"I’m one of those people who feels responsible for being alive, so I feel beholden to productivity." says multidisciplinary creative, Jane Claire Hervey. Jane balances making music with running her own creative production studio, and executive directing #BBATX, the nonprofit she founded in 2015. Her drive and discipline with nurturing so many different creative fields is an inspiring reminder that, "you’ve got to really find success and fulfillment in the act of making and creating itself, or you will lose your fucking mind trying to please people and read into your future." I also particularly appreciate how she discusses the importance of being “responsive to my creative moods,” a welcome reminder that emotional/physical/mental wellbeing can both alleviate and dictate creative flow.
How would you describe what you do?
I’m an artist and a creative producer. I make music, write things and produce things to make sense of the world. What that looks like now is I am a singer and I run my own production studio, as well as a nonprofit project I founded called BBATX.
How do you deal with the continual ebb and flow of “success” as a creative person?
I think you have to remain connected to your work. You can have moments that the public perceives to be successful and begin to tie your self-worth to that kind of affirmation, but that shit’s not forever. Moreover, it’s toxic. You’ve got to really find success and fulfillment in the act of making and creating itself, or you will lose your fucking mind trying to please people and read into your future.
When is a time you felt really successful? Or a time you felt like you failed?
I feel really successful when I see people understand things and come to know more about themselves and what they’re going through through my work—especially at BBATX. I run a messaging and experience design studio and it’s always awesome to see a client walk away with shit they can actually use to communicate their ideas to the world. That brings me a lot of joy and it’s led to fulfilling relationships. I also feel successful when I am workshopping a song and I finally figure out a hook or how to write in a way that plays off of the beat I’m working with. That synergy is magic for me.
As far as failing goes, I feel like I fail everyday. I fail to understand someone else, I fail to articulate my feelings in the ways I see in my head, I fail to listen. Failure is just a sign you’re growing and learning the things you need to survive.
What is your biggest struggle as a person in creative industry?
My favorite phrase, and one we use often at BBATX, is get out of your head and do the work. Largely because that’s one of my biggest struggles. If I’m having a bout of anxiety, I will stay in my head for weeks. Beyond that, I truly struggle navigating the creative industry still. It can be a little cutthroat and I feel like I work everyday to make it not so.
What is your daily routine? Your weekend routine?
My work-week routine is pretty flexible. I always work about 10 to 12 hours a day, starting with an early morning of reading. I read for about an hour everyday on subjects I’m studying. I then work in dedicated bursts on different client projects, my music or BBATX development. I try to be responsive to my creative moods so there are days where I won’t do a thing and other weeks where I work 8 days straight. Or sometimes I literally spend an entire day in my car working through a song. It varies, and I’m grateful for the deadlines and pacing I keep which allows me to be a little spontaneous when I want to be. Beyond that, My role as Executive Director at BBATX includes conducting research and listening to community needs, so each day I have at least one meeting with a community member or my staff or our volunteers. Lots of talking, lots of listening and lots of synthesis.
As for my weekend routine, I’m a fan of long mornings, wine, potluck dinner parties, festivals, writing outside, eating crab and crawfish, museums, long ass walks and birdwatching.
How do you motivate yourself to actually get things done and/or maintain some level of productivity? I’m one of those people who feels responsible for being alive, so I feel beholden to productivity. It’s actually harder to motivate me to relax. It’s annoying, but a good thing? I don’t know.
How do you manage the stress/anxiety that’s inevitable with putting yourself out there? I can tell by your questions that you are an artist through and through. Haha. Historically, I have struggled. The last three years I have heard every rumor possible about myself repeated back to me, like it shouldn’t hurt. I’ve also had people expect incredible things of me I do not feel I can deliver. That can cause a lot of anxiety and weirdness. I have to remind myself on the daily that I am a work in progress. I have to say no when I want to say no. I have to give the projects that need time, time. I have to let relationships go that don’t serve me. I have to be gentle with my shortcomings and growth process like I would anyone else. I have to be confident in my own existence and practice my intuition like my life depends on it. I also feel like genuinely loving on and admiring the people around you is a solid antidote to fears and stress.
How do you know when it’s time to rest?
When I can’t focus. My staff at BBATX knows when I’m done for the day because I literally try to distract us all from the task at hand. Haha. I’m generally a super focused person so if I can’t hold my own attention, I know I’m exhausted or need a break.
How do you manage the internet/social media?
I frame it as a tool and I don’t read into subtweets or who follows who or whatever.
Do you collaborate, and if so, what’s your collaborative process like?
Yes! All the time. I collaborate a lot within BBATX. Typically my role includes coordinating multiple collaborators, so my collaborative approach includes creating a framework for engagement, asking for genuine feedback and altering accordingly. I like to honor my collaborators’ creative freedom and autonomy, so the process requires independent creation then collaborative decision-making, then independent creation, etc.
What’s your big dream? Do you have one? How do you set goals/set yourself up to achieve?
My big dream is to make a living making music and have enough of a reliable income to completely fund and run an arts nonprofit in my hometown that uses creativity as a tool to solve problems for and tell the stories of femme and queer farmers. Very specific, but that’s the dream at this moment in time. I actually feel like I am actively working toward that and developing the skills I need now to do that in 30 years or so. I would also like to open a library in my hometown for revolutionary texts where you’re not shamed for your understanding of academic terms and belief systems and can just tell the truth of your existence!
How do you deal with people not liking you, liking your ideas or being jealous of you?
I’ll answer these one by one. When people do not like me, I typically do not really care unless they’re someone I respect, then I’m asking questions and reflecting on how I may have messed up. Outside of that, being liked is a conversion rate. Anything good has a number of haters, no matter what. It’s just human. When people do not like my ideas, I am pretty cool with it. I am not chill about it, because I will always defend my point but I like debate and I like being challenged. It’s healthy and makes me better at what I do. As for people being jealous, I have a general rule of not responding to petty with petty. I think pettiness is a mechanism for defensiveness and shame so I just view shit like that for what it is.