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Coldplay: Jan Talks Music, Their Environmental Campaigns & How the Band Inspired Her To Write A Book
"Coldplay became my recovery music. The lyrics they sang influenced my thinking and gave me belief in myself. The lyrics I ruminated over helped me believe in myself at a time i was unsure about the world." - Jan
Hi Jan, Thank-You so much for agreeing to chat with us today about Coldplay! This is the first time we’ve ever done a piece on the guys so I’m really excited to hear about them through a fan’s perspective. To start things off, would you mind introducing yourself to our lovely readers? Where did your journey as a Coldplay fan begin?
My name is Jan Johnson and my Coldplay journey started in 2016 when I was in hospital with a brain virus. My sister in law brought me an iPod with all old songs on it such as Scientist and Every Teardrop is a Waterfall, Paradise etc. Coldplay became my recovery music. The lyrics they sang influenced my thinking and gave me belief in myself, such as “you don’t know how lovely you are’, “you could be someone special“, “don’t ever give up” and “this could be paradise”. The lyrics I ruminated over helped me believe in myself at a time I was unsure about the world.
Music affects and inspires us all in many different ways so I’m curious to ask in which ways has Coldplay inspired you?
I’m a bit of a dreamer, I like to write poetry and rhyming children’s stories. I have recently signed a contract with Novum publishing for my children’s book 'Dolly Daydream'. I think that along with family and friends influence; Coldplay also played a big part in having faith in myself, there’s a song called “Someone Special” that I played over and over and some of the lyrics just resonated so much.
Our lives were turned upside down in early 2020 with the onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic which has affected each and every one of us in a different way. Did you find comfort in Coldplay's music during this time?
During the beginning of the Pandemic I had suicidal thoughts, it was so scary what the world was going through. The lyrics “Don’t ever give up” kept playing over in my mind. I didn’t give up, I kept going and focused on my book, the illustrations and then my project with Step up. To anyone out there who is going through something bad, please don’t ever give up; those thoughts will pass, seek help like I did and don’t ever give up!
Coldplay is such a huge name in the music industry, their legacy continues to grow with each as does their growing fanbase. Why do you think they have been such a success over the course of their career? What is it about the band and their music that we as listeners connect with on such a profound level?
I think their success is due to many things, apart from being amazing musicians and lyricists; the love and connection they have with each other and with other people, reverberate. They are the kind of role model society thrive on.
Expanding upon the previous question…is there a moment in Coldplay’s career that you hold closely to you heart?
'A Head Full of Dreams' is my favourite album so far and I think it’s because as I was recovering it was a source of comfort. I realised that I myself had a head full of dreams that I kept as dreams and didn’t act upon them because I never had faith in myself.
And how has their music inspired you throughout your time as a fan? Do you have a personal favourite amongst their songs? Is there a story behind your choice?
I’d say that 'The Scientist' has probably had the most impact on my life because it set me off on a journey of self discovery. I wondered what the lyrics we’re talking about, I’m quite inquisitive so I went “back to the start”, I studied how the universe came into fruition, watched endless videos on physics, maths etc. I researched human biology, anthropology, and many many more subjects such as philosophy and psychology. Learning all the time that humans are the answer to all our problems in the world; if we work together as a community we can achieve amazing things.
When I was recovering 'Yellow' was one of the songs along with “Scientist” that made me think about “life itself” like I pondered on the lyrics and how they mention stars, skin and bones. Then I researched human biology, know so much about humans now and genes etc maybe I’m just nosey hey or inquisitive!
I’ve also just heard The Supernova 7 mix of 'My Universe' and it’s bloomin' marvellous also 'Higher Power' is amazing so I just cannot decide on a favourite I’ve decided!
Coldplay are extremely passionate about economical and environmental issues having collaborated with organisations such as Ocean Cleanup and One Tree Planted. Can you tell our readers more about how this has not only influenced you but encouraged you to do your part to help stop climate change?
I was gutted that the 'Everyday Life' album was never going to be on tour because of Coldplay’s views about the planet, I just didn’t get it until I researched environmental issues; then they joined forces with 'One Tree Planted' and 'Ocean Clean Up', I was sooo impressed by Coldplay and how they used their influence for the greater good of humanity. Honestly, I have been blown away and consumed by what they do that I thought what on earth can I do in my community to contribute to this environmental mission. So I became a member of 'Step Up' advisory panel and then started a project with their help. It’s only in it’s early stages but the director has had some good conversations with local businesses, canal and river trusts and Co-Op live who are all interested in my project which is absolutely amazing!
* To find out more about 'Step Up', please click here.
Let’s talk a bit about your work as a community volunteer…what does this role involve? How did you start off in this particular area?
I’d say that 'The Scientist' and 'Fix You' have had a massive influence on my thinking. It’s difficult to explain in text but I literally think they spoke to my heart and took me on an amazing journey of self discovery (lots of other songs did too) which resulted in self belief and taking action to help the environment which in turn helps human kind. “Fix You” first made me believe I could fix my own thinking and help fix the planet.
I’ve always been a helper I’m from a family of helpers. We have helped in the community for years doing clean ups and organised trips. My Mam and some neighbours started a community group called Riverside Gardens because we live close to River Medlock, after she retired and moved house and years later, myself and 2 friends have a new Community group called Riverside Revival. We had one event before the Pandemic hit so it’s mostly Facebook group now but we’re planning a Riverside clean up.
When we spoke on Twitter beforehand, you spoke about a children’s book that you wrote and illustrated this year. A huge congratulations by the way! What’s particularly special about the book is it’s connection with Coldplay…can you tell us more?
After searching for an artist for months, the Pandemic hit and I discovered Art when I was off work. I did some Art at school but not seriously, got “O” level which is ordinary. Anyhow a lady called Angela Marston who published one of my poems in her book Poems for a Pandemic said to me…'have a try you might surprise yourself' so I did all my own illustrations whilst endlessly listening to Coldplay. The book is out March 2022.
Coldplay are due to release their latest album ‘Music of Spheres’ on the 15th of October…what are you most looking forward to about the new album?
MOTS...I’m soooooooo excited about this album it looks magical and so collaborative, I’ve only heard 18 seconds of 'My Universe' with BTS and already it’s my fave.
As we draw near to the end of the interview, I wondered if you had a message for the band?
My message to the band is A Million Thank yous for being in my life, you have changed it forever, I have had a head full of dreams for years and made a start on fulfilling some of them, I’ve been on an adventure of a lifetime, I think you have fixed me; lights really did guide me home, home is where the heart is, I’ve found my true self and what I’m capable of. Thanks for inspiring me to do great things, just like you do, you are truly the perfect role models that society needs. Again, a million thank yous xx
And finally…if you could recommend a Coldplay song to someone who’s unfamiliar with their music what would you suggest?
There are so many songs to recommend to someone who has never heard Coldplay, there’s a song for every mood, I’d say 'A Head Full of Dreams' and 'Adventure of A Lifetime' are brilliant to start off with.
It has been the greatest pleasure to work with Jan on this piece...my admiration for Coldplay has only grown through exploring their lyricism with Jan's careful guidance. They are clearly a band who care about the world; their fans and of course...the music. Jan's story is one filled with the goodness of music and how it can inspire all that's good in the world.
Be sure to check out Jan's upcoming book "Dolly Daydream" due for release in March 2022...