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  • Janis Ian with Judy Collins & Leonard Cohen - photo by Peter Cunningham
Monthly Update

November 10, 2018

February 28, 1976 - accepting my first Grammy

February 28, 1976 - accepting my first Grammy

A Small Sale & More!

Wow, the year is almost gone! These past few months, I’ve felt busier than ever. Between living room concerts and Pearl lunches, great gigs like Cambridge and Utrecht (sold out in 48 hours, thank you!), hanging with friends at The Big Bang Theory, on to Canada, Florida, Northampton… I’m feeling completely frazzled…, worn out, ready to hop on a houseboat and make my way to places unknown. There’s just too much going on….

First, Pat and I are “down-sizing” in a serious way. To that end, I’m parting with most of my jewelry, including pieces I wore on the covers of albums and on tour. Higher-end items are being handled by Heritage Auctions. To start (because there’s a lot more coming over the next months, including jewelry I wore on tour and photo shoots, and the diamond/sapphire ring I wore to accept my first Grammy) we’re offering these:

- The diamond drop earrings I wore on the Stars album cover (back story is below, at the end).

- The necklace that went with them (pictured at the top of this page), worn when I accepted my first Grammy, and on the Janis Ian II album cover.

If you visit this link to the Heritage Auction website you'll see what's currently being sold. As items become available, you can either create a wantlist, or go back to the main site and search for my name under ‘All categories.’

songwriting workshop

Drop diamond earrings from Stars cover
- photo Lloyd Baggs

songwriting workshop

Diamond necklace from Janis Ian II album cover
- photo Lloyd Baggs

Second, we’re holding a small website sale for the Pearl Foundation, from Sunday, November 11th at 9:00AM (EST) to Tuesday, December 18th at midnight (EST). Yes, it’s a long sale, primarily because we’re offering steep discounts on personalized cards, and last time I got frantic last-minute emails from people wanting everything from Thanksgiving to New Year’s cards for relatives, friends, and animals. (I did have a good time writing to a pet rabbit!) We’re also offering the Strictly Solo CD, along with steep discounts on my Grammy-winning autobiography audio book, CD’s of Breaking Silence and Revenge. AND Living Room Concerts are discounted by a third! (Please check the tour schedule to see if there is availability for a Pearl Lunch or Living Room Concert in your area!)

* Please note, the only thing I can sign are the personalized cards. No other signage possible. Sorry!

Last, I’m being inducted into the East Orange Hall of Fame on Saturday, November 24th. I’m totally thrilled, because that’s where my life as an artist began. I learned to play guitar, started writing songs, wrote “Society’s Child”, and began performing. It’s a big deal to me, and my friend Trevor Bystrom helped create a special video for the occasion. You can see the video at YouTube or on my website. It’s funny how all I wanted when I was young was to “get out of Jersey”, but now, I’m forever grateful to be in there next to artists I’ve long admired, like Dionne Warwick and Queen Latifah.

Gracie Mae Haiku

06-22-66 Janis & Barbara Dane, Chicago rally - photo Ted Webster

Oh – I almost forgot! We’re also going to re-open the Pearl Foundation eBay site, with memorabilia, signed items (by me and by friends like George R. R. Martin and Anne McCaffrey), and a host of other things. So join the email list and RSS feed to stay informed.

Thank you all, as always, for your generous support of The Pearl Foundation, allowing us to donate more than a million dollars in scholarships for returning students! Signing off for now so I can get back to business packing…

Janis Ian

The back story about those diamonds:

My first recording, “Society’s Child”, came out when I was just fifteen. It told the story of a black boy dating a white girl, and it hit right in the middle of the civil rights movements – very controversial. A radio station was burned to the ground for playing it, news people were fired if they quoted from it, and I received death threats. When I tried to follow it up, I was called a one-hit wonder, and two years later, a ‘has-been’. I walked away from the music industry at the age of seventeen, and took four years to learn my craft and pull myself back together.

I began recording again after writing “Jesse” and “Stars”, the title of my first “grown-up” album. We recorded on wings and a prayer, with only one company out of Australia willing to fund it. Less than a dozen people thought I had any future as a singer/songwriter; one of them was photographer Peter Cunningham. He offered to shoot the album cover, but we had no money for makeup, let alone staging or wardrobe! We put up a bed sheet for the background, I borrowed makeup from a friend, and since the only tops I owned were old t-shirts and flannels, we shot me with shoulders bared.

