Janiva Magness’ new album Original stretches the artistic boundaries of roots, rock and soul music. Its 11 songs seamlessly weave all three genres into a highly original approach defined by nakedly honest storytelling and the live-wire emotionalism of Magness’ two-and-a-half octave range, buoyed by arrangements that effortlessly blend traditional sounds with edgy experimentation.
Original finds the Los Angeles-based artist undefeated — turning in her finest recorded vocal performances, co-writing a majority of tracks for the first time and testing herself by taking risks along with her production foil Dave Darling, whose credits include Glen Campbell, Brian Setzer, Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx and Stray Cats, and whose instincts compelled Magness to tap her deepest creative powers and led the songs to sonically unpredictable places.
“I always want to push myself,” she explains, “but this album demanded a high level of vulnerability to tell the absolute truth in every song, holding nothing back. It was frightening, at times, to be so raw in public. Dave drove me and even tricked me when he needed to. This is also an album that couldn’t be made with another record company, because we needed to be able to go wherever we wanted musically to tell its stories.”
“Now, I’m really looking forward to getting out and performing these songs live,” the artist continues. “When you’re on stage in front of an audience that’s singing along to your own songs, there’s no better feeling — and no place I’d rather be — in the world.”