Q&A with NY-based singer, songwriter and actor Jann Klose, ambassador for Desmond Tutu's TutuDesk campaign

"Helping others and doing good through your own success is very rewarding. It’s also complicated as there’s a whole set of issues and other people’s expectations can play a huge role. However, I think it’s a responsibility of success and the rewards come from within."

Jann Klose: Lyrics, Melody & Style

Jann Klose is an award-winning pop singer-songwriter, who has released six albums and two EPs. Jann was raised in Kenya, South Africa, Germany, and the United States and now resides in New York City. His music has been streamed over 1,000,000 times online and his new album IN TANDEM (2018) feat. collaborations with Annie Haslam (Renaissance), Karen Zoid, RJ Benjamin, Tamara Dey, Ziyon (Liquideep), Peter Gabriel, Tlale Makhene, James Stewart (The Usual), Larry Beckett (Tim Buckley) is now available via Gallo Record Company/Sheer Sound. Jann is an ambassador for Desmond Tutu’s Tutudesk campaign. Jann’s most recent solo album, MOSAIC (2013) featuring ‘Make It Better’ entered the Roots Rock charts at #22 and won three Independent Music Awards. The single ‘Make It Better’ featured on the Billboard Top 10 compilation album ‘Action Moves People United.’ The record also made the first round of the 2014 Grammys® in the categories Pop Vocal Album & Album Of The Year.         Photo Credit Mikiodo Media

His voice is featured in the movie 'Greetings From Tim Buckley' (Universal) as the voice of Tim Buckley starring Penn Badgley and Imogen Poots. His songs have been heard on the Grammy® nominated 'Healthy Food For Thought' compilation as well as MTV Cribs and movies 'Dead Broke' (Warner Bros) featuring Paul Sorvino and 'A Venue For The End Of The World' (BrinkVision) featuring Dick Cavett and Ian Anderson. Most recently Jann scored the music for the award-winning short ‘The Beauty of Disaster.’ He has performed as an actor and singer in touring companies of Broadway musicals, including 'Jesus Christ Superstar,' 'Jekyll & Hyde,' and 'The Who's Tommy.' In 2005, the off-Broadway production 'Moonlight Interior,' a musical based on Klose's music, premiered in New York City.  Jann Klose has periodically collaborated with members of classical rock group Renaissance and tours regularly in the U.S., Europe, Africa and Asia. He has worked with a wide range of artists including Pat Benatar, John Oates of Hall and Oates, Suzanne Vega, Paula Cole, Annie Haslam, Denny Laine and Steve Holley, Ann & Liz Callaway, Gary Lucas, Brett Dennen, Rusted Root, Vonda Shepard, Ben Taylor, RJ Benjamin, Karen Zoid, Tamara Day, Ziyon, Shekhinah, Amanda Black, Majozi, Jeffrey Gaines, Bret Michaels, Rosanne Cash, The Byrds' Roger McGuinn, Marty Stuart, The Yardbirds' Jim McCarty, Pete Seeger and Les Paul.

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the Rock Roots music and culture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

Any style in music to me is mostly about storytelling. I think that my life and travels influence how I write and what I choose to write about. In turn, a great song about someone else’s journey will have an effect on me if I can rate to it and if the combination of the lyrics, melody and style grabs my attention.

Where does your music creative drive come from? How do you want your music and lyrics to affect people?

I don’t really know where it comes from per se. All I know is that music has always had an effect on me I couldn't possibly deny. It’s been my best friend when I didn’t have anyone and it’s been my lover when I’m alone. I would hope that the same goes for my own music. It always feels like a small miracle when that happens considering the amount of content now available.

Which acquaintances have been the most important experiences? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Too many to count… I’ve met some great artists over the years and some have become dear friends, Annie Haslam of Renaissance, Jim McCarty of The Yardbirds, Larry Beckett (Tim Buckley lyricist,) Ann Hampton Callaway… John Oates, Suzanne Vega, Pat Benatar are folks I got to open for (in John’s case also perform with) and who’s music I grew up listening to. Les Paul, Gary Lucas, Pete Seeger… I’ve been lucky!

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

Recording Peter Gabriel's “Don’t Give Up” with Annie Haslam at Rave Tesar’s studio with members of Renaissance and my own band was great. I loved the Kate Bush/Peter Gabriel collab on his album SO and am delighted I got to record the song with Annie for my new album “In Tandem.”

"That collaboration is the key to success."

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I try not to think about the past. There’s so much new music that’s really good. I love writing not just for myself but also for and with others. Streaming has created a whole new marketplace and I think it should be embraced more broadly. I also think that streaming rates for artists and songwriters need to increase.

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

Nothing. All is as it should be. It’s just constant and very fast changes happening right now. Dealing with that better myself is the only thing I would change but hey, we’re all human!

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your paths in music industry?

That collaboration is the key to success.

What is the impact of music to the socio-cultural implications? What touched (emotionally) you from Tutudesk campaign?

Helping others and doing good through your own success is very rewarding. It’s also complicated as there’s a whole set of issues and other people’s expectations can play a huge role. However, I think it’s a responsibility of success and the rewards come from within.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

Great question, thank you! As scary as this sounds but it would Berlin, Germany in the late 20s! The music, the theatre, the politics, the societal challenges… A writer's paradise!

Jann Klose - Home

Photo by Laura Keen Photography

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