Anthem. Anthem perfectly describes "Nothing
But You" - and it defined a moment in Miami when
we stumbled out from backstage to see what that incredible
swelling of music and crowd cheering was all about
to discover Paul van Dyk dropping this last track
on the last day of conference. The vocalist lending
her etheral charm to this unforgettable track? Jan
Her voice flies high over many a dance track, and
now she has three new singles of her own on the way.
With a personality is as powerful as her voice, embracing
life and people with an infectious enthusiasm and
energy, she really was glowing all through our conversation...
and it wasn't just the lights from the photoshoot!
See for yourself in our exclusive video interview:
Watch our Jan
Johnston video interview
If you're not in the habit of reading the CD liner
notes or the small print on your vinyl, you might
have missed her name. But when I start listing off
all the smash hit records featuring her angelic voice...
Anomoly "Calling Your Name" (you can hear
this in the background of the video interview, above),
BT "Remember", BT "Mercury and Solace'...
and then you might go, oh right! She had her own hits
too, with "Unafraid" (in the movie Swordfish),
"Close To You" (on Tiesto's In My Memory
release) and "Flesh" another Tiesto favorite
that he remixed, and dozens more. Now, with three
brand new tracks signed to come out Tiesto's label,
Jan Johnston continues to write and sing her way into
dance floor anthems you'll be hearing everywhere in
the months to come.
JAN JOHNSTON OFFICIAL BIO
She's worked with BT, Chicane, and Oakenfold. Had
tracks featured in movies like American Pie and Hackers
2. Yet, strange though it may sound, Jan's current
story kicks off a few years ago in a bargain bin in
January 97: BT (Brian Transeau) is over from the
US doing some studio work and is busy rifling through
the city's Bluezone second hand record shop. Picking
up a vinyl copy of "Calling your Name" (later
used on American Pie), and impressed by the face on
the sleeve, he promptly buys it (for 50p no less!)
You know what DJs are like. Nine months later, he's
finally listened to it. "This voice came out
and I just fell on the floor. I simply had to track
this woman down and work with her." It was, however,
another nine months before he managed to contact the
elusive songstress. Jan says: "Brian was over
in Manchester for one day only. He asked if I was
free, we hit the studio, and laid down "Remember",
our first collaboration, which was later used in Hackers
Everyone loved it. Offers flooded in, and, as well
as immediately flying over to LA to work on new material,
Jan was soon lending her distinctive vocals to a plethora
of other artists: Chicane on "Love Will Come",
"Take Me By the Hand", by Victor Imbres'
Submerge project and Freefall's number one club hit
"Skydive". On top of this, she and BT did
a sell-out 30-date tour of the States from San Francisco
to Florida. Which is how she captured the eagle eyes
- and ears - of a certain well-known DJ:
"Paul (Oakenfold) pulled me aside one night
after the show and whispered in my ear, "I want
to sign you." I was initially a bit cautious
because I'm more singer-songwriter than dance diva,
but he assured me I'd have free reign. And I obviously
had a lot of respect for his reputation in the industry."
Jan signed to Perfecto in Summer 99. Relocating to
LA to record with US producer Jamie Myerson, they
worked on and recorded Jan's debut album in the first
six months of last year.
A subtle marriage of Jan's open lyrics and Jamie's
quietly understated production, the forthcoming album
"Emerging" is testament to the strength
of traditional songwriting that can and still exists
within a dance sensibility: "I can't bear the
idea of not communicating something to my audience.
I love combining dance influences beats and breaks
here and there with everything I've experienced over
the years in relationships and life generally. I want
to pull people's emotions, make them feel what I feel.
If they do, then I've succeeded."
Tracks range from the painful experience of a relationship
breakdown in the epic "No Excuses" through
to the nascent sense of finding inner peace in title
track "Emerging"; along the way Jan also
covers the Carpenters' classic "Superstar"
("purely to put myself up against a great artist!")
and ends with the pensive prayer to a higher being,
"God's Plan." First single "Flesh",
released April 9, is, as its title suggests, a paean
to somewhat more biblical pleasures, in the less holy
sense of the word!
Born and bred in the gray swathes of Salford, Jan
was intent on doing the right thing by her parents
and getting a job in the local bank, despite a natural
vocal ability. Yet instincts can only be suppressed
for so long, and soon she'd formed a duo called JJ,
flirting with chart success after the band was signed
to Sony. Following their subsequent departure from
the label, Jan was signed as a solo artist to A&M,
where she released a handful of singles, including
the aforementioned "Calling Your Name",
as well as a critically- acclaimed album "Naked
But for the Lilies." Which is where BT comes
in, which brings us up to the present. Heck, she even
featured on his latest club smash "Mercury and
Jan on life: "I think I'm a genuine gypsy. Most
people couldn't bear to stand on quicksand. I seem
to relish getting up to my chin and then crawling
out again. I've been floating for years now, and even
sold my house to pursue this dream. I know it will
happen. You have to fight in life." Jan on her
music: "It's like Joni Mitchell and George Michael
rubbing up against 4 Hero and Ricky Lee Jones."
You can't say fairer than that.