F This (Meanwhile…)

“This popped up on my Spotify this morning and it made me think Janice could do that easy.”

A friend (and head cheerleader)

I got that text with a link to a song in the beginning of March. At the time, I was consumed with my show, Scandusical, and all the time I’m crazy, so I thought to myself, “She wants to me to think I have options after my writing career tanks (…finishes tanking) but I’m not a producer.”

Meanwhile… my friend Daniel and I had a due date approaching for our YouTube channel, Cat Tetris. We had an episode and a song due. The episode would be easy enough, but the song… that was going to take time we probably weren’t going to be able to find since we were in thick of a show (shoutout again to Scandusical). So we decided to pull from the archives, which led to me dusting off a song we had written and recorded in 2018. A song I had produced three versions of. Even though I wasn’t a producer.

Also meanwhile… a former friend was releasing some songs. Put a pin in that.

And then the world shut down. The last time I was social without distancing, I was recording the cast of my show (oh hey there AGAIN, Scandusical) and I spent the first few days in quarantine working on a few of those tracks. And I don’t know what exactly it was about that moment that flipped the switch, but I was tweaking the timing of a section in one of the songs when I stopped and said out loud, “Hang on, I am a producer.”

The person who has overall creative and technical control of the entire recording project, and the individual recording sessions that are part of that project. He or she is present in the recording studio or at the location recording and works directly with the artist and engineer. The producer makes creative and aesthetic decisions that realize both the artist’s and label’s goals in the creation of musical content. (GRAMMY qualification definition of a producer)

I have been producing tracks for years. With varying levels of success, depending on how we’re defining success. For me, success has meant being able to do what I do faster and better: what used to take a week, and then days, now takes a day, sometimes only hours. It’s a gift. And I don’t say that to imply that I’m gifted, I am not – it is a gift of disposable income past that I have the equipment and software that I do and a gift of time that I have been able to learn how to use them. And I have been using and learning them for years now.

A few months ago at a MAESTRA meeting, the guest speaker told the story of when she wanted to transition from acting to directing and was tossing up how to go about it, another actor-turned-director gave her some advice: “Do what I did,” he said “just start telling people you’re a director.” Which kicked off a sidenote convo about the statistics that say when applying for jobs, women tend to apply when they feel they meet 100% of the criteria, whereas men will apply if they meet 60%. Whether it’s a lack of confidence or an overabundance of caution (#whynotboth), women tend to err on the side of counting themselves out before someone else can. And ain’t I a woman? It makes me think about that former friend of mine who has been releasing songs lately. Proudly and easily labeling himself a songwriter. And why not, if you look at the credits of his songs, they’ve all got him listed, almost exclusively as the lyricist and composer; but the gag is that I wrote most of his songs. Yes, technically (according to the contract we eventually settled on) they were “co-writes” but he wrote those songs the same way I have baked every cake I ever bought from Costco by saying “Make it about birthday.” And here’s the thing, I don’t even resent him his claim to be a songwriter. Honestly, God bless. I have always envied his confidence in claiming and proclaiming his talents. It has opened doors and made connections for him. Meanwhile…

I’ve had to have lengthy conversations with myself about every label I’ve eventually hesitantly given myself permission to use (writer/songwriter/singer), including now, finally music producer. I am a music producer. But this time is different, because this time worldwide is different and I ain’t got the time to ease into it, test it out and let it settle in. I’m not only calling myself a producer, I’m stepping out in it and claiming it. Loudly. Because remembering what life looked like six weeks ago seems unbelievable now and looking ahead six weeks is unimaginable. To say we all went on PAUSE is a little misleading, pause implies freezing something at a certain point then picking up again, when you’re ready, from that exact point. But this is not that. Not for me. If my life was a movie, before we paused it, it would have been a pretty average Black dramedy; but when it starts again… bruh, I don’t even know. Could be a heist movie, an apocalypse adventure, horror. An apocalypse horror. I don’t know. So I’m sending up my flares now.

F This cover image

As a veritable verified singer, songwriter and producer, I am crafting and releasing F This a trilogy of EPs. Each EP will have a title and theme that starts with F, will feature 5 original songs (and an introlude) and will be released on a Friday (Forgettery on 5/1, Fortuity 5/8 and Forgery on 5/15). All written and produced by me, to serve as receipts and a resume.

Because the things I have had no problem claiming to be (a receptionist, an admin assistant) have definitively well-actually’d me by definitely declaring me forever non-essential. And yes, when the time comes, I, along with 22 million+ other people will try to reclaim one of those titles for money’s sake (if money is still a thing after all this), but we’re going to have to rebuild the world anyway, so why not work towards the version where what we do to make a living and what we live to do are actually connected?

