Following the success of her smash hit single Throwback, earlier this year, Toronto dance/pop artist Delaney Jane will release her debut album Dirty Pretty Things Nov. 22 on all digital platforms. It’s the culmination of a whirlwind three years that saw her collaborate with the likes of Tiesto and Flo-Rida, tour with The Chainsmokers, and appear on Juno and MMVA-nominated tracks by Adventure Club and Grandtheft.
Dirty Pretty Things finds Delaney Jane fully stepping out on her own with a 13-track set of bangers and ballads, aided by her longtime co-producer and co-writer Shaun Frank. If the response to Throwback is any indication, the album is poised to launch Delaney Jane into the top ranks of Canadian pop stars. Throwback was the most added song on Canadian Top 40 radio in March 2019, and received much love in the U.S. as well, with high rotations at Sirius BPM, Evolution, Dance.FM and other outlets.
After launching her career as a featured vocalist and topline writer on some of the biggest electronic dance records of the past decade, Delaney Jane released her first solo single, Bad Habits, independently in 2018. Bad Habits quickly stormed sales and radio charts, hitting the Top 10 on Canadian Top 40 and AC, and became the fourth Gold-certified record she’s been involved in. In the wake of Bad Habits, Apple Music named her one of their top rising artists to watch, while iHeart Radio invited her to perform the song at Jingle Ball Toronto alongside The Chainsmokers, Dua Lipa and Khalid.
She will make a triumphant return performance in Toronto at the Mod Club on December 18, with tickets available at ticketmaster.ca. We caught up with Delaney Jane recently to talk about the album and what’s brought her to this point.
What was the process like making Dirty Pretty Things?
Oh boy… It was two and a half years of life, laughter and a lotta tears. Of course, there are those magical moments when you get to sit back and take it all in, but I’d be lying if I said the process hasn’t been tough. Between unresolved family issues and my relationship drama, Dirty Pretty Things is the most personal pages of my diary ripped out and turned into songs. And that’s only the emotional side of things... People seldom realize how much tension can live in the studio. When there are a lot of opinions and passion mixed in one room, things can get stressful. Lucky for me, I have an amazing team and I’m super grateful for them putting up with my “eccentric behaviour” and perfectionist tendencies when it comes to finishing my music. Now that it’s done, time to celebrate!
What songs on the record are you most proud of and why?
I’m most proud of Dear Dad and If I Died, which is even a surprise to me now that I say it because they’re the two most heartbreaking, heart-wrenching ballads I’ve ever written. I guess it makes sense, though, because they came from such honest places. I wrote Dear Dad because I needed to. I would’ve physically imploded from the inside out if I didn’t put my feelings into words, into this tangible thing. I’ve had several falling outs with my Dad over the years, but on Christmas of 2017, just when I thought we were long past all the chaos, the worst of it came. My Dad said some unforgivable things, and we stopped talking for eight months. It’s hard to put into words how painful that period was. I wrote him ten different letters I knew I would never be able to give to him. I sat at the piano and cried until I had no tears left. Then one day, Dear Dad poured out of me, and it was a liberating and cathartic experience. It was my way of saying, “Dad, I love you, and I forgive you.”
If I Died was written in a session in LA with two good friends of mine. We went in really deep, real fast. I had the first verse written, as I had been struggling to find balance in my relationship at the time. Are you ever with someone but you feel completely alone? The honeymoon phase is over, and they suddenly stop doing all the things that made you fall in love with them in the first place? That was my day-to-day reality, and it was eating me alive. I felt invisible. And so the concept of, “Maybe if I died and came back to life... you would truly see me again” was born. Finding ways to take all of my heavy emotions and turn them into songs is how I hold onto my sanity.
How would you describe your artistic evolution so far?
I started as a little girl writing poetry, which was my way of expressing what I was going through. Writing became a vital part of not only my artistic evolution but also my survival, helping to get me through some of the most difficult and painful times in my life.
When I first started making a name for myself in the industry, I was mostly writing toplines for DJs and producers as a featured artist—I found myself telling cool stories, but they weren’t exactly my own. I was always trying to appease the “client.” Fast forward a couple of years to when I began putting out solo music; for the first time I was not only sharing my own experiences, they were being heard on a global scale. It’s empowering to be given a platform where you can share so much of yourself and connect with people from all over the world. It is in that connection that I find fuel to continue to write openly, sharing my truths in their most raw and honest form. I think as an artist, that’s all I could ever want and ask of myself.
What song by another artist do you wish you had written?
There are a few! Off the top of my head, We’re Just Kids by my good friend and forever inspiration, Call Me Karizma. He just released this song, but he sent me the unreleased demo a couple of months back, and on my first listen, it brought me to tears. It was a song I had never heard before, and yet there I was with these intense feel ings of nostalgia. Now THAT is incredible songwriting. Another one is Good To Me by Jeremy Zucker and Chelsea Cutler. It feels like they stole the words straight outta my own heart! Also, Breathe Me by Sia—an oldie but a forever goodie. It’s another one I relate to on a very personal level. The only songs I ever hear and wish I had written are those I personally deeply relate to.
What's your best touring story?
Let’s re-phrase that too, “What’s your best touring story that you REMEMBER?” I would say the most incredible touring story is when I opened for The Chainsmokers with Shaun Frank on their “Memories: Do Not Open” Tour. It was my first bus tour, first arena tour, and first time playing five consecutive shows in a row. It’s no surprise the boys love their tequila... So naturally, there were a lotta tequila shots, a lotta laughs, a lotta pranks, and a lot of 2 a.m. charade-playing with the crew. It was easily one of the best and also one of the most exhausting times of my life—but I’d do it again in a heartbeat.