DIY Spotlight: Jane McNealy

It’s unusual to be talking about a songwriter in their seventies who only recently started their own label, but then there’s very little “usual” about Jane McNealy, head-honcho at Lo-Flo Records. McNealy got her start in the music industry in the ‘60s, moving to L.A. and meeting renowned orchestrator and arranger Harold Battiste Jr.

“He had a record company called AFO (All For One),” McNealy says. “He was trying to start a jazz label out here. He signed me as a writer to his publishing company, and that got me going. I met a lot of interesting people and wrote a lot of music.”

The music industry has evolved pretty much beyond all recognition over the past 60 years, and unsurprisingly McNealy says that technology has changed the most.

“That’s one of the things I miss about the ‘60s and ‘70s,” she says. “I think that there was much more melodic stuff going on 50 years ago. Things are quite a bit more automated. It sounds like things are put together with sampling. People aren’t just playing and performing the way they used to.”

McNealy started Lo-Flo Records in 2015, primarily to release the mountain of archival material that she had accumulated over the years. When she was diagnosed with cancer, she felt motivated to get to work.

“I got a great team together, and they’re inventive and wonderful. People that like the analog things that I was dealing with for 30 years. I think people would appreciate that. There are a lot of musicians people will relate to even if they don’t remember them. I’m rerecording a lot of the jazz songs that I wrote. But also I’m putting out albums of the songs from musicals I’ve written.”

Health-wise, things are on the up for McNealy, and much is happening with Lo-Flo.

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