RockEyez recently conducted an interview with VIXEN frontwoman Janet Gardner. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On her health status after having surgery in January to remove blood clots in her brain, a condition known as a subdural hematoma:
Janet: "I'm really feeling great. There's just a couple of little, tiny things that kind of still are bugging me a little, but I'm amazed at how quickly your body can heal itself. I've really been blown away by the amount of support and well-wishes and just great stuff coming from everybody. I feel so blessed."
On her self-titled debut solo album, which was recorded with her husband, guitarist/producer Justin James and was released last August:
Janet: "Last year, we moved into a new house and we set up a studio. We really didn't have any plans. We were just kind of, you know, we're both musicians and knew we'd be down there making music one way or the other. I think we were kind of scared to be working together because we thought, 'What if it doesn't work?' 'What if we don't connect in that way?' Or maybe there will be hurt feelings if anyone is really sensitive. It was totally the opposite. It brought us closer together. We loved every minute of it. We laughed. We were able to make fun of ourselves and each other. We just really, really enjoyed it. When we were doing [one song], we thought, let's do another one and another one and all of the sudden, we had enough material that we were happy with to put it out there. We didn't really know what to do. We thought 'Let's do it ourselves. We'll put it out and we'll see what happens.' Then we put the teaser video on YouTube and it got the attention of Pavement [Entertainment] and we started talking to them. It worked out great. We're having so much fun with it."
On whether she'll hit the road in support of her solo album:
Janet: "Yeah, when the album first came out in August, we did a run of shows. We did the east coast and Midwest. Then, of course, we did some Texas shows, we went out west and that's when I had my crazy event [with blood clots in her brain]. So, that put a stop to it for a while. We were supposed to do a bunch of dates in January and had to cancel all of those, so now we're making those up this month. I have a crazy, busy summer with VIXEN, so that's going to be mostly what's going on then, but we'll pick back up in the fall and do some more dates."
On the differences in recording an album from her VIXEN days compared to now:
Janet: "Oh, my god — it's completely different. Now, you get a computer, a couple of plug-ins and you're good to go. Back then, you go into an expensive studio and the timeclock was ticking, there was a lot of pressure to get it done and get it done fast because it was expensive, every second you were in there was like 'Cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching!' Now, it's great. We wake up in the morning, Justin and I, we walk downstairs, have a cup of coffee: 'Alright, let's start working.' We walk in, take our time. If you don't like it, you do it over. It's so much different."
On whether she needs a record company to release her music:
Janet: "You know, I really love the guys at Pavement because I'm not very good at doing that stuff myself. If I was good at it, I would say, 'Yeah, you don't need a record company.' But I'm not good at promoting myself, I'm not good at the business aspect of a lot of this stuff. You know, I want to sing, I want to write songs, I want to enjoy myself. It's great to have somebody that they are so good at letting the artist be the best they can be. They do very little intervention unless they feel really strongly that something you're doing can be better. I mean, to me, I think it's forced record companies to be a little bit more willing to go with the artist because you know, you can just go 'I'll just put it out myself then. What do I need you for?' They've been really great at that. So, yeah, I suppose you don't, but still, the really high-level stuff that happens even in this day and age, the major labels still have an awful lot of power, even over things you would think that they still do. But, they managed to find a way to keep that dominance, just little placements on different streaming services, things like that that you can't get unless you're with a major label. So, you can do a little independent release, but you're not going to have huge success without a label, I don't think."
Janet recently released an official music video for the song "Candle". The singer described it as a "really heartfelt" track that she wrote about her parents. "They both passed away within a gap of two years from each other," she explained. "I was with my dad when he took his last breath and the emotional impact of that… I still feel it to this day. So that song, even though it was hard to put into words, means a lot to me."