Britain's Jan Johnston is a passionate singer and songwriter known for her own dance-pop tracks as well as numerous trance and EDM collaborations. Born in Salford, a borough of Manchester, in 1968, Johnston first began writing songs on piano in her teens. After high school, she paid her dues playing at a local men's club. Eventually, she teamed up with fellow songwriter/instrumentalist Tony Kirkham. Naming themselves JJ, the duo signed with Sony/Columbia Records and scored a minor U.K. hit (number 55) with "If This Is Love." A full-length album, Intro, followed in 1991 and featured the single "Slide Away." However, the duo suffered from poor label promotion, and ultimately called it quits.
Opting for a solo career, Johnston (who continued to collaborate on songs with Kirkham) signed with A&M Records and delivered her 1995 solo debut, Naked But for Lilies. The album showcased her growing maturity as a songwriter and drew favorable comparisons to Kate Bush and Carole King. Nonetheless, it failed to gain chart traction. Serendipitously, the album's lead single, "Paris," caught the attention of producer BT after he discovered it in a Manchester record store's cutout bin. Inspired, he sampled the chorus from the single's B-side, "The Prayer," for his track "Anomaly (Calling Your Name)," and scored a club hit.
From there, Johnston and BT began collaborating on more tracks, including co-writing the U.K. Top 30 hit "Remember." Soon, Johnston found herself in demand as a writer and vocalist for a growing number of electronic producers. More hits followed, including "Skydive (I Feel Wonderful)" with Anthony Pappa and Alan Bremner's Freefall, which reached the Top 40. She then signed with Paul Oakenfold's Perfecto label and delivered the singles "Flesh" and "Silent Words." Since then, she has collaborated on numerous trance productions, including tracks with Tiësto, Svenson & Gielen, Jussi Suro, DJ Feel, and others. Johnston also co-wrote several songs on Paul van Dyk's 2003 Grammy-nominated album, Reflections. In 2016 Johnston released When Everything Was Possible, a collection of previously unreleased tracks recorded in 1998 with Jamie Myerson. Recorded with Manny Ferreiros, a second set of previously unreleased tracks appeared in 2017. ~ Matt Collar