Jane Siberry Biography
Celebrated as much by fellow artists as critics and fans, her involvement has long been sought for films and collaborations: Her now classic 'Calling All Angels' duet with k.d. lang appeared in Wim Wenders' Until The End Of The World, while her hopeful 'It Can't Rain All The Time' was written specifically for The Crow. Her input has graced album projects by such esteemed and varied artists as Peter Gabriel, Indigo Girls, and Joe Jackson. Siberry has also been invited to participate on noteworthy special projects such as Time & Love: The Music Of Laura Nyro, to which she contributed an original medley of Nyro songs.
It is on her own 12 albums that Siberry has established herself as a uniquely gifted singer and composer. Her discography now totals 12 albums; the last five have been self-released through her Toronto-based label, SHEEBA Records. The most recent of these recordings is the long-awaited New York Trilogy CD collection, the outcome of her extraordinary series of three theme concerts at New York City's Bottom Line nightclub in autumn 1996. The Trilogy consists of the two single-disc titles Tree: Music For Films And Forests and Lips: Music For Saying It, as well as the two-disc Child: Music For The Christmas Season, released October 1997. Siberry's other SHEEBA releases include 1997's A Day In The Life, a frenzied, 29-minute sound collage of a day in New York City made up of voice-mail messages, cab conversations, arguments with hairdressers, moments from yoga class, and excerpts of studio adventures with fellow artists Joe Jackson, Darol Anger, k.d. lang, and Patty Larkin. In addition, Siberry's first release on SHEEBA was 1996's Teenager, a special collection of songs that Siberry wrote as a teenage musician.
Shortly after writing the songs to be later recorded for Teenager, Siberry began her professional musical career while waiting tables and studying microbiology at the University of Guelph in Ontario. In 1981, she released her self-titled debut album, Jane Siberry, independently, having financed it with her waitressing tips and bartered studio time. In 1984, she signed with a small Canadian label that later joined forces with A&M/Windham Hill in releasing No Borders Here, yielding the hit 'Mimi On The Beach' (a surprising sequel to the Siberry classic, 'Mimi Speaks,' appears on Lips--Music For Saying It). Her 1985 album The Speckless Sky brought Siberry her first music awards, as it reached Gold status in Canada and garnered two People's Choice Awards for Album and Producer of the Year in Canada. In addition, the lead track from the album, 'One More Colour,' was later used by director Atom Egoyan in his film The Sweet Hereafter.
Signed to Warner/Reprise in 1987, Siberry released The Walking, and embarked on an acclaimed international tour. Bound By The Beauty, (1989) brought a wry sense of humour and an acoustic simplicity to Siberry's growing body of work. This recording attracted attention from producer and ambient music pioneer Brian Eno, who offered to produce some tracks for her next album, 1993's When I Was A Boy. This recording became Siberry's biggest commercial success, and included such hits as 'Sail Across The Water,' 'Temple,' and 'Calling All Angels.'
The jazz-inspired Maria followed in 1995 and explored new musical territory. This record motivated Siberry to start her own independent record label as a means to better satisfy both her fans and her own desire to create varied artistic projects unfettered by the commercial constraints of a major label. Following her departure from Warner/Reprise, Siberry boldly launched SHEEBA Records in 1996.
Having envisioned her label as a vehicle to pursue additional projects beyond her recorded work, Siberry's goal for SHEEBA is to distribute "All Things Siberry." Along with her first five music releases, Siberry has published two books through SHEEBA: S W A N in 1998 and One Room Schoolhouse in 1999. The label has relied primarily on a highly active website (www.sheeba.ca), which serves as a resource for information on new releases and tour dates, and has evolved into a forum for discovery and input among those who follow Siberry's career. By way of the web, Siberry seeks advice from the public on a variety of topics, which have ranged from suggestions on new website designs to tips on growing roses. In addition, she occasionally holds creative fund-raising efforts (she auctioned a guitar and her first gold record, and sold advance copies of new releases). The SHEEBA site also sells an extensive catalogue of Siberry and SHEEBA recordings, books, videos, and merchandise.
In accordance with the inventive nature of Siberry's music and SHEEBA Records, in 1998 she devised a series of three-part, weekend-long Siberry Salons, which consisted of two performances, a workshop, and dinner at intimate, nontypical venues such as art galleries and loft apartments. Through these and her other pursuits, Siberry has taken full control of her career, both creatively and commercially.
"Lack of cash has been a great teacher," says Siberry, "but creative control is a rare thing. As head of my own label, I've had a lot of lessons in a short period of time that have put me in a much better position as a human being and creative person. I've enjoyed having the mystery removed from the 'artist's life' thing, so that the fans are seeing how it really is!"