Local musician Cat Janice brings her band to a benefit concert at Jammin Java
Cat Janice has been performing music since her days growing up in Alexandria, which she still calls home today. She was classically trained for 18 years, spending time in orchestral productions, jazz bands, and in the theatre.
“I’ve been writing and playing for a long time. I did classical piano and violin from the age of 4, and did all different kind of musical endeavors,” Janice said. “I started writing when I was around 12ish and it was all terrible, but I really loved it.”
By the time she was 16, she wrote a song that everyone seemed to like, and this pushed her more into songwriting. By 18, she had her first EP and she hasn’t looked back.
“Music is very ingrained in me and my family,” Janice said. “My siblings and my mother were all musicians as well, and that spirit let loose for me in high school.”
Inspired by artists like Alice Merton, Lady Gaga and Amy Winehouse, Janice has created her own unique sound, which falls somewhere between alt rock and pop.
“My EP was more alt-rock, with a jazzy vibe, but then I realized my writing style was very ‘poppy’ so now I’m going more into alt-pop,” Janice said. “It’s kind of like a Dayglow vibe. My next EP, which will come out next summer, is fun, catchy and jump-on-your-feet pop.”
Over the years, her songs have been featured on Country Music Television’s popular “Redneck Island,” on DC Music Rocks and on the DC-based podcast, Another Wasted Hour. In 2019, she won a Washington Area Music Award (WAMMY) for Best Rock Artist.
One of her first gigs was at Epicure Café in Fairfax, and has played wineries and small clubs in DC, Maryland and Virginia ever since.
“People around here love to listen to live music, so I’ve really been blessed to play around this area a lot,” she said.
On Friday, Sept. 18, Janice and her indie rock band will play an outdoor concert at Jammin Java beginning at 7 p.m., with donations benefitting BYP 100, which celebrates black women in entertainment.
“I’m a little nervous to be honest,” Janice said. “It’s been so long since I played, and it’s like I’m playing again for the first time, which is fun in a way. I’ve been putting together new stuff and trying to put together a new set that people will enjoy. I want to create a happy, healthy atmosphere.”
Like most performers, she’s been missing the live experience during these COVID times, and this will be only her second live show since March, having done a small solo gig at a restaurant in Springfield last week. But the Jammin Java show will have her whole band with her and she’ll be able to play at full force.
“I’ve written some new songs—one of which I released last month, and getting them ready and I’m excited about getting out there,” Janice said. “Everyone will be socially distanced and encouraged to wear their masks, and it will be a fun night of music and eating awesome pizza and experiencing the little bit of live music we’re allowed today.”
She’s spent the past few months doing some live streaming of her songs, and spending time outside, gathering inspiration for her new songs.
“I’ve been hiking a lot, going on runs, playing soccer, going to the beach, and I do as much as I can outside, which is my happy place to write,” Janice said.
The artist is no stranger to Jammin Java, having played there to pack houses through the years, most recently in February.
“One of my favorite things about the venue is its size,” she said. “There’s not a lot like it in Northern Virginia, and it’s fun to be closer to home. Plus, the people who run the venue are awesome and continue to support local musicians and fundraise for the community. The whole atmosphere is really awesome.”
Deep down in her heart, Janice would love to do a national tour one day, and will be on her way with that goal next summer with a planned East Coast tour to support her upcoming EP.
“I consider myself a writer, so another goal of mine is to write more for other artists in the future and getting into producing,” she said. “I’m excited for what’s ahead.”