Janelane is the solo project of Sophie Negrini an artist born and based in Los Angeles. Aged twelve, Sophie taught herself to play the guitar and began writing songs, using it as an outlet for her childhood spent daydreaming and listening to the classic-pop sounds of The Beatles, Todd Rundgren and The Carpenters. Back in 2013, Sophie took Janelane to the stage for the first time and in 2015 she shared her debut EP, Peaches and Cream. After a five-year recording hiatus, while she focused on her role as the guitarist in Peach Kelli Pop, Janelane returned in 2020 with a string of singles, culminating this year in the April release of her new EP, Okay with Dancing Alone, shared via Astoria Tracks.
Okay with Dancing Alone sets out its stall early on the de facto title track Goodbye To Heartache, a song of delightful contradictions. The track bounds in on a pulse of keyboard chords, sounding upbeat to the point of delirium, with a certain sense it’s trying a little too hard to convince itself to crack a smile, as Sophie sings of, “elementary humiliation every time, I try my best to say goodbye to heartache, telling myself I’m okay with dancing alone”. It’s a mixed message repeated throughout a record that regularly pairs upbeat music with lyrics that read like a forced smile, take Ask Me Why, where Sophie lays it bare, singing, “I’m just a friendly face, faking a smile to my daydream”, over a sprightly backing that sounds like someone having the time of her life. The one change to the happy music/saw word dichotomy is the closing track, Fool For Yesterday, where Janelane suddenly becomes just flat-out sad, Sophie plaintively singing, “I put my heart on the line when I knew deep down that you’d leave me behind”, over a backing of trilling acoustic guitars, and sounding like a forgotten track from a turn-of-the-millennium independent rom-com. On the surface Okay with Dancing Alone is a brilliant EP of pop songs, yet scratch the surface and there’s something a little less sun-dripped lying underneath, Janelane are back and they might just be better than ever.
FTR: For those who don’t know who are Janelane?
Janelane is essentially my solo project where I write and sing all of the songs, though I have always had my amazingly talented friends backing me up as my band (currently Nic Hessler, Shelly Schimek, and Brian Rodriguez in my live band).
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
My first ever performance as Janelane was at a teeny ass bookstore called the Battery in South Pasadena in like…2013. The walls were stacked to the ceiling with towers of tattered books, the floors covered in dollar record bins, and all of my closest friends packed the place. I played my first originals and covered “I’m a Dick” by the Muffs with my sister and her boyfriend on bass and drums. When my friend was making the flyer and asked what i wanted to be billed as, I just picked the name Janelane, and I’ve stuck with it ever since!
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
My dad is a voice teacher, so I used to wake up every morning to mariachis and musical theater performers singing in our living room in the wee hours of the morning. I can’t imagine growing up without music, and writing songs just came naturally to me as a form of expression. I can’t really explain it…nothing fills my heart as much as singing. I think there was a brief moment in elementary school where I wanted to be a painter or something, but then my sister introduced me to the Beatles when I was 8. That changed everything.
FTR: What can people expect from the Janelane live show?
You’ll have to come see for yourself!
FTR: What’s next for Janelane?
My new EP, “Okay with Dancing Alone” is out now now on Astoria Tracks! And a whole lot more music is on the way after that!
They Listen To…
Lola Colette – Flower in Bloom
Dear Boy – Say When
Twen – HaHaHome
Mo Dotti – Loser Smile
Bookclub – Her