It’s one thing to have a talent, the ability to grab a melody and a voice that naturally charms, but this kind of against-the-odds success pointed to someone with a sense of belief & responsibility far beyond their years; someone whose career could boast its fair share of awards (Newcomer Of The Year,Artist of the year,Album of the year,The best song,Producer of the year,Best lyrics....), high-profile appearances (Special Guesting with Elton John in Prague) and carefully-crafted songs shot through with atmosphere & grace. In short, someone pretty special. JANA KIRSCHNER WAS born in the small town of Martin, about 300 km from Bratislava. It was here, aged just seven, that she took top place in a singing competition, setting her off down a creative path that – with the odd detour to take in a beauty pageant and contemporary dance – finally led to a record deal and a successful first single.
‘Don’t Cry’ was the track in question, a pure pop hit, but 17-year-old Jana wasn’t happy. Where was the substance? The soul? She was finding herself drawn in a different direction, and after joining forces with a like-minded manager, a guy used to working with ‘genuine’ artists, she was able to embark on a voyage of discovery – expanding her musical knowledge, playing with seasoned professionals and getting a feel for the performance side of things. “I began to sense that I was involved with something bigger,” reflects the singer, who would soon add guitar playing to her burgeoning list of skills, “That I was part of a new family…” With her ‘mission’ now officially underway, Jana was offered a contract by Universal, and the resulting album" Jana Kirschner" (issued in 1997). Two years later her album"In the foreign city"(issued in 1999) saw her winning support in both Slovakia and the Czech Republic, where ‘Modra’ (‘Blue’) became the breakthrough track at radio.
The follow-up collections (2002/2003) served to sustain her momentum at home, and there were festival dates in Germany & Poland to keep the international flame a-flicker, but still no plans to turn that flicker into a blaze. It was clear that more dramatic moves were required, plus real discipline from Jana in respect of the material… “I bought a computer so I could write a song every day, like a diary, and I came up with 30 to 40 numbers for the new album. I put some of them on a CD, which I called the ‘Pink CD’, then I gave this to my manager’s daughter as a Christmas present; I explained that the songs were just for her, but she couldn’t resist playing them to her father, who went mad when he heard them and so did Universal…” Mission still on track. Next stop: LONDON.
HAVING BUILT his reputation on records designed to ruffle the emotions, Ross Cullum had the perfect credentials to take on a project that had at last won its international spurs. What’s more, he and Jana hit it off straight away, spending hours, days & weeks locked in deep musical debate, batting names such as Bob Dylan & Bonnie Raitt back an’ forth across the net. Only after many such (extended) rallies did they mutually agree where the fourth Universal album should sit… There was never any question that Jana would sing in English (“I find it easier to be brave with my lyrics in a language that isn’t my own!”), or that the music should have a flavour of her culture and her past; the hard part was deciding which of the vast choice of songs would make most sense to record… then finding the plain & simple truth in those. Which sounds straightforward enough, but once in process can squeeze the emotions like a vice, as album opener ‘Another Day’ – the only song written in London – documents in full (‘don’t let me give up this fight until I find the truth’).
There’s no doubt, however, that the final results fully justify the effort… Wonderfully constructed by a host of great players, including Robbie MacIntosh (guitar), Chris Hughes (percussion) and multiinstrumentalist Cullum himself, ‘Shine’ is an album that speaks from within; it doesn’t shout or raise its voice without reason, but there’s a gentle strength to the music plus a take-it-or-leave-it honesty to the lyrics that are hard not to succumb to – even for those whose vital organs have been left out in the cold… Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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