Discussions: Jane Siberry

Avant-pop fans have long admired Toronto’s Jane Siberry for her lush songwriting and crystalline vocals. The self-taught pianist went on to study music theory before launching a career that has inspired free spirits around the world.

Recently, she’s been offering her back catalogue on a pay-what-you-choose basis – alongside new material – on her magic-the-dog.com. I’m quoting from the site: “When I made my back catalogue music a GIFT at the beginning of this-year-of-our-quarantine, I was thrilled to see it fly out into the world with great enthusiasm. I have decided to keep this as an option. You can receive it fully as a gift or use EZPAY if it suits your gut.”

Why offer music for free?

It started with people asking if they could share “Calling All Angels” after 9/11. Once I realized the payment thing was limiting its natural use, it seemed wrong to require a key.

At the beginning of the current pandemic, it bothered me to see people pick and choose from my catalogue. I have offered the whole collection before for a price. When I made it free it flew out the door and I’m glad to see it received as a whole. 

There aren’t any manuals so just keep adjusting to niggles. 

I’ve often felt a sense of freedom in your approach to music. Is that a purposeful thing for you, or does it happen more organically?

Organically, because I’m too much of a chicken-shit when I think about things.

I heard a story once about you packing up and travelling the world. With no home base for an extended period. Is that true? Doesn’t sound very chicken shit to me.

When the heaviness outweighs the chicken-shitness.

Feeling heavy these days?

Not at all.

That’s saying something in the midst of a global pandemic. Any advice for the rest of us?

Trust your gut and act on it. All is available now with everything broken down. Rebuild.



Discussions is a new series of conversations with contemporary music figures. Please submit proposals to modernslove@gmail.com.


Kevin Press

The Moderns, vols. 1-3 – available exclusively from Amazon

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