(hurt) to write a song such as this, or does your experience allow you to approach songwriting from more of a concept / theme standpoint at times? JM: I’m not exactly sure how to answer this one because I am so new to the actual work of crafting a song. So far, all I can do is try to write what I know. Write what is my truth or has been my truth. I do believe that is part of what makes a song “good”. What the hell does that mean… “good”? For me it is when a song is connected to the simple human truth… non-fiction. A common experience of a person or humanity, articulated in a simple way; meaning not too many words, only the right words, with a melody and chord changes that support the experience of the story being told so that it cuts thru the day to day B.S. and resonates inside the listener. That is just one of the things I love so much about Blues & Soul music. “I Won’t Cry” is a Blues song. tDB: So how is it different winning awards for songwriting versus performance? They are both critically important elements of your career, but there must be some difference in penning and performing your own material, versus interpreting another writer’s song. JM: Getting accolades for performance has been both unexpected, amazing and affirming for me as an artist. Now getting recognition for songwriting? Mind you… songwriting that I was deeply fearful of and just did not want to do in the first place? Oh yeah! Wild doesn’t even touch it. Then add in how totally surreal it is for me to begin to sing a song that I have helped write and watch the audience mouth the words right along with me! W.T.H.??? It’s been transcendent for me. The fact that the most popular material on “Stronger
For It” were the tunes Dave and I penned blew my mind and frightened me a bit. It takes the level of “Personal and Intimate” to a whole other wheelhouse. Plus, then, well crap! What do I do after that???? tDB: What is the #1 thing that is currently inspiring you to write? JM: Mainly that I had to follow up the last release that did so well with the original songs. People keep telling me, asking me, encouraging me to write more songs. It’s amazing really. I think another way to put it might be “PRESSURE”. Ha, ha, ha…! tDB: Is there a new album coming anytime soon? JM: Yes! A June 2014 release date has been set for the new CD called “Original”- “The Writing Sessions”. I am super pumped about this one. It really was time for me to put out this CD of all original songs and that meant putting it out on my own label, Fathead Records. I have
9 co-writes (UNBELIEVABLE!). 6 co-writes with Dave Darling, 2 co-writes with an amazing songwriting team from Australia called Benedict & Bliss and 1 with Canadian songwriter extraordinaire Tamara Silvera. Plus 3 tunes from some friends, songs I just had to record! So 12 tunes total. All very exciting for me. I really feel great about this recording. tDB: So what is Janiva Magness listening to in March 2014…? JM: Ha, ha! Well a lot of mixes of the upcoming “Original” release but, you can’t hear those just yet… so, some Jimmy Reed and Lee Harvey Osmond (Tom Wilson of B.A.R.K.) and of course always, always, always, some Bettye Lavette! Give you my 3 favorite tracks for the month of March. “Hold Me Close” – Jimmie Ree Live at Carnegie Hall, Lee Harvey Osmond – “I’m Gonna Stay That Way”, and Bettye Lavette – “How Am I Different”.