Interview with Jane French, Singer/Songwriter of Passions “Breathe”
A few months ago, Jane French, the singer/songwriter of the Passions opening theme song, “Breathe,” released a brand new CD titled “Euphoria.” We caught up with French and armed with a few had-to-know questions, got to know her a little better. Here’s what she had to say:
Soapdom: How did you hook up with Passions in the first place?
JF: “I was working in Cincinnati, Ohio with a producer and was trying to shop for a record deal. This producer, John Henry, had worked with the soap world before, and the job for Passions came up. He was appointed one of the composers for the show while we were working together, and we decided to submit some songs. “Breathe” was the only one that I submitted. He felt it was a real long shot, because theme songs are real hard to get, but we submitted it anyway. And they loved it. It was a big break for me.”
Soapdom: Tell us about the Emmy nomination and your first record deal.
JF: “It was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2000, after which I signed with NBC records. I was their first artist, and we released “Breathe” as the single. It has done really well. It was only sold online at the NBC store, but it sold thousands of copies. And that was just for the single.”
Soapdom: How long have you been singing and songwriting?
JF: “I’ve been singing my whole life. I was singing in commercials since age 7. I did musicals as a kid, and was in bands as lead singer. I started to write songs in high school and was lead singer.
"I actually hooked up with John Henry when I was a little girl doing commercials. When I was about 17, either my mom or I contacted him again and started doing commercials with him again, and when I was a little older, around 20, he started producing for me. He was writing for other soaps and submitted my songs to them, but nothing ever happened as they thought my voice sounded too young for the couples they were promoting.”
Soapdom: What commercials did you do? Would we know any of them?
JF: “The commercials were Playdough, Sit and Spin -- Kenner Toys was based in Cincinnati – and other local commercials. I did do a promo for ABC Daytime one time. "The Men that you Love," a little song that they played around Valentine's Day. That was probably around 1996. Way before Passions.”
Soapdom: Hailing from Cincinnati, have you ever been to Harmony and the Passions set?
JF: “When I recorded “Breathe” it was June, 1999. I went to LA to record it, and got a tour of the set. They showed me the Timmy doll. They were all really, really nice. I met Lisa Hesser (Exec Producer of Passions). Of course, I didn't know who any of the actors were at that point. But I met them (again) at Fan Fest in Florida in 2001. I met Galen Gering (Luis) and McKenzie Westmore (Sheridan), who is really sweet, and very nice!”
Soapdom: How does it feel to hear “Breathe” every day opening the show?
JF: “It's still really cool to me. For a while, I just couldn't get over it. Now I am used to it, but I still think it's the greatest thing. I was in Soap Opera digest last week, and my husband was reading the article, and the song came on and he said, oh my, this is so cool, I am reading about you and you are on TV!
"It's amazing to me that even the little 30-second verse that airs everyday has gotten so much response. It's not even the whole song.”
Soapdom: Let’s talk now about your latest CD, "Euphoria. " Where did you find your inspiration for it?
JF: “It's a real feel-good album. I am at a really happy point in my life. Most of the songs are upbeat and catchy.
Soapdom: How would you describe the sound and feel?
JF: “Acoustic pop, like “Breathe.” I have some love ballads. A few that are edgier, a few that rock, but for the most part it's that catchy acoustic pop. The theme of the CD talks about how I am coming into my own. I would definitely say it's an inspiring album. It's a real feel good happy album that talks about experiences and coming into your own.”
Soapdom: Do you have a favorite track on the new CD?
JF: “It’s hard to pick a favorite; every song has its own life. They are each so different, I don't think I can choose. I wrote all the songs, and have two co-writers who worked with me on three of them, Franchot Tone, Jesse Gilsinger, (both guitar players/songwriters). Jesse is on Infinity and Let Love Win, and Franchot is on Rainbows. I produced the CD with Jesse on an independent label, Jane French Music.
Soapdom: Not only are you a singer songwriter, you are a new business owner with your own record label. How has that been working out?
JF: “It’s been great to have that creative control over everything, and starting the business was challenging, a real learning experience and a lot of fun. My husband is in sales, a totally different business, and he helps me with the business side of this. I don't think I could write what I write if I wasn't in love and happy. Although it’s not specific, his love enables me to write the songs I write.”
Soapdom: Do you have any message for Passions fans?
JF: “I really appreciate all the support that they have given me. They have taken the time to write in, to buy the CD. I think it's great of them to show me that support and I thank them."
“Breathe,” is still available at ShopNBC.com as part of a Christmas compilation CD. “Euphoria” is available at ShopNBC.com and at janefrench.com.
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