The "Better Times" Project

Janis Ian & Friends


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A Note From Janis

Janis Ian

On April 8, 2020, the day after John Prine died, I was doing laundry when a chorus began running around in my head. Two hours later, I sang the new song into my old phone (dog barking in the background), and put it on line. My colleagues and I had just lost all our 2020 shows due to the pandemic. Knowing how many of us would suffer financially, I suggested  a few of them make “home-grown” versions of my new song. I’d put them on line, with leads to social media, and try to create new fans and sell a bit of merchandise for everyone. First was John Gorka: 70,000 hits later, it clearly helped raise awareness of his work. Then a quarantined parent emailed that coloring books were sold out, so Sue Coccia and Sandra Boynton helped me begin “coloring pages”. Donna Russo, a dancer friend in a wheelchair, sent me a video; Frank Turner and Mary Black signed on, and now there are versions from punk to American Sign Language to Japanese. It’s an illustration of the many ways one song can be used, and a reminder that you don’t have to be a professional to make art. Every version here was done from lockdown and quarantine, with birds, dogs, children in the background. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that we enjoy it, give voice to it, and remember that someday, better times will come. Thanks, and stay safe. 

Janis Ian

Janis Ian - Better Times Will Come

Berklee College of Music Keynote Speech

Janis Ian - Keynote Speech 2010 - Berklee College of Music

Listen to Janis talk about the responsibilities and joys of being an artist, the necessity for artists to be members of the community, and her strong feeling that art transcends all borders.