Jane Lui

Listening to singer-songwriter Jane Lui’s music is like watching a Michel Gondry film. Her instrumentation and vocalization have a whimsical, homemade feel that is inventive, magical, masterful and intimate. Jane integrates left and right brain to produce her own videos with piano, guitar, xylophone and harmonium, not to mention Ikea wine glasses, handmade music boxes and fireplace brushes against walls. “You’re poor in college -- don’t have stuff, so you make it up."

Goodnight Company, Jane’s third album builds on her previous successes with debut Teargirl and 2008 San Diego Awards Best Recording Nominated follow-up, Barkentine. “Goodnight Company has the most production value. Using PledgeMusic.com, Lui raised over $11,600 in two months to fund the album. “I couldn't believe how much people wanted to help and it’s made the project more real now that I’m responsible to my fans."

Jane’s silvery, husky voice slips comfortably into R&B, Pop, Country, Folk and Jazz. Critics liken her to Joni Mitchell, Fiona Apple, Cat Power, and Rufus Wainwright. She has opened for Jason Mraz, Vienna Teng, Jay Nash, Jim Bianco, Kate Earl and Tom Brousseau among others on national, Canadian, Australian and UK tours.

How do you describe your music to people?
I used to frantically look for someone else in the room who might have the answers, or a reason to change the subject if someone asked me. 'cause I really didn't know, and saying "unclassifiable" just sounds cocky.

These days, I say, "umm. Like Feist + Rufus Wainright + Cat Power."
I scoured the net couple weeks ago, and learned that I might fit in Baroque Pop.
What do YOU think?

Tell me about how you originally got into your craft.
Little girls like to sing.. so I've sung all my life. If I had to pick out something, I would say I felt most useful when I sang, because it gave me the feeling of conversation that I didn't have. Parents bought us a beautiful upright and piano lessons, my piano teacher was my best friend. I never merged the two until college, when I was hired as a cantor/pianist at a little white catholic church. That job greatly enhanced my sensibility, musicianship, and observation; I was/am very lucky. I was also constantly slightly self-deprecating, so never thought of myself as a writer in any capacity. Then came the drama-queen years every 23 yr old girl goes through 'cause we can't tell our elbows from our kneecaps, and out came the songs - purging out of the great melancholy. tadaaa.

What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
Weep with tears of joy.

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
Knowing what to spend my time on, because I am responsible for every aspect of my career; To be an adult and learn the linear aspects of marketing, promotion, booking, and then switch gears to the creative mess that's similar to swimming in one of those McDonalds playgrounds full of little plastic balls.

Not that I do that. Often.

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
A singer.

I lived on the 11th floor, so I was basically high up on a stage, singing out the window to the thousands.. all those lucky construction workers and machinery across the building.

In what way has your community impacted your development as a musician?
1. Chinese is a very pictorial language. So I feel like my lyrics are visual because of it. I'm drawn to create images that accompany the music through lyrics, which... to me... makes the songwriting process easier, because I'm not working with the music alone.

2. Because of the above, I find that I am not a wordsmith, and could care less about accurate grammar and syntax.

3. I grew up listening to Canto-pop - Some really cheesy stuff too. But because it's so incredibly far from anything western, it was sensory overload when I first started listening to western pop. I had no historical context, and would listen to Stevie Wonder, Oasis, Mariah Carey, and Phantom of the Opera all on the same playing field. It was a brave new world.

What other artists out there do you love?
- Bjork
- Feist
- Stevie Wonder
- Michael Jackson
- Mum
- Billy Joel
- Sting + Police
- Richard Rogers & Oscar Hammerstein
- Big Bill Broonzy
- Staple Singers
- Circus music (I don't know who writes these)
- Sam Sparro
- Cat Power
- Tori Amos (old school one)
- Keith Jarrett
- Bill Evans
- Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Holiday
- Debussy (piano & choral stuff)

Film Directors:
- Wes Anderson
- Chris Nolan

- Dave Mckean
- David Mack (not Kabuki, though)

- Neil Gaiman
- Jeanette Winterson

What does your future hold?
I would LOVE to sing for the circus.