Janis Ian: Songwriting Master Class
The featured guest at Berklee's 16th annual Liberal Arts Symposium, Janis Ian is an American songwriter, singer, musician, columnist, and author. Through her singing, songwriting, writing, and personal journey, she reveals how one can lead an integrated and balanced life, and connect and control one’s creativity and artistry. She has had a highly successful five-decade singing and songwriting career, beginning in the 1960s. Her discography includes 52 albums; her publications include science fiction stories and novels; she has contributed regularly to the Advocate and Performing Songwriter; and she has written her autobiography, Society's Child: My Autobiography (Tarcher/Penguin Publishing, 2008).
In the early 2000s, Ian was one of the first artists to allow free music downloads from her website and document that this led to dramatically increased album sales. Her 2002 Performing Songwriter article, “The Internet Debacle,” written before iTunes, changed public opinion about the availability of music on the internet.
Ian is a survivor, who has an important story to tell. She published her first song at age 13, had her first hit at age 15, and won her first Grammy Award at age 24 for her song "At Seventeen.” Yet she remained unsure of herself, allowed others to define her, and nearly lost her way. Her strong will, and decision to take a 10-year hiatus to learn who she was, helped her achieve a long career. Her journey demonstrates the importance of lifelong learning to attain success as a person and artist.