Oh, Janis Ian. Let me count the ways.
This two-time Grammy-award-winning singer-songwriter-poetess has been a part of the American music scene since she was barely a teenager in the mid-1960s, regaling her listeners over the years with heartfelt pop-folk classics such as “At Seventeen” and “Society’s Child.” In 1975, she was nominated for five Grammys—a record for a female artist at the time—for her album “Between The Lines.” She won for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female, and if you’d like to see why, take a few moments and watch the video below.
Fast-forward in the time-travel capsule, and Janis is still a mighty force to be reckoned with. In 2008, she published her memoir, SOCIETY’S CHILD: MY AUTOBIOGRAHY, to critical success: Kirkus called Janis “a natural prose stylist with a real knack for pacing and the telling detail. What might have been a dreary catalog of woe is instead a juicily entertaining look at an unusual life in show business.” In 2012, the subsequent audiobook, produced and directed by wonderman Stefan Rudnicki and published by Audible.com, was nominated for another Grammy, Best Spoken Word. And despite the fact that Ms. Ian was up against cultural heavyweights Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres, and Rachel Maddow, SHE WON! Watch her heartfelt and hilarious acceptance speech below.
During the recordings, I literally had my ear pressed to the studio door, eavesdropping on all the magic that Janis and Stefan were creating in Studio A. I had to keep pinching myself, as I heard this stunning nightingale singing right here at Skyboat. Wow. Super wow.
I have had the pleasure since then of directing Janis on several other projects; and I have never had a “beginner” audiobook reader take so deftly to the craft. She is a poet and has an infallible ear for timing and cadence; her mic technique is, well, flawless, and her great warmth and occasional wicked humor inform her performances. She is a perfectionist and yet easy-going. I love her.
SOCIETY’S CHILD is a finalist in two Audie categories: Best Author Narration, and the biggie: Distinguished Achievement in Production. Please stay tuned tomorrow as we hear more from the folks behind this unique production that put Janis center-stage, in the spotlight, exactly where she belongs: in front of a mic, armed with her written word and a guitar.
And a very special thanks to Janis for allowing us the use of her beautiful musical performances on the opening videos these next few weeks.