At the risk of sounding like she’s living in an ABBA song, Janey Kirk has been around music her entire life, writes Adam Shaw.
Singing was in her family – her auntie used to gig around Scotland – and her house was filled with tunes for as long as she can remember.
In the words of Benny and Björn, and her own mother, she was “singing before she could talk”.
She knew immediately that her future wasn’t in academia. What she loved doing, and what she was good at, was what lay ahead.
“I’ve never been very academic but I was always able to sing and I knew that was what I wanted to do,” she says.
“When I was at school, I used to sing outside the gates and people would give me bars of chocolate and threepenny pieces.
“People would ask me to sing at functions and I’d travel along with my auntie to perform with her.”
As soon as she could, Janey (right) set about materialising her musical career. She gained a regular spot at a hotel before going on the circuit; something she’s been doing for “an awful long time now”.
She’s had a long and successful time performing with the likes of Billy Jo Spears, Philomena Begley and Lena Martell.
And although she is always looking to better herself, she has always obeyed the mantra that things should be done on her own terms.
“I’ve always seen what I do as fun. Of course it’s a job and you have to deliver, professionally, but I never take things too seriously.
If anything goes wrong or don’t go my way, it doesn’t get to me. “I’ve never been one for wearing somebody’s uniform; I’ve always wanted things to be done how I want them to be done.”
This has extended to her own television slot on Phil Mack’s Keep it Country TV.
She now produces a weekly programme called The Janey Kirk TV Show which showcases some of her own stuff alongside that of people she’s met during her career.
It began as a half an hour slot but she has since turned it into a full hour, filling the difference with a number of high-quality r e cording s f r o m D u n d e e ’ s Caird Hall.
Scottish and Irish
“I didn’t want it to be a case of me just playing the music from the likes of Dolly Parton; I wanted it to be my own stuff, some of my daughter’s stuff and from Scottish and Irish artists I’d come across over the years.
“We film a lot of artists – preferably country artists – in Dundee where we make them a little music video with some really good equipment.
“We film in bulk because I have to hire out the hall from my own pocket. Then we get them to sing over their tracks and it’s like watching Top of the Pops.”
Again, in typical fashion, Janey is very certain on the type of music she wants to showcase. She explains that she tries to produce a mixture – 50s, rock, ballads – and that when it comes to country music, she tends to be very selective.
“I’ve had some seriously good guests, Lena Martell, The Tartan Boys, Charlie Landsborough, Rose Marie, Tony Burrows, to name just a few,” she said.
However, she’s built up a dedicated following who share her taste and hopes to attract many more people through her show.
And while music is obviously her first love, she has decided to develop her programme further by throwing in an element of humour.
Towards the end of each segment, viewers are treated to two older ladies and their series of high jinks.
“But I did get a bit bored just doing music, so now I’ve added some comedy sketches in at the end.
“Again, it’s budget TV, it’s a bit of fun. It’s not meant to be the next Chewin’ the Fat or Little Britain, it’s just two old characters called Dorris and Daisy who get up to a load of crony capers.
“I put it on at the end of the show because there will be people who just want the music and, if they don’t want to watch the comedy, they can simply switch it off.”
There are many reasons why Janey has made the move to television. She wants to be able to encourage her daughter, Carla, to get involved in the industry, since it is something for which she has shown an interest in and aptitude.
She wants to use it as an outlet as her husband recovers from dementia treatment and also wants to reward all the people she’s formed great relationships with over the years. And, of course, she is doing it for herself.
She says she is “not looking for fame” but she still wants to get her name out there in the hope of landing bigger gigs.
Whatever happens, however, her approach will not change. She will sing what she wants to sing, show what she wants to show and will carry on introducing audiences to more adventures via Dorris and Daisy.
After all, ever since day one, music, for her, is meant to be fun.
The Janey Kirk TV Show airs on Keep it Country TV (Sky 389, Freesat 516) at 11pm every Wednesday and is repeated on Saturdays at 11am. For more information about Janey’s music call 0161 929 5224 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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