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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
  • Final summer shows added

    Two solo evenings at The Kate to close out the summer!

  • Cards on sale for Valentine's!

    On sale for any occasion, until February 14th!

  • Historic Interview and Performance on WNYC

    Here's a recently unearthed interview by Dave Sear with Janis, age 16, from WNYC's Adventures in Folk Music radio New York! Recorded on December 7, 1967.

    Also includes five songs:

    1. Younger Generation Blues
    2. Society's Child
    3. I'll Give You A Stone If You'll Throw It (Changing Tymes)
    4. (Too Old To) Go 'Way Little Girl
    5. Beep Beep Song


[more hot news]

Tour Dates

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All tour dates updated on March 1, 2019

[full tour dates list]

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