BBC Radio 2 presenters Johnnie Walker and Bob Harris are real fans. She’s opened for Jools Holland, recorded with Massive Attack guitarist Angelo Bruschini and her album ‘Compass’ won ‘BEST Singer Songwriter ALBUM’ at last years Independent Music Awards. She’s also just recorded a special session at Maida Vale as part of a BBC show that paid homage to her extraordinary journey as an independent songwriter, and now she’s busy writing an ‘alternative’ gypsy styled musical, ‘Mr Claus’, whilst gearing up to play London’s Union Chapel with fellow Singer Songwriter Fraser Anderson. Jane Taylor is on a mission...
Jane’s debut album, ‘Montpelier’ hit BBC Radio 2 when Johnnie Walker decided to play the opening track ‘Fall On Me’ on his show because he liked the look of the cover (a charcoal sketch doodled by Jane) .
The listeners gave an overwhelming response, inundating the show with more e-mails and calls than the producer had experienced before, especially for an ‘unknown’. Jane was promptly invited in to Radio 2 to perform a live session with her band, and the session created the beginnings of a national fan base from which she launched her first UK tour.
What was so inspiring about this particular story was that ‘Montpelier’ had been entirely created on a shoe string with the help of a few new friends and fans she'd made in just 8 months of playing her songs in the city of Bristol and the city of London. Jane had no label, no distribution deal, no agent or manager. She had however managed to meet Johnny Stirling (x Director of BMG Publishing) in the famous Kashmir Klub in London whilst playing a few songs there. He then hooked her up with his friend and award winning producer Bill Lovelady (famous for writing a birthday composition for Prince Philip). Bill suggested recording the album in his friend Tom's barn in the countryside in Oxford because it had lovely acoustics, and so the JT Band (Ben Neil, Beth, Eleanor and Robin) all went off and recorded the album in that barn, over 9 days in the freezing cold in October 2005.
Jane had absolutely no money so she decided to pre sell it to her fan base (home grown in her city of Bristol) to raise the cash to get it manufactured and when it was ready she just posted it to the BBC Radio 2 and crossed her fingers.
Johnnie Walker's support proved to be instrumental in getting her music to more listeners and fans across the UK. From there she got herself a manager, went on to support Jools Holland, Bill Wyman, Seth Lakeman, and Paulo Nutini, and tour with Paul Buchanan and Andy Fairweather Low, secured a distribution deal, landed features on Uncut and Music Week Magazine, and toured the UK and Germany spreading the word and gathering new fans. Again, all as an independent.
Her second album ‘Compass’ (entirely financed by her fans) was made with Mercury nominated producer Colin Elliot (famous for his work with Pulp’s Richard Hawley). The album featured a full string orchestra, (kindly borrowed from a session with Tony Christie) the Grimethorpe Colliery Brass band (who appeared on the film 'Brassed Off'), The Richard Hawley Band, and a Bristol Gospel Choir made up entirely of songwriters and singers she’d met along the way. She took the album on a UK tour and kicked it off with a sold out performance (and standing ovation) in Bristol’s St Georges Hall for which she was awarded ‘Best Live Gig in the South West 2011’ by Venue Magazine, promptly followed by a ‘Best Album’ win at the Independent Music Awards.
Jane is currently working on a brand new project, a sassy, gypsy-jazz style ‘alternative’ musical based on a story she wrote called ‘Mr Claus’, which is also set to become a children’s book and animation. The opening track from the musical, ‘Oh December’, reached number 23 in the iTunes download charts last year and was played on the Bob Harris Show, Christmas Day, on BBC Radio 2, after which she was invited in to perform a live session (which promoted another UK tour and release of a Special Edition EP ‘Song’s We’re Working on’).
Recently, she was invited by the BBC to record a one off session at Maida Vale as part of a special BBC Introducing Show that page homage to her achievements as a completely independent songwriter who’s albums and tours have been entirely financed and supported by her fan base.
As a special thank you to her fans, she’s now gearing up for her biggest London performance to date, set for October 3rd in the prestigious and beautiful Union Chapel in Islington.
Jane has teamed up with fellow independent Scottish songwriter Fraser Anderson (www.fraserandereson.com) who’s story is not dissimilar and who’s album ‘Little Glass Box’ is garnering critical acclaim, which is not surprising since he has the respect of the hugely gifted Danny Thompson, (the late John Martyn's bass player), who features heavily on the album.
The Union Chapel Concert will be a celebration of the lives of these two extraordinary singer songwriters who have been entirely supported by their fan bases over the last 10 years, recording and releasing albums, touring and working with some of the most prestigious musicians of their generation. They have experienced an altogether ‘alternative’ journey as singer songwriters living in the golden age of the Independent Music Industry; an industry supported and funded by those most passionate about music – the listeners.
Together they will perform an exciting, creative and original collection of songs and will be joined on stage by a host of hugely talented musicians, a gospel choir, brass, strings and a few surprises along the way - expect a unique and inspirational evening - On Sale from March 1st from the Union Chapel
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 £50,000 to help her promote her work and fund her tours). They have even been known to put up the band on tour and book and promote 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
‘This album proves without a doubt that this determinedly independent artist should eclipse her more manufactured competitors. Beautiful’ – Music Week (Montpelier)
There is something so very real and honest about Jane's music. She performs from somewhere we all recognise. It's the sort of music that people will always connect with and I think that's why we had such an overwhelming response’ - Johnnie Walker BBC Radio
‘lovely, lovely music. This has been a gorgeous session ’ – Bob Harris