20 Questions is a Q&A interview series with musicians, authors, and everyone in between, celebrating experiences both shared and individual in the messy game of being human.
An up-and-comer on the pop music scene, Baby Jane has her foot securely placed on the gas pedal, ready to floor it. A high school dropout with no plan B, she’s devoted her life to making music for rebels like her. Raised in Calabasas, her peers studied and shopped while Jane crashed celebrity parties and schemed into recording studios. Coming of age in the era of clout culture, Baby Jane saw that boys had all the fun, and made it her mission to give the female voice that level of empowerment.
She derives her name from the 1962 film Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, and finds inspiration in the cinematic narrative of films like Natural Born Killers, True Romance, and Drugstore Cowboy. Baby Jane revels in the dark side of love and ambition. Using elements of 90’s alternative, 2010’s trap, and modern Top 40, Baby Jane dubs her unique genre Industrial Pop.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Baby Jane for 20 Questions about her upcoming debut mixtape A Cry 4 Help, scheduled for release this September, as well as her singles, influences, dreams, and why she’d love to spend the day with Marilyn Monroe.
How old were you when you first knew you wanted to be a singer?
I started writing poems when I was thirteen. My mom saw that I was depressed, so she bought me a guitar in hopes that I would become passionate about something. She was right. I began turning my poems into songs and left school a year later to focus on music.
What inspired the name A Cry 4 Help for your debut mixtape?
I wanted to highlight the contrast that my themes tend to have. One song will be very cocky and flamboyant and then I’ll write a song about my deepest fears and insecurities. Even when I sing confident lyrics, those insecurities are present underneath. That’s why I wanted to name the EP A Cry 4 Help. As a whole, the artistic journey is a cry for help. A cry for love.
Who are your biggest influences as an artist? Do we hear them on the mixtape?
My main influences are Nine Inch Nails, The Weeknd, Portishead, Nirvana, and Kanye West. A lot of elements from those artists definitely bleed through. They were so formative for me that I don’t think it’s possible for me to make music without drawing inspiration from them.
Which one of your new songs stands out to you the most and why?
I love them all for different reasons, but overall “Ski Mask” is really special to me. I take inspiration from movies a lot when I write, and “Ski Mask” really feels like its own movie. It takes you on a ride. There’s a little world living in that song and I feel like I’m living through scenes every time I hear it.
Best song you’ve heard in the last year?
This isn’t a song that came out this year, but I just discovered it a couple months ago and I’m so obsessed. “Sextape” by Deftones. I tweet about it all the time. It’s magic.
What would you say is your biggest strength in life?
I think my biggest strength is imagination. There’s a lot of grey area in life between good and bad, success and failure, pain and pleasure. I tend to fill those areas in with a lot of color and personality. It definitely adds to my life and music in a powerful way.
When are you the most inspired?
At night, mostly. Some days I’m off, but usually I can go up to my little studio room with some weed and a soda and set a vibe for myself.
The last series you binge-watched?
Mad Men. I was stuck in a hotel room for a couple weeks and binged it. I loved the setting in particular. Now I consider myself an expert in advertising.
Favorite movie of all-time?
Whiplash, among others, but I walked out of the theatre after seeing Whiplash and it actually changed my life. I related to Miles Teller’s character more than I ever have to any character.
In one word, how would you describe the general theme of A Cry 4 Help?
Biggest pet peeve?
Unsweetened beverages. Dull flavors in general.
If you had the chance to meet one celebrity, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I think I’d want to spend the day with Marilyn Monroe. I considered many others, but I feel like I know exactly how those conversations would go. With Marilyn, nobody really knew what was in her head. She was so brilliant and fascinating. Sometimes I just scroll through photos of her for hours. Even if we just sat there and I got to look at her I’d consider it a productive encounter.
One song that you will never be sick of?
“Gypsy” by Fleetwood Mac.
If you could pick one person in your life who has inspired you the most, who would it be and why?
My mom always knew how to bring the most out of me. She taught me how not be scared of feeling everything 100%. She also taught me how to be happy. I think most people don’t ever learn how to do that.
The last book you finished?
I’m notorious at not finishing books. Last book I finished was David Lynch’s Catching the Big Fish, but it was very short. Great read, though, especially if you’re a creative.
If you weren’t a singer, which other career would you want for yourself?
Screenwriter. I still want to do that one day.
One piece of advice that you’d give to your younger self?
I still feel like I am my younger self. Meaning I haven’t lived enough. But, I’d mainly tell my younger self to practice patience. Focus on the task at hand. Cherish the day, no Sade.
One thing that’s been keeping you sane during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Recording every day!
What’s your cocktail of choice?
I’m 19 so just a virgin Pina Colada for me.
In a perfect world, where would you like to see yourself five years from now?
Getting off a world tour, going in to work on my next album, in my own house with a view of LA surrounded by friends and family, happy.
Follow Baby Jane on Twitter and Instagram, and stream her songs wherever you listen to music.