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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Exclusive Q&A with Janice Robinson Part 1

I was so excited about finally doing this Q&A with one of my all-time favorite divas, Ms Janice Robinson. I was to call her at our arranged time and I was recording our conversation. My notes and questions were written down and at the ready. I rearranged my things on the table in the "Green Room," where I have my computer and conduct all interviews, cleaning the table and finally setting down my new tablecloth. Perfect! You'd think she was actually coming over!

Prior to our interview, she sent me a link so I could hear her new, inspirational collection of recorded songs. Janis has a magnificent voice and writes such exquisite music and lyrics, it was heaven. But, sorry, I promised not to pass it on.

"You are the only person that is a journalist that I have shared my new music with...," Janice messaged me. I was charmed, therefore, before we even got to speak. Then charmed even further once we did speak!  And, to up the ante, I'm a Jersey boy and she's a Jersey girl!

What followed was an amazing, animated and revealing interview I decided is so rich, it is best digested in parts. (Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.)

Dj Buddy Beaverhausen: I've got the recorder on. Are you still there?
Janice Robinson: I'm heeere!

DBB: [laughs] Thanks so much for doing this Q&A with me. This is so exciting! You recently went out to L.A. and recorded an album. Can you give us any information about that?
JR: Well, I went to write songs with a bunch of different people. I wouldn't call it an album. I went to L.A. to have a creative outburst. Most of my my favorite producers are there and I was able to work with a lot of great people. Most of the time, I get tracks sent to me and I write to them and, while I was living in N.J., I was able to record right in the basement of my house.

DBB: You recently moved to south Florida....
JR: Yes!
DBB: What's that like?
JR: It's... peaceful..., it's really slow and it's really beautiful weather. But I kinda feel like I really needed it. I needed this slow pace... to prepare me for the next phase of my journey as an artist, as a woman and as a mom!
DBB: Since you mentioned being a mom, how do you juggle your career, writing music, recording and touring? Seems like a lot of multi-tasking!
JR: I have no idea. I have no idea! Know how I handle it?
DBB: How?
JR: My kids are super-happy at home and, a lot of times, I write when they go to sleep or are in school and, then, when I have to travel, I have the most amazing support system of babysitters, friends, family. I usually have a five-finger rule: Mommie leaves Thumbday but I'm always back by a Pinkyday!
DBB: [Laughs.] That's so cute.
JR: Sometimes I have to leave on a two-hand day, you know? But they always know I'm going to come back by the end of that Pinkyday. Kind of the system I raised them both on so they can count the days. The greatest feeling is when I come home from being away. They're a joy....
DBB: A livin' joy!
JR: Yes, a living joy! They're excitement; they're beyond amazing.

DBB: Let's talk about "Dreamer" if you don't mind. It was such a huge hit when it came out and you recorded it with Livin' Joy. In fact, it was their biggest hit. Although you previously did "Sweetest Day of May" and "Children" with them, what did it feel like to suddenly find yourself with a huge international club hit that crossed over to radio as well?
JR: You know what? It was very surreal. And it's a moment that ~ when it was happening ~ everything was like Flashcards! You know, like boom, boom, boom! It was like: Push! But why I'm so glad I left working with the producers of Livin' Joy is I believe in freedom and I felt that situation wasn't enough for all I was aspiring to be. It wasn't satisfying creatively. There's so much more to me; God gave me such a huge gift! When I think about all the music I've written for other artists, sometimes I scratch my head [because] my own career has seemed like a flash. Before you know it, here I am, twenty years later and 34 singles released, not just by me but also by other people, and I'm really amazed by it. I may not have a superwriter name like Diane Warren but I've carved out my own little niche; my own little amazing body of work. And it's something I can be proud of. Something that's a strong representation of me spiritually because it's not just fluff! It's not a bunch of fluff lyrics like "Move your body, shake your body...." Know what I'm saying?
DBB: [Laughs] Oh, yeah, absolutely!
JR: It's substance, it's quality, it's melodic. It's fun because when people say, "You're a legend, I giggle to myself. When I go back and look at my body of work and songs like "Let the Joy Rise"(which was recorded by Abigail)....
DBB: Oh, man, I love that song. It was such a club smash at the time.
JR: That captured a moment in my life! I wrote that song as a cathartic way to deal with my feelings. I was leaving Livin' Joy but going to let my joy rise. At the time [I was with Livin' Joy], I couldn't use my own name because I was under contract with Joe T. Vanelli. I wish they did use my name. But it's ok.

DBB: Which leads me to the next question. You had a very successful revival in 2005, re-recorded by you and with several remixers, that made "Dreamer" a dance floor hit all over again. Why did you feel the need to re-do and release that number? (And I'm happy to say I own a copy of that cd maxi-single.)
JR: Yes. I re-released it and it had some great remixes, then re-released again (I think in 2009). It was an Avicii remix. Before Avicii was Avicii, honey, I had an Avicii remix!
DBB: The song's a classic.
JR: And it feels good to know it's a classic. It's my own little special feeling to have a classic under my belt!

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