By John Ostapkovich
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Singer/songwriter Janis Ian is now the voice of the audio book industry, after winning a Grammy for her autobiography, a combination of narration and song.
Ian won a Grammy before, in 1975, for her famous song “At Seventeen”, so she was familiar with the pressures of an awards show, but the 2013 Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album caught her by surprise.
“It’s pretty amazing,” she said. “I was standing backstage, thinking, okay, Michelle Obama is definitely going to get it and if she doesn’t definitely get it, Bill Clinton will get it. There’s no chance of me getting it, so just take a deep breath and prepare to lose graciously, and I was so convinced that I wasn’t going to get it that when I did get it, they had to shove me onstage because I thought it was a mistake.”
But Ian didn’t just narrate her 2008 autobiography “Society’s Child,” she also sang it in parts. Now she’s looking to lend her voice to other people’s stories, to advance the sales and craft of audio books, already a more than a billion dollar a year business.