With his intense guitar playing and reflective lyrics, singer/songwriter Jann Klose has created a buzz about himself in the Ithaca community, especially since he moved here. His alternative acoustic style has been likened to John Mayer, but the stories his songs tell are all his own. Staff writer Alexandra Palombo spoke to Klose about the details on his upcoming show Feb. 21 at the Lost Dog Café.
Alexandra Palombo: What made you want to come to Ithaca to play?
Jann Klose: I have a home here now, that’s one part. And the other is that I play in this region pretty regularly, so I sort of spend my time between New York City, Ithaca and the road. So it’s kind of my other hometown now.
AP: I saw there’s a song on the album called Ithaca. What in the town influenced you to write that song?
JK: The weather. It was one of those snowy, very cold days, and Ithaca has this quality of being very beautiful in every season — that’s my feeling. So the melody came to me one of those days where I was walking outside and it was very cold … it’s very much a mood song.
AP: Is there anything about the music scene here that inspires you?
JK: We really hunt for good venues, venues that support independent music and original music and that attract that kind of audience for that music. As far as the scene is concerned, I get this feeling for Ithaca that it has a very vibrant music scene, that there are a lot of talented musicians [that] play here. This is only my second show here, and I’m still getting to know it.
AP: I saw on your biography that you were born in Germany, lived in Kenya, South Africa and Cleveland. Of the places you lived, which was your favorite?
JK: Probably New York City.
AP: What about New York City makes it feel so homey to you? Why do you like it so much?
JK: Because it is so multicultural, and that’s something I’ve always been drawn to. Probably because I’ve traveled so much. There’s something about New York that just … maybe it’s the aggressiveness, maybe it’s that your survival skills really get tested living there, if you can get through the first year of living there, you can kind of say that you dealt with a lot.
AP: When did you start writing and playing music?
JK: I would say really pursuing it in college, when I lived in Cleveland before I moved to New York in 2000. I made my first two CDs there, while I was in school. [But] I was always making up stuff ever since I was little. I’ve always been that little kid that had a tape player wherever he went and would record whatever ideas and record myself thinking. I’ve always been interested in sort of reflecting.
AP: What kind of music do you like to listen to?
JK: I just got a new car that has a CD player. I grabbed a lot of CDs that I hadn’t listened to for a while. And I was listening to Rickie Lee Jones. I love that woman. I was listening to a record she did called “Like This,” and I love that record. When I listen to music, it really has to grab me. I like to listen to Anthony Johnson, Sufjan Stevens, people like that.
AP: If you could pick anyone in the world to cover one of your songs, who would you pick and why?
JK: K.D. Lang. I would love to have her sing something because I love just listening to her — she’s another one whose singing I’m just in awe of. She’s such a great musician and has such a beautiful voice. If she sang something I wrote, that would be awesome.
AP: If you had any advice for up-and-coming singers, what advice would you give to them about starting out?
JK: If you work hard enough, that’s what’s going to separate you from the rest. It’s very simple, but it requires a lot of persistence and resiliency. Sometimes you don’t get the answer you want, but that doesn’t mean that you’re not good enough. That’s one thing I struggled with in the past. Don’t let it get to you. Don’t take it too seriously.