To celebrate the 8th year anniversary of my Halloween tribute “Psycho” I have written a blog to share the story behind the song and my alter ego who performs it “Marella Jane.”
Introducing Marella Jane:
Ok I admit it…. The star target in “Psycho” is a guy that I once loved- in fact my first love. (If you’re reading this, thank you for the inspiration.. I truly couldn’t have done it without you.)
Of course I didn’t actually mean the things I said about following him home, choking the soul out of him, throwing a knife at his throat etc.
It was just something I took prodigious pleasure in fantasizing, writing and singing about.
I don’t support violence against others (unless it’s for self defence, in a martial arts competition, OR towards the guy who was crinkling his chip bag just a little too loudly on the TTC today,) so the whole “killing my X in his sleep” gesture was just an act.
The hard edge industrial rock instrumentation and creepy, raspy vocals were frankly an angsty early twenties 3 year phase and all part of the ‘alter ego’ I was performing under at the time: “Marella Jane.” So, fear not- the real me isn’t a “psycho.”
Marella has many facets to her personality; she’s as up as she is down, left as she is right, cute as she is ugly, friendly as she is ferocious. She’s as straight forward as she is twisted.
She takes no shit ever and gives zero fucks always.
In short, she has no ‘in between.’ Through and through, she lives in extremes.
I can’t say I chose Marella Jane and all the characteristics that go with her as an alias for any particular reason. To be honest, she kind of chose me.
In fact when I think back, I realize she’s actually always been there…
Like the time in 6th grade I gave a boy a bloody nose because he tried to kiss me. (I actually feel really bad about that still. I hope this boy has learned to love again.)
Or the time at 4am I unscrewed a hot light bulb out of its socket and smashed it against the wall a little too close to my significant other’s head, because I didn’t feel “heard”. (This stunt definitely commanded undivided attention, but it turns out nothing is worth being talked about or even thought about at 4am.)
Then there was the time I lit an entire cross country ski chalet on fire just because. (It was more like a “hut” then a chalet really and the thing was falling apart. It needed to be demolished before it collapsed on some jolly cross country adventurer.)
Marella can at times be disruptive, volatile, unpredictable, sarcastic, rash, irrational, irresponsible, defensive and even a little scary.
And while I don’t subscribe to the qualities or think they are “right,” I can’t deny the fact that she’s always been there for me, protecting me from potential danger and helping me to be brave when I really don’t feel it.
I’ve grown to love her as a friend instead of someone I’m ashamed of.
Rather than suppressing her, I give her a voice so we can reason with one another and find compromises about the actions we’re going to take.
99% of the time, I call the shots.
I’ve come to accept however, that every now and then she is going to have the last word and I will have to end up being the bigger person and apologize for her behaviour.
No question she is difficult to live with and I work hard to manage her every day, but she’s a part of me and is half the reason I am where I am.
As frustrating as it can be to come to terms with, I understand that when I embrace my dark side, it actually enhances my light side.
If I’m a star, her darkness helps me shine brighter.
If I’m the sun, her rain turns me into a rainbow.
If I’m happy, her fear of loss helps me appreciate what I have more greatly.
Without her I’d be dull, incomplete and probably a Psycho.
Fun Facts about the making of “Psycho”
- This is the longest journey I’ve ever been on with a song: Psycho was written in 2008, recorded in 2009 and released to iTunes in 2010. The music video was shot and edited in 2010 and released in 2013.
- I worked at a strip club as a waitress for 2 years to pay for the song production and music video costs, as well as the production of 5 other songs that were meant to be released on a 6 track EP along with Psycho.
These 5 other songs have never seen and may never see the light of day.
- I have never been as cold as I was on day 1 of this shoot (the band scenes and solo shots of me in the chair).
We were in a deep freeze at the beginning of January in Toronto and the building we were shooting in didn’t have heat.
14 hours with a fan blasting -15c degree wind on me, all the while strutting my stuff in 6 inch heals was an experience I’d rather not repeat.
I remember near the end of the day not being able to move my face to sing.
It was all worth it and I’d do it again if I had to.
- 4 months after the video shoot, the building from day 1 got turned into a yoga and fitness studio known as “energyXchange” which I taught at for 4 years.
- Day 2 shooting took 17 hours, but was in heated buildings, one of them being my yoga client’s loft.
- The room with all of the newspapers and burnt curtains was decorated by me.
I bought curtains at value village and scorched them outside my apartment at the time.
I dug a crap load of newspapers and magazines out from any recycling bin I could find, stole a shopping cart and spent an entire evening taping newspapers to all of the walls and the floors.
My roommate was a saint.
- The little “hat” I’m wearing in the performance scene with the band is actually just a bra pad with a bow on it.
- Alexander Patrick Johnston A.K.A. “Pony” (the drummer on this song and the most wonderfully insane human I’ve ever met) was in a metal band at the time called “Baptized in Blood.”
In honour of this, I arranged to have “fake blood” drinks on set.
Near the end of the night, Pony had been drumming so hard and for so long in the cold that his hands, drum kit and -even a little bit of his face- were bloody. I wasn’t sure whether it was the fake blood or his own, but it didn’t matter to him because he would just say “keep it rolling!”
- Mark Taylor known from the classic Canadian TV show “Student Bodies” and modern tv show “Flashpoint” and I met by chance outside of another gym that I used to teach at.
We became friends and then he, and his bum graced us with a beautiful performance on this video.
I still owe you for this one friend!!!
- The guy playing lead guitar on my right with the bandanna around his head is Darryl “Daz” Coppins.
We met for the first time that day on set and have not only become dear friends but also collaborated on singles “Superheroes,” “Shades of Blue“and “Revived!”
A special Thank You goes to Alfio Annibalini and Andy Curran for believing in me during some of my darkest years and for helping me find my way in the years that followed. Your time and effort in this project will be remembered forever and I will find a clever way to get our tunes out there! Just know that I’ll always look up to you guys because you’ll always be climbin’. <3
“Psycho” Lyrics by: Janey Brown
Composed by: Andy Curran, Alfio Annibalini
Recorded and Mixed by: Alfio Annibalini
Music Video directed by: Ingrid “Monday” Johannson
Hair: Timothy Meerman
Makeup: Roxanne DeNobrega
Music Video Band Members: Coz Sullivan (bass), Jeff Glowacki (keys), Shawn Rock (guitar), Alex Johnson (drums), Daz Coppins (lead guitar)
Stalker victim: Mark Taylor
Lead vocals and Performance by: Marella Jane