Citroen Profile


All of these words can be used to describe Jane Child, and the car she drives. The story of how I came to meet this celebrity Citroeniste follows the course of a teenager's dream sequence.

At 39 I can hardly be called a teenager, but my musical taste ranges from the classics to modern rock. One day I picked up an album by Jane Child. I bought it specifically for the song “I Don't Wanna Fall In Love", the hit single. As I looked over the album contents list I noticed another song called “DS 21” with a marque of Double Chevrons next to it. I immediately began jumping up and down in the store yelling "This girl has a DS 21 '" Breaking speed limits I drove back to my shop, tore open the CD and popped it into the player. Out came Jane's voice “I get so exited, love I cannot unchain, When we make contact, and you start to rise"... I was in Citromusical heaven. Here at long last some brilliant artist had finally brought to music what all Citroen fanatics have felt for years! After playing this song over about 15 times I went on to play the others on the album. I then knew I must meet this gifted artist and share this meeting with Citroenistes the world over. I called Warner Bros. Records in New York and asked how I would go about getting in touch with Jane. The receptionist said just write to her, care of Warner Bros., and we'll see that she gets it". I sat down and typed out a letter saying how exited I was to have heard the song and that I would greatly appreciate her granting me an interview. I posted the letter thinking that by the time it got through the chain of command at Warner I would have little chance of getting a reply.

However, about 4 weeks later. a letter appeared. in my box, hand addressed from Los Angeles. It was Jane's personal reply:

November 15, 1990

Dear Mr Cudworth;

Congratulations on being the first to understand what DS 21 is about and what the corresponding “clue" symbol stands for. I get asked constantly what it means and I've had some pretty wild interpretations (i.e. a religious fanatic was convinced DS stood for "Darling Son" (as in Jesus Christ) and 21 stood for the 21st century!) As long as I can remember, I've loved these cars. I saw them for the first time in Toronto, where I grew up, and have been obsessed by them ever since. They look like no other car in the world, and as you may or may not know individual style is a way of life for me. The first time I was in London I thought that I died and went to Heaven. There were Citroens everywhere. I got so excited just seeing them. They are so exquisite. I made up my mind that if I ever got enough money to buy a car. I had to have a Citroen, there could be no other.

Upon signing my record deal with Warner Bros., I marched out and bought a 1972 DS 21 (my first and only car) and the love affair continues.

I'd love to do an interview with your magazine. I do have professional pictures taken with my car that would work very well in your publication.

My publicist, Victoria Rose will be in touch. Thank you for "getting it".


Jane Child

Phone calls were made, tickets were purchased, and I was on my way to California!

The interview was to take place at the West Hollywood apartment of Jane's publicist. I arrived early and was greeted by Victoria Rose. She and I spent some minutes getting acquainted. It was nice to finally meet the voice at the other end of the phone that had helped engineer this meeting. Then the knock came at the door announcing Jane's arrival.

Finally I would meet the person at the other end of the music! At this point I began to wonder which of the two personalities inside my head would appear next; the starry eyed teenage fan or the inquisitive journalist. Fortunately the intensity of the moment caused the journalist to appear.

Jane greeted me dressed in a beautiful black antique dress complete with full length black gloves and brimmed hat (also black) covering her legendary spiked hair. Dozens of small tightly woven braids coursed down her back and stopped within 12 inches of the floor. She was not as tall as she appears in her video but was even more strikingly beautiful. "You came this way just to interview me?" she said. Our exchange began.

What got you started with Citroens?
I just loved them when I first saw them as I was growing up in Toronto. And in fact the guy who the album is dedicated to, Victor Unsworth, was a bass player in my first band and a very good friend of mine, was a Citroen fanatic. He never had one, but he introduced me them, and would point them out to me. So that's how I first became aware of them, then every time I'd see one, I'd get a rush. When I went over to England for the first time, (there's a lot more of them over there), I knew was that they were Citroens. I didn't know what the model was that I liked. I would try to stop drivers and ask them what the model number of their car was. It was an obsession to the point where I would get excited when I saw one. They were the most beautiful things that I had ever seen, I was so into them! So I’m in England, and a record company had flown me over there to meet its chairman. I hadn't signed with them yet but they knew, because what I had told their artist relations people, that I loved these cars, so they were going to get me a Citroen as part of the signing bonus incentive. Well, I ended up go with Warner Brothers instead, and bought the car on my own. That was the first thing I did after signing record deal. I used my advance to purchase a DS 21.

