Jam Sessions: Women Of The Scene. A Sit Down With Hayley Jane.
Words by Sarah Bourque
Photography by TJ Mulhall
Published May 17, 2016
ShowTheShow sat down with Hayley Jane, of Hayley Jane and The Primates, for our first in a series of articles on women musicians in the jam scene. We wanted to take a closer look at these incredible women, who bring such joy to their fans, by presenting readers with a series of interviews spread out through the spring and summer months. With festival season soon kicking into high gear, we hope you enjoy these closer looks, and intimate conversations, with some of the jam scenes favorite women.
STS: Who are people that you looked up to when you were younger, and what has been your journey from then to now? When did you realize this is what you wanted to do?
HJ: Joni Mitchell was a big one for me. It jumped around a lot. I’m the youngest of three, and my parents were both working two jobs. They were very busy, and my two older sisters were best friends. Getting my family’s attention was next to impossible. Then, this woman I would meet with after class in the 4th grade, I think I was ten years old, said that I could sing. I didn’t know what that meant or what I could do. She called my mother and said, “can I please work with your daughter after school on this day and this day?” All my mom heard was, “you want to take my daughter after school.” So it was like free child care. She taught me the song, “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” from the Lion King. For my 4th grade talent show I got up on stage and my whole family was sitting in the second row looking up at me. I never had all of their attention all at once before. I looked down and they were all looking at me and I thought “I’m going to do this forever.” Your intentions change as you grow. It’s not all about the attention anymore. There’s so much music. I keep discovering things.
I moved to Boston when I was 19 years old. I was hanging out with these kids that were going to Berklee College of Music and they were playing Led Zeppelin. I looked at them and said, “who is this?” All of them just turned to me and were like “what?” My parents weren’t very musical. I listened to Top 40 and whatever was on the radio. Luckily it was the ’90’s, so that was awesome. I grew up with Jewel and Alanis [Morisette]. Females with guitars were my favorite. Joni Mitchell was a big one. Her lyrics did it for me.
STS: What has been the biggest obstacle that you’ve faced as a woman?
HJ: We’re very emotional creatures. I found myself very distracted by love and men and all of that, but it’s also a huge inspiration. It feeds the art. I think that my biggest obstacle, to be totally honest, is myself. My own insecurities. I’ve had a lot of people helping me. Everyone else has been very supportive and helpful. I have a lot of amazing people and the band’s amazing.
STS: What has been the most amazing opportunity that you’ve had with an artist or band?
HJ: I had a great time doing a Prince tribute with some amazing artists. Mike Greenfield from Lotus, Aaron Magner from The Disco Biscuits and Marcus Rezak from Digital Tape Machine, and Nephrock. The horn players were stacked. Louis Cato, on bass, was amazing and very helpful during rehearsal. I’m not as trained as those people are. I was trying to learn a harmony for “Little Red Corvette” and he just sang it to me in numbers.
STS: You are blowing up. A lot of people are excited about you. What are you most looking forward to this year?
HJ: Catskill Chill. My first time ever playing Catskill Chill was on my 30th birthday. We played, then I ran over and sat in with Stratosphere All-stars and did “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie. Catskill’s a big one that we’re looking forward to. Jerry Jam is a smaller festival but it’s one of my favorite festivals. I’m really looking forward to it.
We’re also putting out an album. We’re recording it in August. Craig [Brodhead] from Turkuaz is producing it. Jocko, [Jason Randall], from More Sound is engineering. We’re coming out with a Kickstarter. Those things are nerve wracking. Bill Carbone is playing drums on the album as well.
STS: What do you want to say to young women that are interested in music but don’t know how to get into it? What tid bits do you have for young women that want to be musicians?
HJ: It’s bravery. Overcoming insecurity is a tough thing to do. Janis Joplin is a great example because she really cared about what other people thought. She wanted everybody to love her. Women, we want everyone to love us, especially other women. Letting go and bravery are the two things.
Practice and focus. It’s really hard work. You get back what you put in. When we started to work a little harder, we started to get better shows. When we started to write better songs, we started to get more interested audiences that were singing the words to our songs. When you get up on a stage, and it’s not a catwalk, it’s just a stage, you feel like “I better have something else to give.” It makes you focus on what you have inside.
For more information on Hayley Jane and the Primates, please visit their official website.