Singer/songwriter Jan Hellriegel broke new ground for local female artists when she became the first to sign with a major label in NZ in the early 90s. She’s recorded several successful studio albums – including hit Warners debut It’s My Sin in 1992, Tremble , and most recently the critically-acclaimed All Grown Up. The video for her first single The Way I Feel is one of the most popular local videos of all time and the song is considered a NZ pop classic. Jan’s toured and played with many international acts including The Cure, Jeff Buckley and David Byrne and provided vocals for top local bands like Straitjacket Fits, the Verlaines and The Mutton Birds – it’s Jan’s voice on their 1992 hit Nature. She combines writing and recording with occasional live performances and has a high profile role in the local music industry. She is working on new material for release later this year. She says choosing just five albums is hard given her role at Native Tongue Music Publishing where she is constantly introduced to great music from around the world and from New Zealand. Her choices here reflect pretty much what she’s been listening to in the week previous to writing this – it was the only way she could whittle down the list. So, here are five albums she’s loving right now…
1 – Mulholland, Eugene Told Me You Were Dead: This album represents everything that is good about NZ Music to me. It is fresh, original sounding and is unique. It makes no apology, doesn’t yell Made in NZ and isn’t trying to sound like a hand me down American sweater. It’s great music so the odds are you won’t get to hear it on local radio so best you order it online or from your favourite record store if you want to try it on for size.
2 – The Band, The Last Waltz: I downloaded this album last week because it has always been a favourite of mine – there are so many great live performances. It also transports me back to my student days when I was free, spent a lot of time at the beach and didn’t have to worry about feeding kids and the mortgage. It is true escapism.
3 – Julie London, The Very Best Of: I have always got a Julie London song playing on my stereo or through my headphones at some stage during the week. She is one of the great singers to which I aspire. She also sings songs, which are really well written. As a songwriter and a singer this sort of music keeps me on my toes.
4 – The Bads, Travel Light: I had a little sneak peak of this album which is coming out in March, 2013 and I am totally in awe of Dianne Swann and Brett Adams. They are very clever and this album just compounds this statement. Get this album when it’s out. It is a goodun’.
5 – Minuit, Last Night You Saw This Band: This is getting a lot of spins on my stereo – it came out just before Christmas and I am really enjoying it. I always enjoy Minuit albums – like a beautifully wrapped present you never quite know what you are going to get until it’s open it but you know it’s going to be good.