The Beat - Centre Stage with Janis Ian

The Beat - Centre Stage with Janis Ian

Tue · September 11, 2018

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 7:30 pm

$25.00

Join Eugene Rea for an intimate conversation with legendary singer-songwriter Janis Ian as they discuss her life, her career and her legacy.

Based in Nashville, Janis Ian has been a professional singer-songwriter since the age of twelve. She has released 22 major label albums that have sold over 9 million copies worldwide. The recipient of two Grammy Awards and nine Grammy nominations, she has also received honors from a host of organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign Fund and MADD. 

Her tours have sold out in every country she’s visited, and her songs have been recorded by artists as diverse as John Mellencamp, Amy Grant, Diane Schuur, and Joan Baez. Janis has dueted with Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Mel Torme and, most recently, Trevor Sewell; their single, released only in the UK, jumped up the jazz charts. 

The Beat - Centre Stage with Janis Ian
The Beat - Centre Stage with Janis Ian
Now in her fifth decade of writing songs and performing, Janis received
her most recent Grammy nomination in 2016 for the self-produced “Patience &
Sarah”, an audio book she produced and co-narrated with the actress Jean Smart
(“Designing Women”.) This makes a total of 10 nominations in 8 different
categories, a record for a solo artist whose first nomination came at the age of 16
for her debut album, “Janis Ian”.
She lost this last Grammy to President Jimmy Carter, but two years earlier
she’d received a Grammy for “Society’s Child: My Autobiography”, winning Best
Spoken Word over stiff competition (President Bill Clinton, First Lady Michelle
Obama, Rachel Maddow, and Ellen DeGeneres.) Accepting the award to a
tumultuous standing ovation, Ian quipped “Well, this is a stunning upset… and I
have to admit that when I saw the list of nominees, my first thought was ‘There’s
got to be a joke in here somewhere. An ex-president, a First Lady, and three
lesbians walk into a bar…’”
On a more serious note, Ian said “We artists are the last alchemists,
pulling your dreams, your hopes, your deepest desires out of thin air. We turn them
into something you can hear, and play, and sing. So let us never forget this – we
don’t sell music. We sell dreams.”
Ian has been in the forefront of too many controversial subjects to list
here. Among others, her song “Society’s Child”, written at the age of fourteen,
went on to ignite a storm among radio broadcasters and listeners for its unflinching
look at the relationship between a black boy and a white girl. “At Seventeen” has
been featured in everything from anti-bullying commercials to television shows
like The Blacklist. At Montreux, Nina Simone said the song “Stars” was the only
way she could express what she was feeling at that moment. Tennessee Williams
wore out three copies of Between the Lines, Johnny Cash kept a copy of Janis’
poetry book in his personal library, and her article The Internet Debacle was the
first major piece to come out in favor of downloading and Internet usage in the
music industry. (Incidentally, at last count it had been re-printed on more than
5,000 sites in nine different languages, and provided testimony in the Napster and
Grokster cases.) The prescient article correctly foretold the formation and rise of
iTunes and Youtube, among others.
Janis also holds the distinction of hosting the first international Internet
auction, in 1998, long before eBay or other auction sites came on the scene. The
auction raised money for what became The Pearl Foundation, an IRS-approved
charitable organization providing scholarships to “returning students”. It honors
Janis’ mother, Pearl, who returned to college in her forties, hindered by Multiple
Sclerosis, and went on to get her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The Foundation
has no employees; everything but tax preparation is contributed or done by Janis
and her wife, Pat (who likewise went back to school in her forties!) To date, it has
given away more than 1 million dollars in scholarship funding, and seen more than
60 students graduate.
Internationally, she’s also quite a force. Her song “Tattoo” was chosen to
represent The Netherlands in Europe-wide celebrations of the 50th anniversary of
the end of W. W. II, leading Ian to perform for and meet with the royal family. In
Japan, her “Love Is Blind” was #1 for more than a year, and the album Aftertones
#1 for six months, records no solo female has broken since. (She is known there as
“the godmother of singer/songwriters”.)
Her tours have sold out in every country she’s visited (we’ve lost count),
and her songs have been recorded by artists as diverse as John Mellencamp, Amy
Grant, Diane Schuur, and Joan Baez. Janis has dueted with Willie Nelson, Dolly
Parton, Mel Torme and, most recently, Trevor Sewell; their single, released only in
the UK, jumped up the jazz charts, again reminding us of the diversity in a career
that saw Ian on the cover of Downbeat at 16, featured in Melody Maker at 26,
honored by the Grammy Hall of Fame twice, co-starring with Laurie Metcalf, Rita
Moreno, and Alex Borstein in the final episode of Getting On, receiving
Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus Reviews picks for her children’s book The Tiny
Mouse, and continuing to expand and move forward with plans for several more
books and a new album in the works.
Or, as Ian herself puts it, “I’m just curious… I’ve never courted
controversy, never set out to do so many different things – but I get curious, I think
‘What if…’, and things just… happen!”
Venue Information:
Midland Cultural Centre - Rotary Hall
333 King St.
Midland, ON, L4R 3M7