The making of 'Not Alone'...
Recorded in Los Angeles in August 2014, by American singer-songwriter Jilann, ‘Not Alone’ features David Bowie’s iconic pianist, Mike Garson, and has been a labor of love as much as it is a riveting tribute to artists of the Glam era…Bowie, Roxy Music, TRex and Eno.
The project was born out of a series of recordings Jilann had made with Garson that began some two years earlier, in 2012, while she was living between Los Angeles & Paris, France. Initially under Jilann’s guidance the two had put together versions of some of her favorite songs, starting with Bowie’s ‘Lady Grinning Soul’, on which Garson had played an extraordinarily haunting piano part. But it was their cover of Lou Reed’s ‘Perfect Day’ that ended up becoming a very pivotal recording, when she played it for Duran Duran bassist, John Taylor, who suggested expanding the vision to compile an album of glam covers, coining the phrase ‘the New Standards.' As an aficionado of the era, John immediately heard the potential for the project and together they worked on a list of songs that included not only classics like ‘Time’ and ‘Rock n Roll Suicide' (Bowie) but also others like ‘Bitter Sweet’ (Roxy Music) and ‘The Slider’ (TRex), to name but a few. Once decisions had been made on the material, the project took on a life of its own, unfolding over several months until its completion in October of 2015.
Throughout the recording process, the dynamic between Garson and Jilann played an integral part in the direction of ‘Not Alone’ , whereby Mike trusted her to bring her vision of their musical connection to the forefront. Jilann’s own focus always came back to honoring this great pianist who she so loved and admired, keeping his piano parts as the ‘spine’ of the album.
In constant contact with Jilann, John also ended up co-producing ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide’ and ‘Lady Grinning Soul,’ working on the record whenever he had a moment’s downtime from Duran Duran’s own studio sessions in London. Entering the studio with his unique ear and enthusiasm, John brought a different approach to these classics, helping Jilann find new twists in her voice while keeping an expansive, more avant garde approach to the songs overall. And by the time they had finished, they had succeeded in turning these timeless tracks upside down.
One of the more special moments on the album is ‘Quicksand’ where Taylor lends his gritty vocals to Jilann’s own evocative performance. This intimate duet, underpinned by Mike’s eerie yet strong piano, is a poignant tribute indeed.
Co-producing the remaining songs on the album with Jilann was her longtime collaborator Mike Farrell (Morrissey and Macy Gray,) who acted as the anchor to her expansive vision. Alongside 'Not Alone’, they have also been working on a collection of original songs titled ‘Owl Songs’ which is expected later this year.