Creative Portland is launching a new event intending to highlight the city's performing arts talent. It will take place this Sunday, Feb. 17. The show will feature music, dance, digital art. Singer JanaeSound recently relocated to Portland from St. Louis, Missouri, and will be performing on Sunday. Her song "Diamonds" has racked up more than 100,000 listeners on services like SoundCloud and Spotify. She spoke with Maine Public's Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz.
JANAESOUND: Thank you so much for having me. I am so excited for this event. The lineup is just incredible. Some of my favorites will be there - Sarah Violette, Renee Coolbrith, Palaver Strings. And I have something up my sleeve - I've collaborated with Big Room Studios to create a VR [virtual reality] project which will be really fun for all the viewers in the audience.
All right. You are originally from St. Louis?
What attracted you to the local music scene here?
JANAESOUND: I started singing a long time ago. I got my start through the Opera Theatre of St. Louis - when I was 9 years old, I was cast in an opera called La Boheme, and I've just been singing the entire time. My husband brought me out here and I just - I can't let music go. So I just got started and it's just the momentum that I've built has been great and everyone's been so welcoming. So this is the best scene.
As I mentioned at the top your song "Diamonds" appears to have captured some folks' attention. Where do you go from here?
JANAESOUND: I think the whole thing is just being consistent and constantly working. So I'm so glad that so many people liked "Diamonds" and I want to build upon that and just keep being an uplifting force for my fans and listeners. All my music is about pushing through adversity, overcoming obstacles - and I live that daily. Being a local musician, it's not easy. So what's next for me is more content, more music videos, more shows and touring, and all kinds of stuff like that - just keep it going.
The national music scene has certainly changed in the last several decades - technology has driven change, the business has changed. Do you have a sense of whether or not local music scenes like Portland's, like St. Louis's, have changed in those last few decades?
JANAESOUND: That's a great question. Obviously so much has changed. Even on a national level, I feel like so many of the artists that I look up to have warned us about what it really means to be a giant mainstream act. And so we have this resurgence of independent artists. And so I think - I don't want to say trickle down - but I think it has helped local artists realize that maybe independent artistry is the way to go - remain independent as long as you can. Even if you have different goals or want a record deal, it just changes how we operate. I feel like I wear very many hats promoting myself, writing my music and getting it out, booking my own shows and handling my own tours. I don't have a management team or anything like that. So I think things are very different than in the 70s too, because with the technology so many more people are able to upload their music onto Soundcloud and YouTube, and, you know, services like that - there's just more of us, and you can see so many people. So how do you stand out when there's so many more people in it and the flow isn't controlled, necessarily, by album sales or being on the radio? So things are changing, but probably for the better, in my opinion. Because of the way things are set up I've been empowered to really take the music that I make and treat it like a business. and really work on being self-sufficient. And I'm having a great time.
JanaeSound, thank you very much - appreciate the time.