Where did you find it?
I bought my car through Jacques Laude at Challenger Motors in L.A

Have you done any restoration on it?
I haven't done a lot because it was in pretty good shape when I got it. In fact I planned to paint it black. I love black, my house is black. everything is black. But color of the car was this incredible blue, and as much as I love black, I couldn't touch this color blue. It’s unique.

Is that the original paint?
I believe it was originally black. and the first owner painted it blue. Jacques told me the original owner was a president of Citroen of America. I'm the third owner and I bought it from a French guy who just loved the car.

What do you like most about it?
Its design, both physically and mechanically: it's brilliantly engineered. I've changed a tire on it before. You change the hydraulic position and the car just kind of Iifts up and says, “Okay, here." It's ridiculously easy. I can change a tire on this car. It's so easy. It's logically engineered, and it looks so incredible, People stop me all the time and ask what kind of car it is, They wave. And I know I paid a lot less for my car than they think I did.

What prompted you to write the song "DS 21 "?
My manager's wife would be around the studio and she'd see me leaving, from her vantage point she would watch me get in my car, I'd sit in my car, and it would rise. She made a very sexual comment about that, and I thought "Yeah, that's kind of interesting: I turn it on, and it rises". So that's where I got the idea for the song. I wanted to immortalize the car. I am thrilled that I was the first one to do it: It's an honor.

Have you had any strange breakdowns or incidents?
Well once I parked in back of the studio over one of those concrete stops, and the car sank while I was in the studio. When I came out the car wouldn't start, so I had to have it towed and it dragged over the concrete.

Has the car ever stranded you anywhere?
No, never. Actually my manager was really reluctant for me to buy this car because of the safety requirements, but this is my first and only car. My friend has a Jaguar, and compared to the amount of maintenance he has to do, I think I'm in pretty good shape.

Have you given it a name?
Well, actually it's kind of a joke. I have this word for babies: I call them "Budges". So it's the "Budge" car. But more often people think I'm from another planet, so they call it my spaceship. It gets called the blue spaceship a lot.

What's the longest trip you ever took In it?
I think doing Christmas shopping has put a lot of miles on it. I really haven't done any business in it. Basically I drive back and forth to the studio.

What does your family think of your car?
They're in love with it too.

Have you driven any other models?
No, but I'm dying to. I'd love to get a 2 CV.

You should try an SM sometime.
I nearly bought an SM. It was between my DS and an SM. Jacques told me it was difficult to get parts for the SM. He steered me towards the DS. The SM was black, too. I could have gone either way. But he told me it would be wiser to get the DS. SM wouldn't have made as good a song anyway.

What is the most common comment from people about your car?
They wonder what kind of car it is. Nobody has ever seen anything like it and they're intrigued. A lot of people think it's very expensive. They want to know what year it is.

It may interest you to know that I have sold several copies of your album at my garage. Even people that aren't into rock music love "DS 21"
It's amazing to me the number of people that haven't "got it". I specifically put symbols, clues, in there. The Citroen logo, you know. People ask "Are they sergeant stripes?" I constantly get asked '"What does DS 21 mean?" An interviewer from Rolling Stone asked me and I said, "Well, I'll give you a clue. The symbol is a registered trademark." and he still didn't get it. Finally as he walked me to my car I pointed it out. But it's amazing-a lot of people think it's about a keyboard.

Briefly outline your musical career.
I was classically trained. My parents are classical musicians. I started hearing funk as the kind of music that I sort of gravitated towards, in Florida actually, because I spent my Christmases as a kid in Ft. Lauderdale. There really wasn't black radio in Canada, so that's where it started for me, hearing it on the beach in Florida. Then when I was 15, I dropped out of school and joined a band as a keyboard player. I realized then that I wanted to sing, since I had been playing since I was 5. In order to sing you have to have songs, so I started writing songs as a means to an end. I found when I was performing my own songs live, just how unlike anything else it was, because I was able to communicate. It's like complete communication. It's my words, my music, my performance. So songwriting became more important to me than anything. I didn't get signed in Canada however. I got picked up by a production company who moved me to New York. There was some label interest in LA so I was moved here. I lived here for a year, got signed here, got my car, and here l am.

And your video was shot?
The "Don't Wanna Fall In Love" video was shot in New York because I wrote the song there. It's a New York song for me. I insisted they shoot the video there because that's what the video is about.

Do you have any plans for putting your car in any future videos?
Well, I've taken pictures of myself with the car and if "DS 21" becomes a hit single I may. We thought about starting the video with me driving onto a parking lot. Anybody who knows me associates me with the car. I think we look alike.

