Janis Ian at the Unitarian

Age reminds Janis Ian that she's too old not to have a good time. The folk and pop artist, best-known for her '70s hit, "At Seventeen," says her new material is fun and happy "because life is just too serious anymore."

Last month, Ian won her second Grammy Award, this time for Best Spoken Word Album for her narration of her autobiography, "Society's Child." Other nominees were first lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres and Rachel Maddow.

Writing always has been Ian's strong suit, and lately she's been writing more than ever — music, poetry and books, including her forthcoming children's title, "The Tiny Mouse," after one of her songs.

When she's not holed up writing in her Nashville, Tenn., home, Ian tours just enough to keep her edge. She will present "From Society's Child to Folk Legend: An Intimate Evening of Memories and Music" at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 3, at the Unitarian Fellowship, 87 Fourth St., Ashland. Singer and songwriter Diana Jones will open the show. Tickets cost $25 in advance, $28 at the door, $10 for teens ages 12 to 17 and free for children 11 and younger. Tickets are available at www.stclairevents.com or Music Coop in downtown Ashland.

At age 14, Ian garnered national attention and notoriety for the song "Society's Child" about an interracial romance. Because of the song's taboo content, it was banned on numerous radio stations, although it had the support of Leonard Bernstein and other artists of the day. However, America finally came around, and in 2001, the song, along with "At Seventeen," was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Ian's early successes paved the way for her enduring career as a singer and songwriter. She since has released more than 20 albums and received nine Grammy nominations in eight categories. Her music has been recorded by Cher, John Mellencamp, Celine Dion, Roberta Flack and others and has been featured on soundtracks for "Falling From Grace, "30 Rock," "Desperate Housewives," "All My Children" and other television shows.

Ian stepped out of the limelight for nearly a decade in the '80s to pursue other arts, including acting, dancing and piano, but eventually reclaimed her former stardom.

"I never wanted to do anything else," she says. "This has been it for me for as long as I remember."

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