So this is me, putting myself out there, while locked away in here. In hope that someone out there will hear something that sparks joy for then and hopefully, sparks work and/or opportunities for me.


Tell your friends.

Janice Lagata was born in California, but born for New York. A writer, fighter, igniter and matron saint of cats; smirking is her favorite. She’s just a girl feeding herself to the world and asking it to love her – that’s a lyric from a song she wrote, you can probably find it and lots of other things she’s working on by asking the internets (insta/twitter/soundcloud/spotify/youtube/your mom) for @jani_the_cat.

The Life and Times of FavouredWiles

(TL:DR – Janice needs help, go check out her Patreon page.) 

Have I ever told you about FavouredWiles? She was born on Twitter and was briefly semi-famous… famous? That’s seems like a reach. She was briefly semi-popular in a Shondaland corner of the internet in the early twenty-teens. Known for her musical three minute recaps of Scandal episodes. She was something special. And she was me. An alter-ego I created because I didn’t want my friends to help me. 

The year was 2013 and I had decided that if I couldn’t write for TV (yet), I would write about TV. So I started blogging about SCANDAL. But before I pressed “publish” on my first post, the faces of all my friends flashed before me and my pride said “They don’t want to read this. No one wants to read this. But your friends will because they feel bad for you.” And I felt bad about that. So I created a whole new internet persona, a writer that no one knew, who would rise or fall (most likely fall) completely on her own merit or lack thereof (most likely lack thereof). So FavouredWiles was born. And she started blogging. And she did okay. Actual people who didn’t actually know her actually read her blog and actually liked it. And then she/I had the idea of the three minute recaps… and actual people actually LOVED THEM.  

I remember it was a Tuesday when the third recap BLEW. UP. And I went from like fifty Twitter followers to nearly a thousand. And it was so surreal because I was going to hang out with some friends that night and my phone was just blowing up, my internet profile was on fire (in the best way possible) and almost no one in my real world had any idea. It was wild. Also wild, the fact that I STILL didn’t really want to tell friends about what I was doing, because then it felt like bragging. In the end, I was never fully able to integrate my two personas and eventually I deleted the FavouredWiles account, killed the alter-ego and gave up all those followers because I felt that they didn’t even really know me and we’re only following me because they felt bad for me… wait, what?! I don’t know. My self-sabotage is even more creative than I am. 

Long story short, in the end, I both created and killed a version of myself because I didn’t want anyone to feel obligated to help me.  

But now it’s 2020. And I need help. 

One of the last things FavouredWiles started working on was a ten-minute recap that turned into a full-length musical that JaniTheCat (FKA: FavouredChild) finished. It’s called SCANDUSICAL and it’s pretty fantastic. It’ll be playing for 4 nights at The PIT in March and then after that… I’d like to get it up and running for longer. But I can’t do it alone. Everything costs – rehearsal space, rehearsal snacks & water, printing scripts and sheet music, costumes, props, ACTORS, MUSICIANS and ASSISTANTS!! It would honestly be great to make money from my writing someday, but far above that and way before that (if ever), I want to be able to pay the people who are giving their time and talent to bring this show to life. I’m used to my writing costing me, I don’t mind; but I would really like for it not to be a burden on the people who are literal gifts to me. So I’ve started a Patreon for this project and this is me asking you to help me, by becoming a Patron. For a little as $3 a month you can help me defray some of the upfront costs which will leave me more room to pay all the people who are not me on the back end. And maybe (god-willing) I’ll break even one of these days!  

Listen, as someone who was once born, lived successfully and died on Twitter, and is now older and wiser in the real world, I am finally humble enough to proudly ask for help. From anyone and everyone – my friends, enemies, frenemies, strangers (with candy or without), YOUR friends, enemies and frenemies. Whosoever will, for whatever reason. If it’s because you feel bad for me – so be it. I’ll take it. My pride would prefer that it’s because you think I’m good at what I do and totally worth supporting, but at this point, I think I’m good at what I do and totally worth supporting, so I’m fine believing that for the both of us if need be.  

So please, take some time and visit my Patreon page and when you’re ready, for whatever reason –  become a patron of SCANDUSICAL. Make all of FavouredWiles’ dying wishes come true and let’s get this show on the road together. 

Thanks for everything, from every version of me. 

xx janice 


Tell your friends.