What has been the main musical influences in your life?
Everything I've ever heard. Since I come from a classical background I was exposed to the classics, Beethoven, Bach, Mozart. But also the contemporary composers, Bartok, Debussy, Messiaen, things that to a Western ear might seem a little dissonant. My father is a contemporary composer, as well as my mother. After the ban on rock music was lifted from my house, I was influenced by black music. Funk, Rock, Stevie Wonder, Led Zeppelin. I also love Indian music. Eastern ethnic. I also love Country. Randy Travis. K.D. Lang, Loretta Lynn, anything with soul.

Were you brought up on the piano then?

Did you also play organ?
Yes. In fact I was playing in this rock band at 15 and we were making no money. So I had this job at the Anglican church in my neighborhood filling in for the organist, and it was really fun because I’d be coming off the road with the band and I’d be changing in the van and going to church to play the service. I also played the harpsichord.

What can you tell me about the next album?
It’s going to be better. I am really looking forward to it. It’s all written. I feel that the first album was difficult because I had already demo’d a lot of the songs. Only three of the songs on it had I cut for the first time. So it was recreating a creation. You’re just recreating something that already exists to make it sonically better. But the passion you have when you sing something you’ve written for the first time-you can’t fake that. All of these songs are new, so I’m really looking forward to that.

If you were to do an album with another known artist, who would that be?
Well, I really not a collaborator. I’ve never collaborated with anybody. When I write and what I write – even when I’m not in the studio-is really personal. I feel kind of inhibited if somebody else is around. To write with somebody is to expose myself and say, “This is what I’m trying to say, that’s why your line won’t work here.” But I guess hypothetically, I’d be thrilled to work with Stevie Wonder.

What word would you use to describe your personality style?

What word would you use to describe your musical style?

Do you have any plans to go on tour?
Yes. I’ll be going on the road after this next album comes out.

Have you had any offers to do commercials?
Actually I have. But I really don't feel like I write songs to sell soda, (although Citroens maybe). Who knows, I might need a sponsor, but I'd like to try and do it on my own if I can. Because I feel it's special, an artist is special to their audience, and when they suddenly become a product of a huge corporation, they become impersonal. They just become so far removed.

In your song "You're My Religion Now", was that commemorating a turning point in your life?
No, it was the way I've always felt about it. I think it's probably the most personal song on the album. I never really got it, you know, and I've always had my own feelings about God. I felt that the best I've ever communicated exactly what I feel is in that song. I think religion is a very personal thing. I believe that God is in all of us, and that you don't have to go to another man to get a direct line to God. I don't think that the Pope has a direct line particularly. I think all we have to do is call and we'll be answered.

What would you consider your first sign that you were doing the right career, your first big break?
I had written a song and signed with a publishing company and it got the attention of Maurice White ( the group Earth, Wind, and Fire.) He was going to cut it. Nothing transpired, but that was an affirmation, it told me that what I was doing was good. So I think that really was the first big break, although it didn't lead to anything then, in my mind it was all I needed.

What are your interests besides Music?
Citroens! and antique clothes and antiques. I haunt junk stores. You should have seen me yesterday. I had to buy 20 more antiques.

How long did it take to get your hair that long?
Well, that's kind of an age question. Let's just say it took a long time. I get it rebraided once a month, and it takes three girls 14 hours to do it. It's very painful, but once it's done I don't have to bother with it for a month. The top part I wash and do every three or four days.

What makes you happiest, saddest and maddest?
I'm happiest when I'm doing what I do best, which is making music. And it's selfish, but when I think it's good, that's when I'm happiest. I'm second happiest when other people respond to it. I mean I was happy when I wrote "Don't Wanna Fall In Love", and I was doubly happy when people responded to it and it went to the top of the charts. Conversely I'm saddest when I'm not working. When I'm doing things I don't think are good. What makes me angry is kind of unrelated. What angers me most is ignorance. Ignorance that is uneducated and racist. It scares me because it's irrational, and it doesn't seem balanced.

What have you always wanted to do that you haven't done yet?
I'm really looking forward to going on tour. I'm looking forward to playing my songs with a band. Being able to really put across the songs the best that they can be put across. Before I was signed, I was playing bars and wasn't really able to do it right. This time I'll be able to do it right. It's really exciting to me, the prospect of these kids that write me letters actually being there and seeing my concert.

I'D be one of those Kids! Jane Child is the Citroen of the music world -She is bold in her outward individual style and explicit in her expression of ideas and artistry. If you really want to find out how Jane feels about her car, just buy her album. "That's a good thing to say", says Jane as we closed our meeting. Jane writes, produces and performs all the instruments on her album, except for the guitar parts. Lets all hope that for years to come Jane Child's Incredible Tunes Resound Over Every Nation.

Citroen Quarterly


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