Jane Siberry Biography
More than twenty years after her first musical release, Jane Siberry has become renowned both for her hauntingly beautiful music and for her strength as a creative, innovative artist. With eleven major recordings, three poem books, her own independent label, and the acclaim of fans and peers alike, Siberry continues to redefine and challenge herself as one of contemporary music's most original creative voices.
Jane's refusal to follow fads, trends and fashions has been her signature from the earliest days of her musical career. Her preparation for launching her full-time career as a performing artist consisted of earning a BSc in microbiology at the University of Guelph. Rather than clashing with her artistic spirit, the scientific method infused Jane's work with a deeper understanding of the physical world and reflected her curiosity and appreciation for detail. Her unending desire to find and describe the essence of human experience has led her through numerous musical inventions in a multitude of forms; the unique outlook of scientist and musician shines through them all, earning her the passionate loyalty of music-lovers world-wide.
Jane released her eponymous first recording, financed by contributions from diners in Guelph restaurants, in 1981. She was signed to Canadian label Duke Street Records by 1984. The result, No Borders Here, produced her first 'hit'--’Mimi On The Beach’. A year later, The Speckless Sky went gold and Jane began to receive awards and international attention. In 1987, Jane signed with Warner/Reprise and produced the haunting and enigmatic albums The Walking and Bound By The Beauty. Bound By The Beauty is very likely the only recording on a major label to have been recorded in an apple orchard. Its acoustic simplicity, particularly after the heavy production values of her previous recordings, gave her listeners a hint of the independent path that Jane would follow on later recordings.
Her unique musical vision caught the ear of Brian Eno, who helped out with Jane's next project, When I Was A Boy (1993). On the strength of songs such as ‘Sail Across The Water’, ‘Temple’ and ‘Calling All Angels’ (a duet with k.d. lang), When I Was A Boy became Jane's biggest commercial success and garnered her worldwide acclaim. Director Wim Wenders used ‘Calling All Angels’ in his film Until the End of the World, and the song has since been used in a wide range of film and television shows, including Pay It Forward (2000), Roswell, Six Feet Under and Deadwood. Ever restless creatively, Jane's follow-up album Maria (1995) was a jazz-inspired recording that reflected Jane's interest in more 'present' improvisational music.
In 1996, Jane struck out and formed her own recording label, the Internet-based SHEEBA Records, in an effort to find a place where she could find creative freedom in all aspects of her work.
Through SHEEBA, she has been able to distribute not only her music but an ever-expanding repertoire of creative endeavours, including books, DVDs, sheet music, clothes, and ‘all things Siberry’. She has also been able to make available projects like the Beauty Train DVD, which has been described as 'what if Jane Siberry had her own TV talk show?'
Jane's first release through SHEEBA was a collection of songs she had written in her teens. The appropriately-titled Teenager was followed by A Day In The Life NYC (1997), an experimental sound collage of voice mail, yoga classes, cab rides and studio recordings with artists including Joe Jackson, k.d. lang and Darol Anger. Then came the voluptuous New York Trilogy (1999), which was recorded at New York's famous Bottom Line Club. Based on three extraordinary theme concerts, the sessions produced Child--Music For The Christmas Season, Tree--Music For Films And Forests and Lips--Music For Saying It.
At the turn of the millennium, Jane reached into the past, coming forward with the lush Hush (2000), a collection of American and Celtic folk songs and spirituals. In 2001, Jane gathered collaborations with other artists such as Peter Gabriel, Hector Zazou, Sotoma Takafumi, Joe Jackson, Nigel Kennedy and even Barney the Purple Dinosaur, into the anthology City.
In 2002, Rhino Records produced Love Is Everything, an anthology and tribute to Jane's work, including the fourth installment of her’Map Of The World’ song series, subtitled ‘Pilgrim’.
In 2003, she began work on what was to be another Christmas recording. The project soon developed a life of its own and emerged as a fresh interpretation of music from Handel, Bach, Mendelssohn, and other classical artists who have written spirituals linked to the Christmas season.
SHUSHAN the Palace (Hymns of Earth) is a gorgeous and virtuosa performance. To celebrate its release, Jane took a band of excellent musicians on an intense cross-continent concert tour in November and December 2003 that took them from New York City to Los Angeles, and from Vancouver to Toronto. SHUSHAN was met with critical praise as both a recording and live performance. "...the singer-songwriter gives the impression of being at the peak of her powers...applause, cheers and two standing ovations" (The Victoria Times Columnist); "SHUSHAN is easily the most beautiful album you will ever own" (Stylus, Winnipeg).
2004 saw Jane recording the title song for the new Care Bears movie and touring for most of the year through Canada and the United States. Her performances included appearances at the Montreal Jazz Festival,with highly respected pianist Tim Ray; a tribute concert for Neil Young curated by Hal Wilner in Brooklyn, NY; and an invitation to a literary festival in Madison, Wisconsin.
2005 has been a watershed year for Jane as she continues to be a pioneer in marketing her work as well as creating it. In June, Jane discontinued the production of all CDs and merchandise and launched ‘The Log Cabin’, an online MP3 store at her website www.sheeba.ca. ‘The Log Cabin’enables her fans to download Jane's entire musical catalogue (much of which was out of print) directly from the artist. More unusually, in addition to music, Siberry has made available her music videos and talk show Beauty Train at high quality, and has plans to sell e-books as well in future. By moving from physical to electronic inventory (which requires no maintenance and you never run out of stock!), Jane will concentrate on her latest original recording, tentatively entitled Lily. This will be the first original recording Siberry has made since 1993’s When I Was A Boy. Her leap to virtual inventory mirrors her strong steps towards devoting herself even more completely to being a pure artist. She will also move away from having a ‘home’, ‘car’ and anything she considers anti-’travelling light’ to simply living where she works. Her response to ‘where do you live?’ will not be ‘nowhere’ but ‘everywhere’.
Jane was recently honoured by the Canada Council as outstanding artist in the field of music with the 2005 Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award.
She will be touring North America in November and December 2005, and has been invited to perform a concert at Carnegie Hall as part of their Zankel series in March 2006.
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The Walking | Reviewer: Richard Haro | 7/7/2008
I am very excited to find all of Jane's work. She touched me as an 18 year old. I saw the video for "The walking" on VH1 when I was in San Diego. I tried for 2 years to find the tape. Finally, in December 1988, I found it in a San Francisco music shop. I was very excited to hear the entire album and was not disapointed at all. I am now a 39 year old and looking forward to expanding my library as "Bound by the beauty" has taken my breath away. I know this isn't a real review, but it is my chance to talk about a woman who I would love to meet and admire for the way she has touched me with her music. I must say that "The bird in the gravel" is my absolute favorite followed by "The white tent, the raft" on The Walking. I thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts on a very influential woman.
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