In House With Jana Kramer
Jana Kramer is feisty. Within seconds of meeting the brunette beauty, she was interviewing us! The country songstress visited our AOL Music headquarters in New York City while on tour with Brad Paisley, and she was just as pleasant as you could imagine. Fresh off her first gold record, the “Why Ya Wanna” singer shared her thoughts on her self-titled album, her love of whiskey and some of her strange superstitions.
Congrats on your first gold record!
We are Top 5 right now, which is unbelievable since no female has [charted as high with her debut single] since Taylor Swift, so I’m really excited. We beat her record, so that’s pretty cool as well. [Taylor's "Tim McGraw" reached No. 6 in 2006, while Jana's single is currently No. 3]. That’s a pretty cool record to beat Taylor because she’s awesome. It’s very surreal, especially because there’s not that many girls in country music that get a chance. Very few. If you look at the charts it’s all men, me, Taylor, Miranda [Lambert] and Carrie Underwood and that’s it. Out of 50 people.
Do you know what your next single is going to be?
I do, it’s going to be “Whiskey,” which I love because I was able to perform it on “One Tree Hill.” I’m excited that they get to hear it on the radio. The song’s great, it kind of compares a man to whiskey, which is great.
Do you like whiskey?
It’s my second favorite drink. Wine’s my favorite and then I love whiskey. Just depends on the mood, but it says, “The burn, the sting and the high. I should have just called him whiskey, because that’s exactly what he does to me.” I love it. It’s a little bit darker, which is nice and a little more rockin’ once it gets into the chorus.
So I was listening to your record recently.
Do you like country music?
I do like country music. Wait, are you interviewing me now?
Are you sure? You kind of hesitated there a little bit. Not to call you out or anything.
I write about rock ‘n’ roll a bit, but it seems like your music doesn’t carry a “new country” vibe. You have much more of a songwriting edge, where a lot of new country music is more processed.
Very processed and very poppy. When I first sang for my producers, and also my A&R guy, he was like, “This is so cool. This is so much more ’90s. I didn’t think you were going to be this country. It reminds me more of a Deana Carter vibe and the early Faith Hill.” I was like, “That’s exactly where I want to go!” I don’t want to turn it on and be like, “This isn’t even a country song, why is it on country radio?” Because everything’s so pop now.
What do you think about that?
I think it’s cool that people can stretch. Especially Taylor’s new song — I think it’s a really cool song, but she stretches the limits. I think music changes and it evolves. I love music, that it changes so much, but I also want to keep a bit of the country roots to make it country. I don’t want to go too far away from it, or I would do pop music.
Given that you’re an actress, what song of yours are you dying to do a music video for?
I would like to do a “I Hope It Rains” music video because it’s very sassy, fun — and I would love to watch someone get totally drenched in rain. We’d get all the big rain things. That would be really fun.
How do those big rain things work anyway?
It looks like a big sprinkler. It’s really cool. I filmed a scene for “Click” with one — the first thing I ever did was an Adam Sandler film.
Just before your last interview with The Boot, you were about to perform on Leno and you were going to meet your favorite celebrity, Morgan Freeman. Did you get him to record your voicemail message?
I was too nervous to ask him. I totally chickened out! I had two things to ask him because my band was like, “You will be the best boss in the entire world if you get all of us a picture with him.” I was like, “Oh my gosh, I want a picture with him. I don’t want to inconvenience him too much.” But I was like, “OK, I’ll try.” So I was like, “I’m really sorry to ask you this, but my band really wants …” And my manager was like, “Come in, guys!” so I don’t think he had a choice. I just felt bad to ask him. But maybe next time. Maybe I’ll be like, “Remember me?” and he won’t, but that’s fine. I’ll ask him then.
You’ve been very supportive of all your labelmates, especially on Twitter. Why do you think there’s that camaraderie in country music as opposed to other genres where there might be a little bit of competition.
You know what? I think competition is — I’m very competitive and even inside my label, I’m still like, I want to have a No. 1 [record] and I want to beat this person’s thing.
Click Through Photos of Jana Kramer
So who are your “frenemies?”