My manager, Jean Powell, was appalled and insisted that at least, I should wear some nice jewelry. She pulled out a pair of diamond drop earrings and necklace her mother had left her years before. The necklace didn’t work (it was later used for the cover of another album), but the earrings really completed the photo.

Well, the rest is history. Roberta Flack had a top ten with “Jesse”, and “Stars” has been recorded by everyone from Nina Simone and Cher to Mel Torme and Glen Campbell. The album gave me much-needed credibility within the music business, CBS Records (now Sony) picked it up for world release, and I was able to get funding for the next record, Between the Lines. So there you have it!

Hot News
  • Join me for the "Better Times Project"

    My hope at first was to help my friends, but it's turned into a way of reminding people that you don't have to be a "professional" to make music. You just have to have a willing heart.

  • New Free Downloads

    A live-in-concert version of "At 17" is available for FREE DOWNLOAD at the Janis Ian Store. It's also available on YouTube. Feel free to share this information, and take advantage of all the other free downloads on my personal website!

  • In light of the present circumstance...

    In light of the present circumstance, I've decided to begin offering free downloads of things that would ordinarily cost. Check the free downloads page to see what's new.

[more hot news]

Tour Dates

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All tour dates updated on May 16, 2020

  • Sunday June 27 to Saturday July 3

    Swannanoa Gathering Fiddle Mando Banjo Week, Swannanoa, North Carolina, USA

    Swannanoa Gathering Fiddle Mando Banjo Week

    Swannanoa, North Carolina, USA

    Phone:

    Visit the venue's website

    For the first time, Janis will be giving her 5-day series "A Master Class In Artistry" during each of the Swannanoa Gathering weeks. The final week will also feature a second, more interactive class tentatively titled "War Stories". Time of classes is TBA; please check the  website for more information. The 5 day class covers everything from the origins of artists to physicalization, songwriting for profit and not so much, performance, the need to be brave, how to survive as an artist in the modern world, and why bother. Points are illustrated with songs and playing as she takes us on a journey that begins with the first caveman to tell a story and continues through the myth of the artist as "crazy", the need for silence, and why she believes "art saves". Drawing on her 55 years of experience in the entertainment industry and her ten years with Stella Adler, presented with humor and grace, brutally honest, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for her students. 

  • Sunday July 04 to Saturday July 10

    Swannanoa Gathering Traditional Song Week, Swannanoa, North Carolina, USA

    Swannanoa Gathering Traditional Song Week

    Swannanoa, North Carolina, USA

    Phone:

    Visit the venue's website

    For the first time, Janis will be giving her 5-day series "A Master Class In Artistry" during each of the Swannanoa Gathering weeks. Time of her classes is TBA; please check the  website for more information. The 5 day class covers everything from the origins of artists to physicalization, songwriting for profit and not so much, performance, the need to be brave, how to survive as an artist in the modern world, and why bother. Points are illustrated with songs and playing as she takes us on a journey that begins with the first caveman to tell a story and continues through the myth of the artist as "crazy", the need for silence, and why she believes "art saves". Drawing on her 55 years of experience in the entertainment industry and her ten years with Stella Adler, presented with humor and grace, brutally honest, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for her students. 

  • Sunday July 11 to Saturday July 17

    Swannanoa Gathering Celtic Week, Swannanoa, North Carolina, USA

    Swannanoa Gathering Celtic Week

    Swannanoa, North Carolina, USA

    Phone:

    Visit the venue's website

    For the first time, Janis will be giving her 5-day series "A Master Class In Artistry" during each of the Swannanoa Gathering weeks. Time of her classes is TBA; please check the  website for more information. The 5 day class covers everything from the origins of artists to physicalization, songwriting for profit and not so much, performance, the need to be brave, how to survive as an artist in the modern world, and why bother. Points are illustrated with songs and playing as she takes us on a journey that begins with the first caveman to tell a story and continues through the myth of the artist as "crazy", the need for silence, and why she believes "art saves". Drawing on her 55 years of experience in the entertainment industry and her ten years with Stella Adler, presented with humor and grace, brutally honest, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for her students. 

