Interview: Janet Blair

May 02 2017

Janet Blair brings a fresh new sound to the Christian music scene with her smooth, silvery voice, piano-pop sounds, and incomparable messages of hope and glory in the midst of sorrow. This exciting new artist has just released her first album 'Songs for the Waiting', and talks to LTTM about recording the album and making music.

Tell us a little bit about this new album of yours?

"Songs for the Waiting" was recorded last Summer at Gray Matters Studio and produced by Matthew Odmark, one of the members of Jars of Clay. It is my first album - "debut album" if you are feeling fancy - and was so much fun to make.  "Songs for the Waiting" encompasses a variety of styles and moods, but connecting it all is the theme that we rest in and wait on our King .   Whether we are in the midst of utter grief or joy or just doing the dishes, our hope is in the One who will bring all things to completion.   We wait on Him.

Which is your favourite track on the album and why?

They all have their personalities, but one of my favorites is "Creation's Song."  I am a sucker for a 6/8 beat and it features hammered dulcimer.  I love its theme, which is to quiet your heart and realize you are part of a much vaster plan of creation.  It is always good to refocus my mind on how small I am and how big God is.

If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why? 

Regina Spektor.  She has such a unique, playful approach to music, which I truly love.  She is fearless. And she also plays piano.

Do you prefer playing live or working in the studio?

Good question.  Do you prefer brownies or apple pie?  They are both good, but different.  Who you are working with is very important in either setting.  I loved working with Matthew Odmark and all the studio musicians.  I also love my band.  That being said, playing live is natural to me.  And I feel that something special happens live where I can really connect with people, which is really what music is about fundamentally.  

How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?

I am not honestly sure the best way to describe my style of music, because it doesn't fit easily into any category.  It is all piano based, so the closest category would be piano-pop, with people like Ben Folds and Regina Spektor.  But it is not quite that.  Best thing is to listen and see if you like it!  I am influenced by the classical tradition (Beethoven, Brahms, Stravinksky, Bach, Martinu) and I like artists who incorporate classical instruments into their work (Jonsi, alongside Regina and Ben), but I was just listening to some "Wonderwall" by Oasis and loving that too. So many great artists.

How would you define success in your career?

Success... When I think of success, I think of things like popularity and money.   I don't want to be looking for that sort of success, because at the end of my life, I am judged by one who cares very little about that.  I want to be a good musician, doing my best work for you all. I want to write and play music that is honest.

What is your favorite album of all time?

Jonsi "Go".  Also, these don't really count as albums but Brahms Symphony 4.

You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your mp3 player. What track is it?

Something really long, like a Mahler Symphony.

What does the next year hold for Janet Blair?

Next year?  I can barely make it to tomorrow.  What does tomorrow hold?  Dirty diapers, a short night, being a mom and wife, hopefully playing some piano.  I would love to do a lot more touring and after my album releases, I am planning to focus on that, but I need to get through today first.

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