Jane Siberry is musical royalty in her native Canada. She had chart hits and videos in heavy rotation on Much Music, the north-of-the-border version of MTV, and cemented her legacy with theatrical live performances and playful chat show appearances. Here in the US, her status is a little fuzzier.
Siberry contributed songs to two iconic ’90s soundtracks—The Crow (“It Can’t Rain All the Time”) and Until the End of the World (“Calling All Angels,” a breathtaking duet with k.d. lang)—and had a bit of airplay on VH1 back in the day. Yet the cult status and respect that someone like her friend Mary Margaret O’Hara has earned has eluded her. It could be simply that, unlike O’Hara, Siberry has continued making music long past her commercial peak, releasing albums independently and with crowdfunding help.
Even as her work has grown stronger and more daring—as with the electro-chamber pop albums she made using the name Issa, and 2016’s splashy, jazzy Angels Bend Closer—it’s been drowned out by the noise of the modern music industry. Her comings and goings, then, feel like a lovely secret, shared by a dedicated fanbase. It’s kept her life and career afloat, but left her out of the larger cultural conversation. Siberry is long overdue for a critical reappraisal and some wider attention. And if she’s not going to sound that trumpet herself, it’s up to us.