Jan Hellriegel

Jan Hellriegel has been making music and working in the music industry in a variety of ways for more than 30 years. For her latest album release - a project that has been cultivated over nine years - she decided to do something different and release the songs alongside a book, and a podcast series. It's storytelling intertwined across formats, giving her songs greater context. Jan tells us a bit more about the project below.

How does it feel to look back at your achievements and create new music at the same time?

The book wasn't supposed to be a memoir although I guessed it has morphed into a sort of one because songs reflect the world of the writer. The main reason I wrote the book was because I wanted to create a new experience for the listener and combine mediums. And I also wanted to thank a lot of people and let everyone know who worked on the album so there was plenty of room for liner notes. In fact the whole 12th chapter is about the making of the album.

The podcast idea came about simply because I thought that the chapters would work well in the spoken format and it was an excellent way to showcase the album as well as music from the past. I was very grateful to Radio New Zealand for helping me produce them and fortunately my publisher Songbroker encourages the use of music wherever possible.

What has changed in your creative process over the years? 

It doesn't feel like a lot has changed over time but then I guess I have got better at making creative calls on songs and perhaps getting rid of things that aren't quite right. Also the thematic material I sing about is different to who I was when I was in my 20's. I have gone from black and white to all sorts of colour in my stories. There is a freedom now that I don't feel I had before - that I can sing about what ever I like and I have a wealth of stories and ideas to draw from.

Reflecting on life can throw up some life lessons. If you could go back and meet your younger self what advice would you give her? What advice would you give young Jan if she was starting out now?

If I went back to say hello to my younger self I would say "keep doing what you are doing because you will end up doing exactly what you set out to do". And I would also say "It will take a bit longer than you think it will so buckle up and smile - going on the ride is all part of the fun." And finally I would say "Stay bold and brave".

Will you be touring this album? Is performing live still a part of being an artist for you?

I was just about to set out on a tour but realised that I had to let the idea percolate a little more with my audience before setting dates. The good thing about a book is that it takes longer to get out and about and my plan of doing podcasts before the album release means I have a little more time to get the message out there.

I did just book a release party at a great new venue called the Substation on the 5th July 2019 (within the Powerstation) and I hope to book some more shows soon.

You can check out the podcasts at the link below:

https://www.radionz.co.nz/programmes/sportsman-of-the-year/story/2018692159/sportsman-of-the-year-coming-soon

And all release information is located at www.janhellriegel.com 


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