Jana Jae Interview
by Savina Todorova for Country Music News International
Musical talent runs through the family. Her parents studied at the famed Juilliard School of Music, New York City, and Jana was introduced to the classical study of the violin, on a 1/8 sized instrument, at the age of two. Then, thanks to the direction and inspiration of her grandfather, an accomplished champion fiddler in his own right, Jana also learned to love playing by ear. She virtually grew up jamming with and learning from some of the best in the business while living in western Idaho, not far from Weiser, the site of the National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest. Soon she had honed her skill of fiddling into a fine art and won the Ladies National Championship several times.
Savina: What makes you happier – singing or playing the violin?
Jana: MUSIC makes me happy in whatever form!
Savina: Tell us about your “Fiddle Camp“ teaching the fiddle techniques?
Jana: We have around 100 participants and 20+ instructors teaching all ages, all levels, all acoustic instruments! They work with a group of similar level, similar age, similar interest, and address how to make their instrument their own – from beginners holding the violin and bowing for a good sound to advanced jazz or contest players with new tunes, new licks, new bowing techniques, etc. We have a blast!!
Savina: As a member of National Hall of Fame, what is the best compliment a fan has given you?
Jana: Probably that they can tell I really do love sharing music and love performing. They say I almost always have a smile on my face!
Savina: Do you have children and are your family supportive of your musical career?
Jana: Two children, a son and a daughter, both very supportive of my career, and my son is a professional as well! He is a member of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and they play all over the world! Check them out at http://www.LAGQ.com He’s the tall, curly-headed cute one – ha, proud mom here!!
Savina: Which year was your band formed and are you mostly on the TV Show “Hee Haw“ or tours as well?
Jana: Amazingly, Hee Haw re-runs are still popular and are shown weekly on a couple networks!! I’ve been doing my own live shows, touring with my band since the mid-80’s!!! Just over a year ago, I formed “Kornfield Friends, LLC” to put our Hee Haw show on the road – a new endeavor to have the live shows on the road. We did a couple tv specials to get the word out and celebrate our Hee Haw cast members. We were just rolling along really well when Covid wiped out 2020 and most of 2021 for touring! We will be on the road again this fall – can’t wait!! For tour dates, festivals, etc, visit https://www.janajae.com or https://kornfieldfriends.com
Savina: What do you think of today’s music industry – are you played on Spotify for instance?
Jana: It’s changing so fast!!! The pandemic forced everyone into virtual concerts, virtual lessons, Zoom, Facebook Live, etc. The online radio endeavors have mushroomed as well. iHeart, Spotify, Sirius XM, Pandora – I like them all, and my music is on Spotify and others, iTunes of course, but this really has changed the music scene. I try to support local radio stations as much as possible – they have helped country music careers so much!
Savina: How different is your current CD compared to the previous one?
Jana: “Take Me Back to Tulsa” is more Western Swing than the others and I had some great guests on it. Fans enjoy my “Ashokan Farewell” cd lots – pretty melodies, waltzes, etc.
Savina: Which song is your most favorite one and what is the story behind it?
Jana: Now that’s a hard question!!! I always end my shows with Orange Blossom Special and then everyone stands to sing God Bless America together – that’s moving! Truly, I couldn’t pick a favorite song – too many wonderful melodies and new songs in the making!
Savina: As an artist, you take so many tasks such as recording, touring, interviews. What do you like best, what’s your favorite activity? And also, what do you like to do in your free time?
Jana: There are not enough hours in the day!! I need a 30 hour day because I love recording – never enough time. Interviews are always fun, relaxing! Touring is very high on my list – the road, giving concerts, sharing music, now that’s happiness! Also, we present three summer music festivals annually on beautiful Grand Lake in northeast Oklahoma. It’s so rewarding that I keep doing it! I love family time, love the beach, swimming, skiing, hiking — and playing music with friends!!
Savina: What is the best compliment a fan has given you?
Jana: That my music really makes them happy – and sometimes pulls on heart strings, too!