How would you describe your music to any person who may have never heard it before?
Jan: I write story songs about love, lost or found. The emotions of pain and joy we all go through. I write about the times we live in and recently about what makes me upset about the unrest, homelessness, and lack of respect for each other.
What are your musical influences? Jan: I was just a skinny kid from a small town outside of LA with Big Dreams. I knew no one in the Entertainment world, but I listened to my mom's records and saw every movie I could about singers. I watch Judy Garland in concerts on TV, Doris Day in her movies, and Shirley Bassey live in person. On my first tour, I shared the stage with none other than the great Louis Armstrong. He was such a kind man and wrote on his autographed picture for me, “Great Big Beautiful Voice,” which sits proudly on my grand piano. I learned a lot from just watching him every night. I met Sarah Vaughn in Reno and would go and listen to her after my gig at Harrah's and got to know her better in Puerto Rico. She taught me so much about phrasing and sliding into notes as she so creatively did. What are your musical inspirations? Jan: Beautiful melodies have always caught my ear before the lyrics. Even though my dear friends, Alan & Marilyn Bergman, are wonderful lyricists, the musicians they wrote with had these unbelievable melodies: Michel Legrand, Henry Mancini, Elmer Bernstein, Kenny Loggins, Dave Grusin, John Williams, Quincy Jones, Marvin Hamlisch, and my dear friends Johnny Mandal and Jimmy Webb. I sang a lot of their songs, but their music gave me a thrill to sing. I remember Jimmy Webb came backstage while I was playing at the Riviera in Vegas and pitched me his songs -before his hits "Macarthur," "Park or Up," and "Up & Away." I was blown away by his songs and they even made my eyes mist up! What was wonderful is we spent a lot of time together and twenty-five years later he produced a house music project with me which I wrote all the songs for. He not only believed in me as a singer but a songwriter which encouraged me so! If given the chance, what musician(s) would you like to collaborate with? Jan: Anything connected to John Legend, Ed Sheeran, Lionel Richie, or Lady Gaga! What’s the new EP you're working on about? Jan: We are working on an EP which will include my AC Hit, “The Way of a Woman,” another new song I wrote, “Stand Up,” about people standing up for what they believe in and doing something about it. “This One Love” is a beautiful love story about two people who love each other but can’t put the pieces together. What’s something you hope people take away from the new songs on the upcoming EP? Jan: Hopefully it will make people think about their relationships and be honest with each other. Which songs on the album were the most fun to write and which were the most challenging to write? Jan: I think “Stand Up” has a lot of energy and it has the strongest chorus I’ve ever written.
Do you have any favourite song or songs off the new EP? Jan: Probably my favourite is “This One Love.” One of my best melodies. I always remember my songwriting coach, Jack Segal, who wrote “When Sunny Gets Blue,” when I asked -early in my songwriting career- “How should I end this song?” He simply told me, “Sad!”
If you could perform a show this very second anywhere in the world, where would it be? Is there any particular venue(s) or city that comes to mind? Jan: Paris, France. I’ve never played there, and I know they love chanteuses who sing love songs, and I’ve got plenty of them! Thanks for the time today to talk about your music, Jan. Is there anything else you may want to add before you go? Jan: My motto for this amazing year I’ve had, to tell people is “It’s never too late, you’re never too old or young to reach your dreams!”
I walked away from a big career in my late 20s to be a mom to my miracle baby. Doctors told me I would never have children because of my stage 4 cancer at 23 and a year later, I delivered a beautiful baby girl! Twenty five years later I had a Number 1 Billboard Traditional Jazz Album, and this year rode the AC Chart wedged between Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift!