Jana Kramer should need no introduction to a lot of people in the UK. Whether you know Jana the actress or Jana the country singer, she definitely has a large fan base here.
First gaining the attention of fans with her recurring role on TV’s One Tree Hill, Jana has since had a hugely successful acting career in television and movies and an equally if not more successful career as a country music singer.
In 2012 Jana released her debut self titled album and released her debut single Why You Wanna which took her music career off by storm and landed her single a number 3 position on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs. The album debuted at No. 5 on the Top Country Albums and No. 19 on Billboard 200 upon its release in the US.
Jana released her second album Thirty One in 2015 and in my opinion, is one of the best country-pop albums to date. The album debuted at No. 3 on Top Country Albums, and No. 10 on the Billboard 20. Jana’s debut single from Thirty One, Love, is a beautiful melodious love song but from the view point of an optimist, a hopeless romantic. The song has a wonderful country melody and a highly infectious chorus. Her second single, I Got The Boy, will be familiar to most, if not all country music fans and is one of her most memorable and successful songs yet. The song is about finding out your high school sweetheart is now married and realising that she and the wife will always have a part of the boy/man that the other does not have.
If you have not heard the album Thirty One yet, then I highly recommend that you do.
Thirty One by Jana Kramer
A well as singing and acting, Jana can dance too and proved that by appearing on Dancing With The Stars, but Jana will tell you that her most important job is being a mother.
Jana will be visiting the UK next week as part of Country 2 Country Festival and we could not be more excited and happy to have her.
I caught up with Jana earlier this week to discuss C2C amongst other things.
Hi Jana, how are you?
I am great thank you, how are you?
Good thanks! Thank you for taking the time to talk to me today.What have you been up to this week?
I am in LA, just hanging out with my daughter.
We are so excited that you will be coming to the UK to be a part of C2C Festival. Will this be your first time in the UK?
It is, yes – I am really excited and have been looking up things to do and places to see. I am not going to be there for that long, but I am just excited to be able to get the opportunity to meet people I have wanted to meet and go out there and see the sights. I’ve heard amazing things about London, so it’s going to be great, I can’t wait.
You have a huge fan base here and everyone went wild when you were announced. Were you aware of your fan base in the UK?
Aww, that’s awesome! I know One Tree Hill (TV show) started off my fan base there and the UK fans have been so amazing ever since then and followed my Country career and other acting projects I have done. It’s just been really great and I am definitely looking forward to meeting them and going out there and performing – it’s going to be a great time.
You will be in the main arena on the Yamaha Stage, then you will be performing at the Sunday night after-party which, in theory, means you will be closing the entire festival – which is awesome and will be quite a party! As it’s an after-party, will you be taking the performance up a notch and will you be bringing a band?
Haha yeah, it will be a lot of fun and I am looking forward to that and yes, I will be bringing a whole band.
Your music career is only just getting started and what a ride you have had so far! You have two highly successful albums with high charting positions, platinum singles, ACM awards and nominations, been part of CMT Next Women In Country and now you’re playing in the UK! How does it feel to have achieved so much so quickly – and do you have any ‘pinch me’ moments?
Honestly the best moment for me is when I had my daughter. She’s incredible. It’s been fun with everything career wise. Going out playing shows, hearing fans singing my songs back to me, that is the best feeling in the world. I think all of it has been a real ‘pinch me’ thing, because I am living out my dream. But again, when I had my daughter, things kind of changed for me and that is the most important thing to me.
I can certainly understand that. It must be amazing being able to take her on tour with you?
Yeah it’s great. She is not going to be able to come to London, as it’s too far to travel for her, but it really is incredible and it’s great to have her with me.
Country radio seem to be very supportive of your music which is wonderful. Do you think that as a whole, Country radio is opening up to more female artists?
Not as much as I had hoped. It’s still a struggle and it’s still hard to get females heard on the radio as much as the male singers, so it’s still a fight. It’s very frustrating because there is so much good music out there but, you know, we’ve just got to keep doing it, keep putting out good music and hopefully one of them will stick.
I can understand it would be frustrating. We love and embrace female artists here and although we have a lack of Country radio in comparison to the US, we will always play the female artists as much as the male.
Your current album is titled 31, which I have to say is really fantastic – there is no bad song on there.
For anyone who is unfamiliar with your music, how would you describe the album thirty one?
For me, I think it’s just about telling the truth; about being in relationships (the good, the bad, the ugly!), all of the times I have been with my girlfriends – and really embracing every moment of my life.
Circles is my favourite off the album and quite possibly one of the best Country songs I have heard in a long time.
Thank you so much!
You’re welcome. What I like about the way you sing that song – and all of your songs actually – is that you don’t just sing it, you feel and believe every word that you are singing.
Do you use your acting experiences to deliver a more real, story-telling performance in video, in the studio and on stage? Or do you only record and write songs that you really connect with?
I can only sing songs that I relate to. For me, singing is about story-telling and telling the truth and I have to have lived it, felt it. I know I am not the best singer in the world, but as long as you sing a song with emotion it doesn’t matter to me if you’re pitchy or flat, as long as you feel something. When I feel something when I sing, then I have done my job. I don’t think it’s about hitting the best note or anything.
I completely agree with that. That’s one of the things I always say. Someone can be the best singer in the world but if they don’t perform with emotion, I feel it becomes less believable.
Exactly – and I wouldn’t want anyone to feel that for my shows. That’s why I make sure I go out and deliver a good performance- but also a heartfelt one.
I also love the video. It’s perfect in its simplicity and gives room for the song to be really heard in the expressive way that it’s meant to.
I Got The Boy has been one of the most successful songs for you and it is so relatable to pretty much any woman who didn’t end up with their high school sweetheart. I absolutely love the song. How was the song pitched to you, did it resonate with you and did you expect the song to reach the success it has?
I was hoping it would, because I knew that it was such a special song. It was a song I had been trying to write for years about my high school sweetheart and when I heard that song, I was instantly like ’Wow! That is my story.’ – and then it became lots of people’s stories as well.
With social media it is so easy to find out what your exes are up to too, which makes the song even more relatable.
What is your favourite song to perform?
Probably I Got The Boy. Just because of the reaction of the audience.
Well, I can’t wait to hear it live.
What is next for you career wise?
I just want to keep writing and touring and I am also doing a bunch of acting jobs again. So I just want to be able to do all of that and be the best mum and honestly just try to stay in the moment, because when I get too far out there it gets too shuffled. I want to live in the moment with my baby girl.
I don’t blame you.
Can we expect a return to the UK?
Oh, I hope so! Unfortunately, it’s hard to get there and it’s quite expensive, but I would love to start building a base there.
That would be wonderful.
As I said many fans have been waiting to see you for so long, in particular Ashley who runs a UK twitter fan page for you @JKramerUK – he says Hello, and that he can’t wait to see your set. Can I get a shout out for Ashley?
Oh that is so sweet, thank you. That is so awesome. Thank you so much Ashley.
Well thank you so much for talking to me today and we cannot wait to see you next week.
Thank you – you, too.
Jana will be playing the Yamaha Stage at C2C on Sunday as well as a set in All Bar One at 12.50 and then closing the festival at the after party in Building Six.