Art thrives when communities thrive. For all the capitalistic pressures of the industry- both indie and corporate- at the end of the day, it relies on honest art. Janette King is an artist-producer, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and DJ who fully embraces all art is political at its core. Being a queer woman of colour who works to empower marginalized communities - a focus on LGBTQT, BIPOC, and Womxn - she knows the power that music has for communities. This type of transparency between an established artist and those in the community at large is refreshing. There’s an excitement in the empowerment of others. With Janette King’s latest video for ‘Starlight’, that energy is dancing from the screen.

According to Janette, “'Starlight' is a song that takes its listener on a journey through the intimate memories shared with a past lover.”

A skittering beat, repetitious piano riff, and Janette’s buttery vocals keep the song floating while always having the ground in sight. The soft lighting and colour palette adds to the trance-like quality of a track that still encourages a little dancing from the listener.

Janette will be going on a Canada-US tour this May in support of the upcoming April release of her EP, 143. Get to know her a little better as the 405 Meets Janette King.

What are your earliest memories of music and how did that shape the music you currently make?

My earliest memories of music are probably of my family gatherings. I'm Caribbean-Canadian, so whenever we would have family parties there would always be loud soca, reggae or dancehall blaring in the background. I think that formed a deep sense of rhythm and soul in my music.

How would you describe the Montreal music scene? What is it about Montreal that makes it a good base camp for you?

The Montreal music scene is booming with all different types of genres and artists. Due to the large melting pot of cultures, you can really find a special blend of music here. Almost every night there is a different kind of event happening - whether that be a Latin night, Haitian soup Sundays, disco, house, even '90s dance parties. I think overall, I would say that Montreal's electronic music scene is really happening. Montreal is also full of artists doing the most. Everyone is talented and working really hard to make their dreams come true. I find that type of attitude really inspiring to be around and I think that’s what makes it a great base camp for me. That and the affordable housing.

Being a musician who lives their art, you actively work to promote inclusivity in the arts for LGBTQ, BIPOC, and Womxn. Do you find there to be a lack of resources or lack of knowledge/accessibility to resources to be the issue? Or is it both?

I do find it to be an accessibility issue throughout Canada for those of us that are womxn or are a part of the LGBTQ or BIPOC communities. The information is just not readily available to us - we have to go digging for it. Also, if you are an English-speaking person based in Quebec, Canada there are even fewer chances of there being grants available to you.

The video for 'Starlight' is a celebration. What was your favourite part about filming?

My favourite part about filming 'Starlight' was that it felt like a normal day of my collective and I just hanging out and being creative. Every time we get together, we always have a blast and this felt no different. The Videographer was my partner in crime (and in life) Gioco. We are like best friends so working with him was a breeze. He knew exactly the shots I wanted without me even asking. I think that my favourite scene to shoot was the individual dance scenes. Every person in my collective (Crystal Light Collective) is unique and they each were able to shine in such magical ways.

It feels like an open secret that most art created by a person from a marginalized community is expected (by media, "mainstream" consumers) to have, at the very least, "political undertones". Do you find this to be true? If so, are you seeing any improvements by allies that allow for people to make art for the sake of making art, a right everyone has?

I feel like just being who I am is a political stance. I'm a queer, black woman who works for herself, owning multiple business' and wears her hair in natural black hairstyles. As simple as I may feel that I am, I think that just being my authentic self is a like going against what "mainstream media"/ society as a whole deems acceptable. So, yeah, when people look at me or hear about me, I do feel like they expect me to be super political in my art.

In my opinion, we are all a part of politics whether we want to be or not. If you are alive it will affect you. So, when I write songs about love that are just because I'm feeling like making my art be about love for the sake of art.... at the end of the day, I'm a black queer woman making this art - that in and of itself has political undertones.

Lastly, you stumble upon the magic music genie and you get three wishes: (1) You get to duet with anyone alive or dead on a song of your choice. Who do you choose and what song? (2) You get to collaborate on lyrics with one living writer (music and non-music). Who do you choose and why? (3) If you could take one music lesson of your choice from a musician (alive or dead), who would it be and why?

1) Whitney Houston - 'I Have Nothing'.

2) Alan Menken because he was fabulous at writing all my favourite Disney songs.

3) I would take a music lesson from Stevie Wonder because he's a genius at every genre known to the human race.