Janice Lagata was born in California, but born for New York. A writer, fighter, igniter and matron saint of cats; smirking is her favorite. She’s just a girl feeding herself to the world and asking it to love her – that’s a lyric from a song she wrote, you can probably find it and lots of other things she’s working on by asking the internets (insta/twitter/soundcloud/spotify/youtube/your mom) for @jani_the_cat.

Lamborghini Lives

It all gets jumbled for me. And honestly, I’m not always sure what I believe. And whether it even matters what I think. People are… people. And everyone is (I assume) just doing their best. But… it’s all jumbled. 

It’s probably going to seem like this post was inspired by a Lamborghini. Specifically the one Pastor John Gray bought for his wife a few weeks ago, but it would be more accurate too say that Lamborghini parked itself in the middle of a post that I’ve been writing for the past year or so. 

I don’t think it’s any secret that Christianity and I have a complicated relationship. We love each other dearly and are in this thing together, forever (literally), but it gets tricky when a relationship looks one way at home and completely different in the streets. When so many people are claiming Christianity is so concerned with some things and so unmoved by others. What’s the truth? 

Well… let’s start with something we can all agree on: Martin Luther King Jr. He was pretty great, right? Something he said, that has been rising to the top more and more over the past few years was a shot fired directly at “moderate” Christianity: 

“First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” 

Letter From A Birmingham Jail

And then there’s this Hillsong song that has been echoing in my head and heart since I first heard it. And, ironically, was part of what ultimately led me away from Hillsong. The song is “As It Is (in Heaven)” and one of lines/thoughts is: 

And while I’m waiting,  
I’m not waiting 
I know Heaven lives in me. 

As It Is (In Heaven)

With the entire song coming from The Lord’s Prayer which is Jesus’ prayer template for Christians, asking for God’s will to be done and His Kingdom to come on earth, as it is in Heaven. Which is why, while we’re waiting, we’re not waiting, because we’re supposed to be bringing God’s will and His Kingdom here. On earth. 

So then the question becomes… Well, what is God’s will? And what does His Kingdom look like? 

Each of the twelve gates was a solid pearl. The streets of the city were made of pure gold, clear as crystal. 

Revelation 21:21

Pearly gates. Streets of gold. Dope. Got that. But there’s something my pastor has said a few time over the past few weeks (or maybe he only said it once and it’s just been echoing non-stop in my head, unclear.) Either way, his revelation was this: 

The streets are made gold. Pure gold of the highest quality. And Heaven is worth so much that pure gold of the highest quality, is like asphalt there. It’s nothing. So common and of such little value, it’s something to be walked on. 

And yet, classic us, we are mesmerized. By the ground. By the basest, most basic thing. 

But while we’re waiting, we’re not waiting. And so we buy Lamborghinis here. Because… 

“I got one wife, I got one life, I got two kids, and while they’re alive, I’m going to do whatever I can to bless them. And I hope you do the same to your family.”

Pastor John Gray, via Facebook Live

There has been no lack of words and opinions and hot takes on the whole Lamborghini situation, but that one line in that quote from John Gray has been the one that has made the most sense of everything to me: I got one life. 

And I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he was just in preacher mode and going with the flow and it rhymed with “I got one wife” and it fit the motif, so he just went with it, but it’s problematic. Because it’s not exactly true: there is after all, in the Christian tradition, life after death. And this life is just the beginning. A mist that’s here and then gone. It’s smoke. A blip on the radar of eternity. 

And the vast majority of us will have to wait until Heaven for our Lamborghinis. 

And I’m fine with that. But not every Christian is. They want to live their best life now. And I’d actually be fine with that too, if they wanted it for everyone. But they don’t. And I know they don’t because they’re still telling some of us to wait. Not for gold or for cars or for fame, but for justice. For refuge. For reparation. For good news for the poor. Freedom for the prisoners. Sight for the blind. Freedom for the oppressed. 

You can have all that there, but here… can’t have it all, I guess.

So what am I saying? Nothing definitive yet. Because it’s all still jumbled. Mostly, I’m just wondering… 

What parts of Heaven are we really the most interested in bringing to earth? What parts are we happy to wait for, for ourselves. And, maybe more importantly, what parts are we very happy for others to wait for. 

Because for some us, while we’re waiting, we’re not waiting, we know Heaven… Lamborghini.


Tell your friends.

Janice Lagata was born in California, but born for New York. A writer, fighter, igniter and matron saint of cats; smirking is her favorite. She’s just a girl feeding herself to the world and asking it to love her – that’s a lyric from a song she wrote, you can probably find it and lots of other things she’s working on by asking the internets (insta/twitter/soundcloud/spotify/youtube/your mom) for @jani_the_cat.