It didn’t take very long for Jana Kramer to step down from One Tree Hill and climb up the country charts.
The now former small-screen star released her first single, “Why Ya Wanna,” this week. The song’s title may not win over many English teachers, but the song itself is rocking country radio. Country Aircheck reported that 55 stations added the song to their playlists. That’s nearly triple the previous high mark for any debut female artist.
The 28-year-old Michigan native is known to many from her acting work on the TV series One Tree Hill. Her last episode on that program aired earlier this week. Now that she’s taken leave from OTH, she’s fully focused on her singing career.
I got to talk with Jana, who is confident and committed to her new craft. We discussed her record-setting debut, where the song came from and if she’s had that special moment that all artists experience with their first release.
The release of “Why Ya Wanna” made a record-setting splash with 55 stations adding the song. Are you blown away by this?
I know, I know! It hasn’t really hit me yet. Maybe it’s because I’ve been sick or what. When we were on the road on the radio tour, they were like ‘You’re gonna break the record, you’re gonna break the record’. It just really hasn’t hit me that I actually broke a record and that so many stations added it.
It’s kinda just a little bit surreal. But at the same time I’m like ‘Yeah, of course!’ I’m so determined and hard-headed to a fault. So of course I would break a record. (Laughs) Because that’s how I’m like! (Laughs).
How have the people in radio who you’ve met in-person been receiving you?
They’re so nice. It’s just been great. Everyone’s been really welcoming. It’s really hard for a female to break through in the country format and we had those people who kept saying ‘We hope you’re the female who breaks through.’ They’ve just been so nice.
How did the song “Why Ya Wanna” come to you?
I write a lot of my music. My friend, who I write with a lot, we were writing together and I was kinda explaining a situation about this guy and he still comes around and it’s so hard to see him. She was like ‘Oh, my gosh! You have to hear this song that I just wrote with another co-writer in town’. And she played it for me and I was like ‘Oh, my gosh! This is everything I’ve been wanting to say! I want the song!’. So I played in for my producer Scott Hendricks and he loved it and it ended up being the single.
Have you had the chance while driving down the road to hear it on the radio yet?
You know what? I haven’t. It’s so funny – I was just texting Anthony Allen, the program director at WSIX in Nashville and I heard that my song was on the radio because my friend called me screaming. I tried to get down to my car in time to turn it on, but I missed it. So I texted, ‘Oh, my gosh! You played my song! I can’t wait for the day when I’m driving in the car and it comes on.’ He’s was like, ‘You gotta call me when you’re in the car and we’ll play it!’ I haven’t, but I can’t wait.
We’ll have more with Jana next week including news about a special release, what drew her to country music, talk of touring and some details about the upcoming music video for “Why Ya Wanna.”
That video is due out next month. For now, enjoy the “Official Audio” version of the video. That’s a bit weird to say, but it does make sense.