The list would be way too long to go down. I’m kidding, kind of. But there’s something about wanting your label to succeed — so you want people in your label to succeed. You don’t want to be in the label that people don’t win at. If they’re winning, they’re going to look at me and we’re all going to win together.
Have any acting gigs coming up?
Not right now, I’m just focusing on the music. But I’m open to reading things all the time.
Tell me about the film, “Heart of the Country.”
That was so awesome. I was already committed to doing that role before things took off this year. It’s with “Major Dad,” Gerald McRaney. It’s about this girl who got lost in the city. She came here to be a singer and ended up falling in love with someone who probably wasn’t the right person for her. He got in trouble, but she ends up going home. It’s all about forgiveness. It’s kind of a father/daughter love story. It’s really beautiful and I got to sing in it, so that was another perk. That’ll come out early next year. I’m really excited.
If you could play any country singer in a biopic, who would you play?
Patsy Cline. I love her. Who would you play?
I would play … Well, I would have to get really old and then I would play Merle Haggard.
Cute, I love Merle.
There you go interviewing me again — Speaking of acting, we know that you’re really into the Kardashians.
Oh, my gosh. How did you know? I’m so obsessed. I feel like Kourtney and I would be best friends.
Which sister would you play in a made-for-TV movie?
Kourtney. I love her.
Is she the voice of reason among the Kardashian clan?
She’s the voice of reason and she’s unemotional, but then she’s emotional at certain times. I just love her. She’s just so blunt.
Have you ever met any of them?
No. From afar and I’m like, “Oh my gosh!”
Would you want to?
Of course. I want them to love country music so they can maybe know who I am. But I don’t think they listen to country.
I noticed you have an 11:11 tattooed on your wrist.
I got it a few weeks ago, the day my single went gold. Whenever I look at the clock, I always say, “11:11, make a wish” so I’ve kind of always wanted to get that on my wrist. I feel like when you get older you get jaded and you don’t dream anymore and make wishes on things. It’s a constant reminder to keep wishing.
Are you pretty superstitious?
Yes, very much so.
What other sort of odd quirks do you have?
When I get on a plane, I kiss the plane and I tap it three times. If I don’t do it … I have to do it. One time I sat in my seat and I had to get back up to touch the plane. That’s one of them. That’s about it. Those are my huge ones.
That’s a good one.
Thanks. What’s yours?
I’m really afraid of getting shocked by door handles, so I have to touch the door first.
Does that work?
Yeah, kinda. I stuck my finger in an outlet as a kid so I’m sort of afraid.
Oh, that’s stupid [laughs].
Explains how I am these days.
Is that why you’re so calm? Because you got shocked?
And I haven’t had enough coffee today.
I like it. It’s very chill.
I’m always on a couch in my mind.
I don’t drink caffeine.
You don’t drink caffeine?
I haven’t had caffeine in like nine years. So if I were to have caffeine right now, I’d probably be bouncing off the walls.
OK, back to you again. You’re a football fan, right?
I am, but — I got the worst news today. Hockey is my favorite because I’m from Michigan. I used to figure-skate and root for the Red Wings. I used to figure skate for 13 years and I just found out today we’re not going to have a hockey season and I’m peeved.
What are you going to do to supplement that pain?
I don’t know.
Whiskey! Whiskey! Whiskey!
Can you still go out on the ice and do it?
Yeah, it’s fun. I lost my nerve, though. Like, I’ll go in to try a jump, and then it’s like, “Oh, I don’t want to try that anymore.” I’m scared.
Did you ever try pairs figure skating?
I tried. My mom and I took a road trip down to Minneapolis to try pair skating and I was terrified. First of all, you’re not touching me there. Second of all, you’re not lifting me that high up in the air. I was so afraid they were going to drop me or something. Then I did the junior nationals and I would get so nervous before. I bombed it. I got 13th place and I was like, “Never again.” I just did little competitions and that was it.
That’s not too bad. Thirteenth place?
Out of 15? That’s pretty bad.
OK, so skating didn’t work out. But music did! What’s next for you?
Well, we have a great tour lined up that we can’t talk about yet for next year, but the rest of the year I’m on the Alan Jackson tour. So that’ll be fun. Again, a bunch of radio dates and then gearing up for fun next year.
Watch Jana Kramer’s ‘Why Ya Wanna’ Video