Janette King is an artist-producer, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and DJ based in Montréal, Canada. Drawing from influences such as Erykah Badu and SZA, King serves an R&B groove that outwardly elegant, yet gritty and honest at the core. Zoë Argiropulos-Hunter had the chance to chat with Janette about her most recent EP 143 and ask for her advice on how to navigate the music industry as an emerging artist.
Zoë Argiropulos-Hunter for Pink Things: From past interviews that I’ve read, I know that you started out in Vancouver. What brought you to Montréal? Has the city influenced you creatively in any way?
Janette King: I came to Montréal for a few reasons. One, the electronic music scene here is booming in comparison to Vancouver’s and that was the direction I wanted to explore. Two, I wanted to live in a city that I could actually afford to be an artist in, as the rent in Vancouver is ridiculous. Finally, a bunch of my idols made it big in Montréal and I wanted to see if the city really did have magical powers. I've made a lot of friends here and have definitely been inspired. I love the relaxed, yet driven vibe of Montréal and it's very creative residents.
PT: Your most recent EP, 143, walked listeners through the many different sides of love and relationships. I’m curious to know; how did you work with your own vulnerability? What kind of impact did revealing your most intimate feelings have on you as an artist?
JK: It's always scary to share how you’re feeling in any circumstance; let alone allowing strangers to listen to your bleeding heart whenever they please. However, sharing really is caring, but mostly healing. Working through my emotions in the form of writing music is a kind of therapy and if I can help people through my music, then it becomes therapy for those that need it too.
PT: On a different note, this past year, you lead a workshop to provide LGBTQT+, BIPOC and Womxn information on how to receive funding and properly apply for FACTOR grants (a Canadian grant for artist development). What are some of the general messages from your workshop that you would give as advice to folks trying to navigate their respective paths in the music industry? Especially if they feel like they are facing some iteration of systemic adversity as an artist.
JK: I would tell them to be their unique selves in their application. The jury are often looking to broaden their scope, so if they see that you are special they may be more inclined to give their funding to someone different than the usual grant recipient. That being said, if you don’t get the grant the first time you apply, always try again. Always remember that jury members aren’t permanent. So, maybe this round "Ted" (who thinks RnB is dead but for some reason is in the RnB jury group) gave you a bad score, but the next round he probably won't be there… so try again!
PT: For our readers coming down to Montreal for Hot Tramp Fest, what can we expect from your performance?
JK: You can expect a full band with a mélange of acoustic and electronic instruments. I'll be performing my full EP plus some unreleased tracks. I'll also have some vocal effects and maybe some dancing!
PT: As we always ask at Pink Things, what does the colour pink mean to you?
JK: Pink reminds me that I can be soft and be strong at the same time. Our vaginas are pink and allow us many pleasures, but they are also the canal through which we bring life into this world. Soft and strong.
This interview was conducted via email and has been condensed and edited.
Hot Tramp Fest
Malaika Astorga is our Creative Director, and is currently based in Montreal. She is an illustrator, photographer, designer and writer.