ABOUT ME


Professional Bio and Executive Summary

My involvement in the NZ music industry has spanned a total of 35 years to date. 

I began my music career at the University of Otago, Dunedin, where I studied a number of music papers as part of my Bachelor of Arts.

I registered my first musical works and became an APRA writer member in 1987. I have since written, registered and released more than 250 songs and continue to produce music on a regular basis.

In bands Working With Walt, Cassandra’s Ears and as a solo artist signed to Warner Music Australia and Mushroom Publishing, I spent 15 years as a professional recording and touring musician.

Taking a break from music, I studied business at Auckland University and spent a period working in advertising and marketing, including a stint in Sales & Marketing Manager for Juice TV (a music channel) and as Marketing Manager for Tax Refunds Ltd.

In 2010, I became General Manager of Native Tongue Music Publishing, based in Auckland and is where I learned the basics Music Publishing.

In 2011 I was appointed to the board of Independent Music New Zealand (IMNZ)

At the close of 2013 I left Native Tongue Music Publishing to concentrate on growing the licensing and supervision business of Aeroplane Music Services. As well as supervising for film, TV and agency work. This company then represented master rights for Warner Music NZ, Flying Nun Records, Arch Hill Music, Frequency Media Group and ADA (The Alternative Distribution Alliance) for synchronisation licensing in New Zealand.

In 2013 I became a director of Recorded Music New Zealand (RMNZ), a position I held until resigning.

I launched independent music publisher Songbroker Limited in 2014; the fastest growing publishing company in the New Zealand market, representing the musical works of about 200 songwriters and composers. Subsequently I found that I was one of the few women working in an executive level in music publishing and one of the few female owner operators of a music publishing company in Australasia.

2019 saw the release of my fourth studio album, “Sportsman Of The Year - A Suburban Philosophy” which was released, as a multimedia project in the form of a book, album and podcast series. The album charted in the national chart at # 8 and has received much critical acclaim.

Currently the majority of my time is spent growing my company Songbroker as we have global ambitions.

My other big ambition is to empower NZ musicians so they understand how the music industry works, where the royalties are flowing, earn more for their works and look for ways to enhance their well being. 

How it all began in music.

Cassandra's Ears


Cassandra's Ears

Jan Hellriegel first came to Warner Music’s attention with her band Cassandra’s Ears, an all-girl indy pop-rock band formed at university in Dunedin, New Zealand. Cassandra’s Ears developed a strong following and toured NZ relentlessly before disbanding in 1989, after recording two self-funded EPs.

Jan signed to Warner Music NZ as a solo artist in 1990.

Photo by Michelle Cutelli


Photo by Michelle Cutelli

Significantly, she was their first local signing and at the time the first NZ female singer/songwriter to be picked up by a major for a full development deal.

Warners brought JD Souther down to Auckland twice to work on material with Hellriegel but only two tracks resulted from these sessions, and the album was eventually completed with producers Nick Morgan and Don McGlashan at Phil Rudd’s Mountain Road farmhouse studio in early 1991.

In late 1992, Hellriegel’s debut solo album was released by Warners. The single The Way I Feel reached number 2, and two more singles top 10-ed.

That year Hellriegel supported David Byrne, and also opened for The Cure on their New Zealand Tour.

Picked up by Warner Music Australia, Hellriegel moved to Melbourne in 1994, where she was given a hands-off deal to work on a second studio album.

Tremble emerged in 1995 to critical acclaim in NZ and Australia. It shifted as many units as the first, but wasn’t the blockbuster the label had hoped for. It was too directional for the public and also, it would seem, for Warners.

In 1995 she supported Jeff Buckley on his Australian tour, and the next year Buckley called again to have her on his bill for his next swing through Australasia.

Returning home to NZ, Hellriegel recorded a more poppy release, Sentimental Fool, but things weren’t working out and she left Warners in 1997.

In early 1999, Hellriegel self-released the EP Melusine through Universal distribution, but, becoming a little disillusioned with the business of the music business, took time out to have a family and figure things out a bit.

However, Hellriegel kept writing and performing occasionally and in early 2009 went into Neil Finn’s Roundhead studio with producer Wayne Bell, some of New Zealand’s best players and a healthy budget, emerging later that year with All Grown Up .

Released on her own label Blind Date, All Grown Up was a commercial and critical success, with most New Zealand music writers giving it 5 Stars and key reviewers naming it the local album of the year.

Hellriegel released Lost Songs in May 2013, a collection of previously unreleased tracks and studio demos that had literally been gathering dust in the basement.

With that cleared out of her system, she’s been working on new music with top Auckland producer Wayne Bell and her long-time band guitarist Brett Adams, bassist Mark Hughes and Nick Gaffney on drums – and Dan Denholm, the ARIA award-winning Australian composer/producer who producedTremble.

She will be releasing a series of singles which will feature co-writes with other writers ahead of a new studio album expected some time in this century.

First Up – Bottom Of My Heart a co-write with Greg Johnson 

And Because You a co-write with Wayne Bell 

And the latest release a co-write with Martin Brown ... For The Love Of Glory

2019 Jan released “Sportsman Of The Year - A Suburban Philosophy”, a 12 track album, an accompanying book and a series of podcasts.