Los Angeles indie singer/songwriter Jane Holiday plays the Roxy this week XYLO, so we chatted about the show, the future, and all manner of other things…
L.A. WEEKLY: When did you start singing, writing and performing, and then when did you realize it could be a career?
JANE HOLIDAY: I started singing from an early age. Some of my earliest memories are singing with my mother, who has always been a very talented singer. We grew up listening to R&B and gospel in the car and throughout the house. I remember listening to India.Arie and Luther Vandross as a child, comically singing through my vibrato in my mothers maroon Honda Accord. Throughout my teenage years, or anyone’s for that matter, singing wasn’t the coolest thing for a teenage boy to do, so I somewhat deserted it until I made friends with some people who were super passionate for music. We would all trade off plying songs, and when it was my turn there was a lot of encouragement sent towards me to keep singing. I grew up with people who ended up forming bands called the Neighborhood, Bad Suns, Hunny and XYLO. There was a lot encouragement to continue singing. That was always kind of my thing I think. I was always the one who could string song together, and could sing it decently.
Describe your sound/style…
My sound has changed an developed so much throughout the time I’ve been making music. I think the first band that had a massive impact on me and a bigger level was Radiohead. They were the first band I would really read about and try to comprehend what was going on. I guess it’s the first band I really studied. Within that period I read into the classic “Oasis/Radiohead” drama funny enough I really fell in love with Oasis. I didn’t know there could be a band with so much style and confidence and attitude, and write these amazing, heart pulling, massive songs. So throughout that time period I was just searching and digesting as much music as I could get my hands on. Massive Attack, Portishead, The Libertines, The Strokes, UMO, Arctic Monkeys. I stumbled into soul. Rolling Stones, Amy Winehouse, Marvin Gaye. These were all acts that I connected with on a creative level. I definitely borrowed a few tricks from these guys.
How have you evolved leading up to your most recent recorded output?
It’s been interesting developing and navigating being a creative. The first few songs I recorded as “Jane Holiday” were just kind of done with some friends. We didn’t really know what we were doing (still don’t really). All I knew was I wanted to make something that felt fresh and felt old. I also wanted to make something that felt different to what i was hearing at the time. I feel like when I started this project I was still taking standard funk and soul blueprints and trying to make them sound as perfect as I could. There was a big part of me that was writing records for the radio. There was a big part of me that was comparing myself to peers and other artists. Though those elements still exist within me, and I believe most artists for that matter, but now those voices are much quieter. My last release, Poster Boy, was written and recorded with one of my oldest friends in his apartment. My next song “Living” is by far the most honest and “free wheeling” song I have. Moving forward I’m interested in capturing moments and ideas within my music. I’m looking to dive deeper into producing more things myself, and really just trusting my ideas.
What can we expect from this LA set with XYLO?
Yeah this tour has been amazing as far as the flow of my set and how free the set has been feeling. I haven’t played much guitar on stage until now, and that has been amazing. It oddly makes me feel like I did when I would fantasize these moments as a 16-year-old. There’s a “bedroom” feeling I get when playing the guitar in front of people. I think it has helped me translate an intimate feeling to the crowd as well. I’ve been swapping out songs and trying new songs. Some just me and the guitar which is something I’d never done before. I think this tour I’ve really fallen into my role as a performer and possibly as a creative. I hope it translates, but I think I’ve really let go of all these ideas of what a performance needs to be. Say this phrase here, do this then… blah blah blah. It’s actually all bullshit tbh. I can only speak for my experience, but I feel most connected to the crowd when I’m playing this new ballad I’m testing out on this tour. No lights no production no bells no whistles. I’ve even been wearing on stage what i wore that day. I think that feels fresh. There’s an honesty there.
After that, what’s next for you?
So I get back to L.A., do some writing, get a bit centered again. I have some writing to do in England and a show there in August, and something in Paris right after. Once that’s all over I just want to lock in the my studio. There’s so many things I want to learn and better be in control of. This tour has really taught me to trust my ideas. That’s been my biggest take away. All these amazing songs we’ve listened to while traveling to the next city we’re not produced by Max Martin. Certainly some were produced by Emile, but even within that idea, he just trusted his ideas. So that’s my central focus. Oh I’m dropping an EP. That’s worth mentioning lol. I’m also trying to put together some of these more broken down beautiful acoustic songs I have laying around. So maybe I’ll drop those right after the EP.
Jane Holiday plays with XYLO and ZOLITA at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, August 7 at the Roxy.