Pennsylvania native Ethan Jano found his love for performing on a whim. At the young age of eight years old Jano’s father gave him a guitar, taught him a few major chords, and let him loose. His natural talent to perform occurred around a campfire after a failed attempt to get his younger sister to sing as he played. Jano took it upon himself to sing his best rendition of “Folsom Prison Blues.” His audience was speechless and Jano found his gift.
It took years of playing in cover bands for Jano to pick up a pen and paper and create his own sound. Now, the twenty two year old is fresh off of releasing his debut album I’ll be fine, which debuted last month, and is currently on a mini tour on the east coast. I was fortunate to get a few words with Jano and discuss growing up in his hometown, his dislike of social media, and his current album.
I don’t know much about Pennsylvania, so please tell your fans what it’s like growing up there?
Well, from the part I grew up (Somerset) it was very secluded. So, unlike a lot of the town kids, I spent a lot of time alone playing guitar or banjo and trying to figure out who I really was. That’s maybe why I’m sure of who I am now (unlike a lot of my peers). I also spent a lot of time in a family setting–which was great–and there was never a shortage of love at home. My parents have always been very supportive of life in general and never pushed me or my brothers and sisters into anything they wanted us to do. But we grew up in a place of very clean morals. Then you would venture from home and you see the drug abuse and the impact of divorce and the recession and it would confuse you which can create a brilliant environment for writing.
If you can recall, what was it like performing in front of people–other than your family–for the first time?
I don’t remember totally, but it was better than I expected. People were amazed at my voice. It was very fulfilling, but I was so nervous that I don’t remember any of the performance!
The first show that really enjoyed was with your sister at Wells Creek Station. What did you enjoy about this show?
Most definitely the fact that people were listening. And also being able to play an original song, look into the crowd, and see people receive it was very satisfying.
You got a lot of practice gaining a stage presence performing at open mics and bars. How would you say your performing differs now compared to when you started?
I think when everyone starts they are worried about what people think, but eventually you find that if you are not totally engaged and confident in what you are doing that no one else will be either. So if you want the background noise to stop you need to stop it. And music is an art in itself that you will be forever working on. Now I can just do my thing, and I think that becomes a lot more attractive to people of all kinds.
What inspires your musical process?
I read that you still work at a lumber mill is Pennsylvania. Does your work reflect in the topics you sing about? If so, how?
Very much so. It’s the life I deal with day in day out. The good of it, the bad of it, and how it impacts the rest of everything else. Im real excited to get away from it and see what else I can experience in this world.
How do you find time to create music while holding a job?
Lots of coffee and late nights ha. I am a strong multi tasker and a lot of songs I write in my head are at work or while dealing with other obligations.
You said in an interview that you were picked on because you chose to listen to artists such as Buddy Holly while most others listened to what was “hip.” Did your music selection translate into the type of people you hung out with and the other kids you related to?
Well that was early on, and I don’t think I really had any close friends that shared the same love for music until I was out of high school.
You’re not much of a social media person. How has the transition been from not caring about social media to having to care about Facebook, Twitter, etc?
It definitely keeps you busy, and I’m still not a fan because more than half of the stuff on there is crap in my opinion. It’s necessary now more than ever–especially in the art–so I guess I just have to get use to it.
Do you find yourself wanting to be on social media more now that you are a part of it?
Yes, it is a bit like a disease but I think you just need to stay conscience to whats going on right in front of you!
Your album was just released on February 10th. How does it feel?
Great! I’m happy to be spreading the word, playing shows, and having people enjoy something that I work really hard on. I have already been back in the studio as well. The whole process of the first album really sparked a different inspiration and let me meet and see different kinds of people.
Any last words for your fans?
Thank you so much for the support!