I am better at nights, and that's painful in the morning when I am making breakfast for my daughter before she goes to school. PB: The album was co-written between yourself and Joe Cross, your producer. He is based in Manchester. The world is a much smaller place than it was because of the internet, but how easy was it making the album. Did you have to travel back and forth a lot between Frankfurt and Manchester? JJ: Yes, I had to travel back and forth., although we recorded the whole album in Manchester. This worked really well because I had nothing in my mind apart of writing these songs. I loved it, getting the chance to just being an artist for that space of time. PB: I Know’ captures the crushing disillusion of finding out that someone you have a relationship with is involved with someone else. Are all yours songs autobiographical? Was that song inspired by a real incident? JJ: Well, ‘I Know’ was inspired by a real incident, but my story is slightly different then the story most of the people will hear in the song. Sadly my boyfriend was suffering the loss of his mother at the time. PB: Your first album ‘Karussel der Liebe’ was sung in your native German, yet for this album you made the decision to write and sing it in English. You have said that you have found it easier writing in English than German. Was it difficult at first and why do you think it has become easier now? JJ: Not writing in my mother tongue gave me a nice distance, and made me focus and honest, although I still need a dictionary to find all the words I would like to use. Also, my producer Joe Cross always checked the lyrics and sometimes he just sai,: “That's not English." For some songs we had a friend in the studio a writer and professor for literature native English and he helped put my ideas into the right phrases. PB: You’re currently putting together a band and will be touring shortly. What can we expect from those live shows? How much experience of singing live do you previously have? Your videos for both ‘Daydreaming’ and ‘I Know’ are really offbeat, and in the case of ‘I Know’ flamboyant. Can we expect a similar unorthodoxy and flamboyance in your live shows? JJ: The rehearsals with the band are amazing! I love that album live. It is very intense and emotional and of course I use my experiences as an actress for the performances. PB: ‘I Know’ is due out on January 27th. When will the album be released? JJ: Hopefully at the end of Spring! PB: Thank you.

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Jana Josephina - Interview

Jana Josephina - Interview

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