By Mandy Craig.
Stephanie Jansen, an upcoming talented Aussie country artist is set to start working on her second EP, following her ongoing successful debut EP ‘Risky’.
Originally from the Southern Highlands, Stephanie has come such a long way, with her first EP ‘Risky’ making an impact not only here in Australia, but also as far as the UK and America.
With hit singles such as ‘Risky,’ that talks about taking chances, and the heartwarming truthful story within ‘Shoes,’ Stephanie is definitely a Country artist worth listening to!
Talking to Stephanie, she reveals details about her upcoming EP, what to expect of her new music, and her tour in Nashville last year!
You recently finished in the top 5 in the Independent Country Music Association – Fan’s choice Category, and your EP ‘Risky’ entered the Top Ten UK Country Charts at no.9 in June. What are your thoughts on this, how did you feel when you found out about these awesome achievements?
To be honest, the success I’ve been lucky enough to have overseas lately has taken me completely by surprise. I feel very flattered and almost amused by it. One of my songs ‘Shoes’ actually reached #1 in the Belgium Country Charts a few weeks back. Crazy! I just see these things as blessings…little pats on the back that let me know I’m on the right track.
Your song ‘Risky’ is also on ABC’s music album compilation ‘Women in Song’, tell us about it.
That was an amazing feeling. To be included among female artists of that calibre…artists like Kasey Chambers, who I grew up listening to on the radio…that was cool. It was a moment of feeling genuinely humbled by how far things have come in just a year.
You’ve been working on new music recently. When can your fans expect your next EP to be released?
If all goes to plan, we go into the studio in about 6 weeks, and I have no idea what will happen between now and then. But that’s the magic of recording! The aim is to definitely have a single out before Christmas though, and man I’m excited about some of the songs we’re sitting on. I can’t wait to bring them to life in the studio.
What will your next record be about, what will it reflect on?
My only mission with this next release has been to write or find a group of songs that I am genuinely in love with, and that I can’t wait to sing night after night. I’ve been determined to push myself. I’ve been writing everything from country/blues to soul to spaghetti western songs. Really exploring my boundaries and what I like and don’t like.
I think I’ve grown a hell of a lot since my first EP, and that these songs will probably have richness to them, a maturity that maybe wasn’t there before. In the past 18 months I’ve learnt to let go of a lot of stuff…the need or want to please everyone, the obsession with perfection, the wanting to be right all the time… In a way I guess I’ve started to become a bit more settled in my own skin, and I’d like to think that’s coming through in the new songs. They’re not trying to be polished or perfect, they’re just real. Real experiences that I’ve lived through and that hopefully others will connect to.
With your well-received EP ‘Risky’ and your next EP on the way, what have been your best moments as a solo country artist?
I’ve had some wonderful experiences in the past year or so. I did a crazy radio tour last year called ‘The Tour You Made’ where my supporters set me a different challenge to complete in each town I passed through. I had an absolute blast doing that. I had to play Jingle Bells on the ukulele on national radio (I’d never picked up a uke before) …all sorts of funny stuff. I started up my own radio show this year, that’s been a highlight…even experiencing people singing my songs back to me for the first time. There’s nothing quite like that feeling. I feel lucky to do what I do.
You also toured in Nashville last year, what was that like?
Touring and writing in Nashville is probably the best thing I’ve ever done for myself musically, it was inspiring beyond words. That city is overflowing with people so talented they make you sick! Artists of all genres too, not just country. Blues, R’n’B, soul, bluegrass, rock, pop… In every single honky tonk there’s someone just carving it up and, as a performer, you learn something from every one of them. I think I came back from that tour a better songwriter, singer and artist.
What do you love most about performing? What first inspired you to be the talented musician you are today?
Performing is something I genuinely enjoy. I can’t wipe the smile off my face. I love expressing myself; I love the connection that happens with an audience on a good night and I love being the person that helps people let off a bit of steam after a tough week at work.
I’ve never seen music or what I do as being a ‘job’ or something that’s separate from my life. It is the soundtrack to my personal journey, in all its flawed glory. That’s what makes it so special. As far as inspiration goes, I was always a pretty creative kid, and I was lucky to have parents who encouraged that from a young age. Mum noticed me playing along to the radio at home on her little Casio keyboard (gotta love the 80s) and booked me into piano lessons soon after. I was only 4…and I had the bug even then. And now I’m still that geeky kid playing along with the radio!
Who are your musical inspirations, which musicians/bands inspire you?
My musical tastes are pretty eclectic, and I’m always on the search for my latest muse. Lately I’ve been listening to EVERYTHING from Christian music to Gregorian Chants! Anything that is honest and rings true tends to draw me in. My all time favourite artists are people like Bonnie Raitt, John Hiatt, Steve Earle… and the stuff I was raised on of course- Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young…I could go on.
Do you plan to tour nationally and internationally with the release of your next EP?
I would love to tour this next release, especially nationally, because that isn’t something I’ve gotten to do a whole lot of so far. I’d love to get out to some places I haven’t been before…WA, North QLD, and The Northern Territory…I bet I’d get some songs out of those trips. Next year I’m also bursting to get to the UK and Europe and meet some of the amazing people who’ve supported me this year. So, a lot of travel on the cards!
What else can your fans expect from you next?
I think they might notice a few subtle changes. My priorities have shifted quite a bit, generally speaking. Right now the focus is purely on good music. Trying to make the best, most honest music I can make. The process is more organic this time around. I’m working from the inside out, following my instincts and feeling my way. I’m in no hurry either. I’m letting things unfold in their own time. But I definitely have a few surprises in store. Let’s just say I’ll be branching into different kinds of media this year…
What do you like most about performing live?
One of the coolest things about playing live is that even though there are fake elements about it…. the lights and the stage and the rehearsals…. to me it’s actually one of the most real and honest places on earth. It’s a place where we can all leave our jobs and our troubles behind and just be free for a couple of hours, and share this experience together. It’s quite a beautiful thing when you think about it.
Who are some of the people you have enjoyed performing with?
I love collaborating with other artists. It’s always an interesting experiment to see how two different styles will mesh, and sometimes it’s incredible. Fortunately there’s a great sense of community in Australian country music, so we often get a chance to team up with one another, but I’m always on the lookout for an opportunity to collaborate.
I got to play with a fantastic Sydney-based blues artist called Jack Derwin the other night, and absolutely loved it. I think the blues crowd all knew I was a country chick trying to pull out my best blues licks (both of them!) but it was so much fun to be a part of.
What are some upcoming gigs for your fans to know about?
I’m dong a tour with Kaylen’s Rain and The Viper Creek Band this year called ‘The Dirt Roads and Wildflowers’ Tour this year, which is going to be a blast. We’re touring a few venues up and down the east coast. The dates are on my website: www.stephaniejansen.com.au Hope to see people there.
Wanna know more about Stephanie Jansen? Go Check her out on the following links!
Also watch her music video for her single ‘Shoes’.
Copyright © Music Mayhem with Mandy 2013