Jane Siberry: Wikis


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Jane Siberry
Also known as Issa
Born October 12, 1955 (1955-10-12) (age 54)
Toronto, Ontario
Origin Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Genres pop, folk, vocal jazz
Occupations Singer-songwriter, composer, musician, record producer, poet
Instruments Singing, guitar, keyboards, computer
Years active 1981–present
Labels Sheeba, Duke Street, Open Air, Windham Hill, Street, East Side Digital, Reprise, Rhino
Associated acts John Switzer, Brian Eno, K.D. Lang, Hector Zazou, Peter Gabriel, Rebecca Jenkins, Holly Cole, Mary Margaret O'Hara, Victoria Williams
Website www.issalight.com

Jane Siberry (born October 12, 1955 in Toronto, Ontario)[1] is a Canadian singer-songwriter, known for such hits as "Mimi on the Beach", "I Muse Aloud", "One More Colour" and "Calling All Angels". She has also released material under the name Issa.

Her music has drawn from a wide variety of styles, ranging from new wave rock on her earlier albums to a reflective pop style influenced by jazz, folk, gospel, classical and liturgical music in her later work.


Career history

Siberry was studying music and microbiology at the University of Guelph when she released her debut album, Jane Siberry in 1981 (see 1981 in music). The album was relatively successful for an independent release, but the follow-up, No Borders Here was critically acclaimed and included the underground hit "Mimi on the Beach".

The Speckless Sky (1985, see 1985 in music) was a commercial and critical success, and Siberry moved to a major label in time for The Walking (1988, see 1988 in music), which was a critical success but popular failure. The Walking was released on Reprise Records internationally, but remained on Duke Street Records in Canada. Reprise would become her Canadian record label as well with her next album, Bound By the Beauty in 1989.

In 1993 (see 1993 in music), Siberry worked with Michael Brook and Brian Eno on When I Was a Boy. That album's most famous song, the k.d. lang duet "Calling All Angels", first appeared in Wim Wenders' Until the End of the World, and was later re-recorded for the Pay It Forward soundtrack. The album was noted particularly for its introduction of the more spiritually-oriented themes that have become a hallmark of her later work.[2]

Following the release Maria (1995, see 1995 in music), Siberry founded her own independent label, Sheeba Records. She has released all of her subsequent material on that label. Her public profile has been lower since she became an independent artist; however, she retains a devoted cult following. All of her independent albums have presented material organized around a particular theme, such as Christmas music, songs about communication, or traditional spiritual music.


Early in 2006, Siberry closed her Sheeba office, then sold and gave away nearly all of her possessions—including her home and instruments. She presently retains one travelling guitar, but none of the other instruments featured on her albums and in her concerts. In 2006, she told The Globe and Mail that she had kept a very few precious possessions, including her Miles Davis CDs, in storage.[3]

On June 3, 2006, somewhere in northwestern Europe, Siberry changed her name to Issa. She revealed her new name to the public on June 24, 2006. She has also indicated, however, that her older music will remain available for sale under the name Jane Siberry; only her new material will be released as Issa. She indicated to The Globe and Mail that she chose the name Issa as a feminine variant of Isaiah.[3]

On July 4, 2006, she gave a lecture at University of British Columbia in Vancouver on the topic of "Cracking the Egg: A Look from the Inside". She began with a poetic meditation on science and life, and then opened the floor up to questions from the audience. She talked about her recent adventures in decommodifying her life, her change in name, and her new conception of herself as an artist.

In 2006 and 2007, she documented the process of recording some thirty new songs in her journal, posted on her MySpace page and on issalight.com. In autumn 2008 she finalized three albums. The first one is entitled Dragon Dreams, and was released on December 12, 2008.

In 2009, she released With What Shall I Keep Warm?, with both names, Issa and Jane Siberry listed on the cover.

In December 2009, Siberry notified her fans that she had recently changed her name from Issa back to Jane Siberry.

Musical style

Her music is most commonly compared to artists such as Kate Bush, Joni Mitchell and Laurie Anderson. She has cited Van Morrison and Miles Davis as being strong creative influences.

Siberry has often criticized the competitive power of commercial radio and the recording industry.[4] In 2005, Siberry pioneered a self-determined pricing policy through her website[5] on which the purchaser is given the choices of: standard price (about $0.99 USD/track), pay now - self-priced, pay later - self-priced, or "a gift from Jane". In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Siberry confirmed that since she had instituted the self-determined pricing policy, the average income she receives per song from Sheeba customers is in fact slightly more than standard price.[3][6]

Personal life

She is a vegetarian.[7]


On August 30, 2005, Jane Siberry was awarded the 2005 Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award in music by the Canada Council for the Arts.[8]



as Jane Siberry

as Issa

  • Dragon Dreams (2008)
  • With What Shall I Keep Warm? (2009)

Compilation albums

She has also contributed tracks to a number of movie soundtracks and compilation albums:

  • Until the End of the World, 1991 ("Calling All Angels")
  • Kick at the Darkness, 1991 ("A Long Time Love Song", duet with Martin Tielli)
  • Toys, 1992 ("Happy Workers (reprise)")
  • The Crow, 1994 ("It Can't Rain All the Time")
  • Faraway, So Close, 1994 ("Slow Tango")
  • Time and Love: The Music of Laura Nyro, 1997 ("When I Think of Laura Nyro")
  • Women Like Us: Lesbian Favorites,[9] 1997 ("Temple")
  • Pay It Forward, 1998 ("Calling All Angels")
  • Care Bears: Journey to Joke-a-lot, 2004 ("With All Your Heart")
  • Whatever: The 90s Pop and Culture Box, 2005 ("Calling All Angels")


Her song "One More Colour" was covered by Sarah Polley on the soundtrack to The Sweet Hereafter, and by the Rheostatics on their Introducing Happiness album. K.D. Lang covered "The Valley" and "Love Is Everything" on her album Hymns of the 49th Parallel.

Rock Plaza Central covered "You Don't Need" on their album The World Was Hell to Us.

The Wailin' Jennys have covered "Calling All Angels" on their 2009 album Live at the Mauch Chunk Opera House.


  1. ^ Buckley, Peter (2003). The Rough Guide to Rock (3rd ed.). Rough Guides. pp. 933. ISBN 1843531054. http://books.google.com/books?id=7ctjc6UWCm4C&pg=RA66-PR106&lpg=RA66-PR106&source=web&ots=YCiiyoVMH9. Retrieved 2008-02-16. "Born Toronto, Canada, October 12, 1955"  
  2. ^ Scott Gray, "Sing a Little Sweeter". Ascent.
  3. ^ a b c Gill, Alexandra (2006-09-30). "Just a Knapsack and Her Manolos",The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2006-04-03.
  4. ^ Adria, Marco, "Very Siberry," Music of Our Times: Eight Canadian Singer-Songwriters (Toronto: Lorimer, 1990), p. 126.
  5. ^ Jane Siberry's Sheeba.ca website with a self-determined pricing policy, [1].
  6. ^ Jane Siberry Opens a Window On a Better Download World", Electronic Frontier Foundation, November 28, 2005. Retrieved 2007-08-14.
  7. ^ "GoVeg.com // Carrie Underwood and Kevin Eubanks Voted World's Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrities". Archived from the original on 2007-10-14. http://web.archive.org/web/20071014000314/http://www.goveg.com/feat/sexiestveg2007/.  
  8. ^ Canada Council for the Arts, news release, 30 August, 2005, [2]. (English) (French)
  9. ^ Rhino Entertainment, Various Artists, Women Like Us: Lesbian Favorites, Rhino.com online store, [3].

External links


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