  • Sunday July 18 to Saturday July 24

    Swannanoa Gathering Old Time Week, Swannanoa, North Carolina,

    Swannanoa Gathering Old Time Week

    Swannanoa, North Carolina,

    Phone:

    Visit the venue's website

    For the first time, Janis will be giving her 5-day series "A Master Class In Artistry" during each of the Swannanoa Gathering weeks. Time of her classes is TBA; please check the  website for more information. The 5 day class covers everything from the origins of artists to physicalization, songwriting for profit and not so much, performance, the need to be brave, how to survive as an artist in the modern world, and why bother. Points are illustrated with songs and playing as she takes us on a journey that begins with the first caveman to tell a story and continues through the myth of the artist as "crazy", the need for silence, and why she believes "art saves". Drawing on her 55 years of experience in the entertainment industry and her ten years with Stella Adler, presented with humor and grace, brutally honest, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for her students. 

  • Sunday July 25 to Saturday July 31

    Swannanoa Gathering Cont. Folk & Guitar Week, Swannanoa, North Carolina, USA

    Swannanoa Gathering Cont. Folk & Guitar Week

    Swannanoa, North Carolina, USA

    Phone: N/A

    Visit the venue's website

    For the first time, Janis will be giving her 5-day series "A Master Class In Artistry" during each of the Swannanoa Gathering weeks. Time of her classes is TBA; please check the  website for more information. The 5 day class covers everything from the origins of artists to physicalization, songwriting for profit and not so much, performance, the need to be brave, how to survive as an artist in the modern world, and why bother. Points are illustrated with songs and playing as she takes us on a journey that begins with the first caveman to tell a story and continues through the myth of the artist as "crazy", the need for silence, and why she believes "art saves". Drawing on her 55 years of experience in the entertainment industry and her ten years with Stella Adler, presented with humor and grace, brutally honest, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for her students. 

  • Thursday, August 5

    The Kate, Old Saybrook, CT

    The Kate

    Old Saybrook, CT

    Phone: (860) 510-0473

    Visit the venue's website

    Janis returns to The Kate a scant year later, at their insistence. She's sure it's too soon, they're sure it's not. She's writing furiously so she can present some new material, and looking forward to visiting one of her all-time favorite venues again! Expect some good, relaxed fun, some tears, an after-show appearance for signing things you've brought and things you may purchase at the "merch table"!!

  • August 6th

    Pearl Foundation private concert, , Massachusetts,

    Pearl Foundation private concert

    , Massachusetts,

    Phone:

    Visit the venue's website

    A private concert benefitting the Pearl Foundation.

  • Saturday, August 7

    Shalin Liu, Rockport, MA

    Shalin Liu

    Rockport, MA

    Phone: (978) 546-7391

    Visit the venue's website

    Janis has been hearing about Shalin Liu from friends for more than a decade, and it's taken this long to coordinate schedules so she could do two nights in this prestigious venue. Expect old songs, new songs, stories, and time afterward for hellos and signing whatever you bring or buy! Since she'll be there for two nights, things should get a bit more relaxed than usual - maybe an extra step out guitar solo, or an audience Q&A. Who knows?! We can promise that this ten-time-Grammy-nominee will put on a great show, with plenty of heart and soul. 8 pm show

  • Sunday, August 8

    Shalin Liu, Rockport, MA

    Shalin Liu

    Rockport, MA

    Phone: (978) 546-7391

    Visit the venue's website

    Janis has been hearing about Shalin Liu from friends for more than a decade, and it's taken this long to coordinate schedules so she could do two nights in this prestigious venue. Expect old songs, new songs, stories, and time afterward for hellos and signing whatever you bring or buy! Since she'll be there for two nights, things should get a bit more relaxed than usual - maybe an extra step out guitar solo, or an audience Q&A. Who knows?! We can promise that this ten-time-Grammy-nominee will put on a great show, with plenty of heart and soul. 8 pm start!

  • Tuesday, August 10

    Shea Theater, Turners Falls, MA

    Shea Theater

    Turners Falls, MA

    Phone: (413) 648-7432

    Visit the venue's website

    And the new venues just keep on coming! We're really excited that Janis will be playing this town-owned theater, a centerpiece of the Turner's Falls resurgence. Expect old songs, new songs, stories, and time afterward for hellos and signing whatever you bring or buy! * 8pm showtime

[full tour dates list]

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