Janiva Magness Reflects On Her 2017 Grammy Nomination for Best Contemporary Blues Album



Janiva Magness’ “Love Wins Again” is nominated for Best Contemporary Blues Album. Janiva is the only female nominated in the category historically dominated by men.


YEAH… So its 3:39 am in England and BOINK… I am wide awake. My first thoughts came… The power of a woman, the strength of love, the beauty of team work.

Yesterday as my husband and I flew over the pond, L.A. to London after another particularly stressful week the blessing of not being able to get online was a welcome break for the 10 1/2 hour window. The schedule involves a dear friends wedding in Yorkshire, a performance for each of us as artists and time to meet friends and the new in laws, all jam packed in.

We eat, watch some movies, I do some catch-up work and sleep deeply. Perfect non-stop flight.

But there is something in the wind and I, like any instinct based creature am often not certain if it is danger I smell approaching or some kind of cosmic shift…I only know I can smell it again!

You might already know this about me, I never expect to “win” in life. Even though the last several years there has been lots of evidence to the contrary. I just don’t expect the universe or the people in it to help me and I never have. I am hardwired for flying solo and hard work.

So it has been quite the journey for me to allow partnership of any kind, find and learn to work with any team. Band members, record companies, etc., yet still retain my autonomy and independence. A real balancing act.

Landing at London Heathrow, we are jet lagged but excited and anticipating the next two weeks, shuffling thru Customs, finding our bags and friends who have come to greet us. Finally turning on the phone and the onslaught of pings and buzzes as my iPhone downloads the business, messages and incorrigible junk mail. Traveling in our friends truck out of Heathrow heading north towards Yorkshire suddenly I see an e mail and voice mail from my Manager Jeff DeLia…

I am definitely feeling the jet lag, in the back seat of a vehicle on the M-1 now and its foggy as hell here… Is this a dream…? Because I think it is some kind of elaborate sleepy mental scheme to give me the illusion of hope again, another big fat carrot to keep me somehow fumbling forward.

Ok, I feel compelled to tell you. And you may already understand that most artists – at least the ones I know, we question ourselves and at times the value of our existence. I guess its just part of the creative mind and certainly part of the growth process. Of course knowing this doesen’t stop the anxiety or pain of having it happen. In my case it has happened so much it’s like a mean old friend. I mean seriously just last week I was venting my frustrations and fears to a close girlfriend. “I am too tired to keep fighting up hill battles and I don’t think I have the energy to keep swimming upstream. Tired of all the pushing. It’s all too hard and the business has changed to the point where it is close to impossible to keep a band together and actually earn a living. It’s a miracle I got this far really. I think I should just stop all this and drive an Uber and do a jam session or karaoke every once in a while…I’m really tired of the fight dammit!!!” I actually had a visual in that moment of me running uncontrollably with the scissors…

The push pull of it ALL. The familiarity of my anxiety and fear, as if that old, dysfunctional friend is just trying to get me to wise up once and for all. Then the lurching motion of my insides when reality (which is an acquired taste for some of us) crashes thru the battalion of my angst and says WAIT! YOU AREN’T FINNISHED YET…
(I am certain by now, I have worn my personal “restart button” down to a nub).

So now I am crying silently in the back seat of the truck as my husband holds my hand and I show him the messages from my manager…he is smiling big and I am quietly crying. I fall asleep as we travel and wake up in the fog wondering again if it was a bizzare and elaborate dream..?

THE POWER OF A WOMAN. THE STRENGTH OF LOVE. This whole thing is “a moment”. You know, a moment when my brain flips to high speed and returns to my childhood, my sisters and brothers, my parents, the dog, the cats, the schools, the tragedies, the Police, the psyche wards, the running running running, the Foster homes, the countless faces I cannot recall all the names, the struggles, the small, medium and large victories, finding love, losing love, all pain, losses and victories.

Anymore these days, it seems impossible for me to experience the changes in my life without this kind of episodic Panavision happening. A high speed retrospective of sorts. I don’t know, it seems like my brain automatically scans the crooked path of entire life up to “this moment”. Then these two words, Grammy Nomination, are impossibly pregnant with the weight of time, life and everything that has occurred traveling to this moment that I frankly never expected.

Here I am and restart has been hit by some outside force yet again… This time in the form of this Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Blues Album – Love Wins Again. A bonafide shout out from the universe … I stand on the high wire, firm my grip on the trapeze and steady my balance one more time…

I realize there is plenty more work to do… Meantime I am taking this as a message, as encouragement from the universe, that as honorable of an occupation as it is to be an Uber driver, its not quite time yet and that the Karaoke rooms will have to wait for me a little bit longer.

Ok, Is a Grammy nomination a marketing tool? You bet – one of the strongest ones out there in the business of music that can greatly help propel a career forward. Is it a personal and profound honor for me? Totally!!! I am truly humbled to be in the swim with all the nominees.

THE BEAUTY OF TEAM WORK… I also really know that this is far from a Grammy win. With lots of work to be done to get the word out, the message must be shouted, and yes votes must be cast before the winner is announced on February 12, 2017.

But I promise you, this is a victory for me. A massive personal victory to see my name and work honored on that list of final and actual Grammy Nominees – the kind of personal victory I never imagined or allowed myself to believe could have my name on it. I mean seriously, dreaming is a delicate risk that I have never found very comfortable.

But boy howdy am I grateful to be partnered with the cracker jack team at Blue Elan’ Records, their artistic licence and solid support, my Producer, friend and mentor Dave Darling who makes it all make sense, my ace Manager Jeff Delia at 72 Music Management, fantastic publicist Cary Baker at Conqueroo, social media marketing Ninja John Oszaka and M.M.M., stellar booking agent Lacey Johnson at Atomic Music Group and of course my Band who bust their asses performing with me on tour as often as is possible. A for-real Dream-Team assembled babies… Oh hell yeah you right!

The power of a woman, the strength of love and the beauty of team work. This is what wakes me at 4 am in Yorkshire and so I try to share with you, my Fans, my friends and folks curious enough to read this blog. Thank you for that. Thank you for sticking, standing, holding my hand steady as she goes. Thank you for all the messages, posts, calls, support and smoke signals of encouragement to truly make the journey this far actually happen.

Ok, my digits are crossed, the jet lag is pushing back now and I think I have to close my eyes… in gratitude again… Wow! I really mean WOW!

Love – Janiva

Purchase your copy of Janiva’s Grammy nominated “Love Wins Again” here and be sure to tune into the Grammy’s on February 12th!