Jan Terri embodies the never say die spirit of the outsider artist. She boldly and heroically acquired the necessary skills to present her art to the world. In 1983 Terri earned her B.A. in Broadcast communications and a Certificate of Management for Sound Engineering from Columbia College. Her outsider roots formed early courtesy of her membership in a jug band that played the clubs in Chicago. Her band mates consisted of her mom and dad. Her father gained notoriety for performing in black-face as “Black Elvis”.
Jan Terri gained notoriety with music videos that are compelling in their period cheesiness. Most of the videos were shot in Jan Terri’s home town of Chicago. In the 80’s and early 90’s the world was all about flash and glitz, Jan Terri’s attempts to crash the cool kids party gives us a bizarro perspective of the post Michael Jackson world. Late 20th century Pop fashion forced Jan Terri into an alien landscape. And for me, it’s a far more interesting landscape than the Wal-Mart America of today.
Jan Terri has secured her legacy in the world of Outsider Music, If she is a put-on, then it’s an elaborate Seinfeldian lampoon of disposable pop culture. If she is genuine, then she has met and exceeded the bar for inclusion in a very strange and fascinating club. Her cult following is formidable, loyal and growing. She’s been profiled on “The Daily Show” and can boast the admiration and patronage of Marilyn Manson.
IF the Outsider Music genre really gains currency, then they’ll need a “Queen”. Jan Terri is the class of the field so far.