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Jane Siberry: Her Life and Works

From her beginnings in the early 1980s as a guitar and piano-based folk artist in the coffeehouses and clubs of Toronto through her many musical incarnations, Jane Siberry has established herself as a uniquely gifted singer and composer. Siberry began her professional musical career while waiting tables and earning a science degree at the University of Guelph, 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 song MIMI ON THE BEACH. 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 of the Year and Producer of the Year. 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 hauntingly beautiful and enigmatic THE WALKING. A subsequent tour of Europe, Japan and Australia led to the accolades "heart stopping" and "spellbinding" from the press across both ponds. In 1989, BOUND BY THE BEAUTY brought a wry sense of humor and an acoustic simplicity to Siberry’s growing body of work. Recorded in the middle of an apple orchard, the album 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 – a duet with k.d. lang which first appeared in Wim Wenders’ film UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD and was later re-recorded for the soundtrack PAY IT FORWARD.

The jazz-inspired MARIA followed in 1995, exploring new musical territory including the epic 22 minute OH MY MY. Following this, Siberry left Warner/Reprise and boldly launched her own independent label 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." The label has put out seven new recordings, including the 1996 album TEENAGER, comprised of early songs wrote by Siberry in her teens. Sheeba also released THE NEW YORK TRILOGY collection which was the outcome of her extraordinary series of three theme concerts at New York City’s Bottom Line nightclub in the autumn of 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 in October 1997. Other SHEEBA releases include 1997’s A DAY IN THE LIFE which is an adventurous, 29-minute sound collage of a day in New York City made up of voice-mail messages, cab rides, moments from yoga class, and excerpts of studio adventures with fellow artists Joe Jackson, Darol Anger, k.d. lang, and Patty Larkin. 2000 saw the release of HUSH, a collection of traditional American and Celtic spirituals that have the ambiance of lullabies.

Along with her music releases, Siberry has published three books through SHEEBA: SWAN in 1998, ONE ROOM SCHOOLHOUSE by invitation of NARAS in 1999, and NEW YEARS BABY in 2000. The label has relied primarily on a highly active web site (www.janesiberry.com), that sells an extensive catalogue of Siberry recordings, books, videos, and clothing, as well as serving as a resource for information on new releases and tour dates. The site has taken on a life of its own, 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 web site designs to tips on growing roses.

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, non-typical 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.

In the fall of 2001 Jane released City, comprised of collaborations with artists as diverse as Peter Gabriel, Joe Jackson, Sotoma Takafumi and Barney the purple dinosaur. Beautifully packaged and rapturously received, it includes Jane's re-recording of "Calling All Angels" and has become one of her most in demand titles. 2002 sees Jane busy on many fronts most notably writing and recording her first full length album of new material in six years, provisionally entitled Lily and scheduled for release in 2003.

Copyright 2002 Sheeba Records