Jane Taylor is not your average songwriter. When she opened for Paul Buchanan in Edinburgh’s 2000 seater venue ‘The Usher Hall’, the tour manager turned to her and said ‘You’re bloody good Jane. Really very special. I don’t understand why I’ve not heard of you before. Who’s representing you?’. She replied ‘no one’. She had no manager, no agent, no record company, distribution deal or publisher (she still doesn’t!). ‘So how did you get this tour?’ he questioned further, ‘I’m not entirely sure…but I do love the Usher Hall!!’ she beamed.
She had simply e mailed the booking agency for Paul Buchanan and took a risk. She did the same with her debut album and BBC Radio 2.
Jane’s debut album hit BBC national radio when Johnnie Walker decided to play the opening track from an album he found on his desk called ‘Montpelier’, because he liked the cover (a charcoal sketch of her street, which Jane had doodled herself). The response from the listeners was enormous, highly unusual for an ‘unknown’ and Johnnie Walker played the track over 15 times, despite it not actually being on the play list and invited her in to perform a live session on the show.
Jane’s first album ‘Montpelier’ had been made on a shoe-string, in a barn, with all manufacturing costs financed by pre selling the album to her dedicated fan base (which she’d home grown from the city of Bristol). She and producer Bill Lovelady and her band recorded the album over 9 days in freezing October (this was a real barn, not a conversion!). Once it was made she just posted it to BBC Radio 2 and crossed her fingers.
Because of the response to the airplay she was invited into the BBC to perform a live session on the show. From there she went on to support Jools Holland, Bill Wyman, Seth Lakeman, Paul Buchanan, Andy Fairweather Low and Paulo Nutini, secured a distribution deal, had ‘Fall on Me’ played on MTV and toured the UK and Germany, spreading the word and connecting her music to even more ears.
Two years later, she released her second album, ‘Compass’ which was financially backed by two huge fans of her music whom Jane now refers to as ‘the angels!’. They were people she’d never even met before (who are now very good friends indeed!). She made the album with Mercury nominated producer Colin Elliot (famous for his work on the Richard Hawley albums) in Sheffield’s much loved ‘Yellow Arch’ studios.
The album features the Grimethorpe Colliery Brass band (who performed in the film 'Brassed Off'), A gospel choir (made up of some of Bristol and Bath’s finest songwriters and musicians), a very special rhythm track, (featuring everything from a rustling bin to the cellists impression of the sound of a dolphin), and beautiful classical and quirky string arrangements from Robin Davies, Bethany Porter and Feargus Heatherington.
Tracks from ‘Compass’ received Radio 2 play and the album recently won an award for ‘Best Album’ at this years Independent Music Awards. Last year, after taking some time out to give birth to her son, she booked a special concert in at St George’s Hall, Bristol, which she sold out.
She invited a host of wonderful musicians to join her on stage including some of her incredibly gifted and charismatic band; (Lizz Lipscombe on violin, Robert Bray on percussion and Robin Davies on Double bass) She was also joined by a host of talented South West artists; Cellist Kate Robey, Marimba player Alphonse Daudet Touna, Singer Songwriter Roger Tarry, The JT Brass players (Andy Davies, Matt Davies and Chris Sanders) and the Barefoot Collective & Original Sing choirs. The concert was a wonderful success and was voted one of the top three gigs in the South West for 2010 by Bristol’s Venue Magazine.
It was also recorded and the result is a fabulous ‘live Album’ which was released last Winter during her sell out three week UK tour.
In December 2012 she released a single called 'Oh December' which entered the iTunes charts at No. 21 after which it was played on Christmas day on BBC Radio 2 on the Bob Harris show.
That single then became the opening track to a brand new musical project called 'Mr Claus'. A gypsy musical about a down and out santa who's lost his way in the modern 21st Century order-on-line digital world. The story is also set to become a childrens book and an animation.
Jane and the JT band (Lizz Lipscombe, Rob Bray and John Holmes) will be touring some of the songs from this musical in November and December this year (2012)..check out the gig page for more details. It will be toured as a theatre and musical production in theatres across the UK in 2013. She has since been invited to perform a live session on BBC Radio 2, the Bob Harris show in November 2012.
Jane continues to create music with her band and tour under her own independent label Bicycle Records. She is supported by her dedicated and loyal fan base (who have so far over the years raised over £35,000 to help her promote her work and fund her tours) and who keep in touch with her regularly. They have even been known to put up the band on tour and book gigs in their local villages/towns and cities. It’s a relationship that keeps the JT project thriving and one she is hugely grateful for.
‘Without the people who buy my music and support the gigs and concerts I would never have got this far. Being an independent artist, making the kind of music I do, and competing with the more commercial and larger labels can be fiercely overwhelming at times! But then I’ll get an incredible e mail from someone who’s connected with the music or have the most wonderful feed back after a gig and I couldn’t ever think about doing anything else!!’ Jane Taylor
‘Classic, timeless songwriting. A quintessentially English Gem’ Time Out
‘Beautiful ‘ Johnnie Walker BBC Radio 2
‘A very, very talented artist’ Bob Harris BBC Radio 2