The daughter of an American father and a Nigerian mother, singer/ songwriter Janelia was born in Houston and raised in Nigeria. Janelia brings a unique multicultural vibe to soul music, something she playfully calls "JaneliaSoul". She is bilingual and enjoys singing in both English and Yoruba. Her passion for music began in elementary school when she held several lead roles in her school’s musical productions. Her professional career began when she moved to the United States. She toured as a back up singer with several regional and national acts and then ventured into being the lead singer of her own band.
Janelia lives in Baltimore, MD and continues to make a name for herself in the local, American, Nigerian, and global music scenes. She performs in clubs, festivals, and other venues in the Maryland and Washington, DC area. In late 2010, she independently released a single "Love Song in Yoruba". It is currently being broadcasted on all the major radio stations in Nigeria. For several weeks, the music video was ranked in the top ten video countdowns on some of Nigeria’s prominent music stations. It was number 4 on Sound City and number 9 on Africa Independent Television (AIT). In addition, "Love Song in Yoruba" is scheduled to air on BET International and is being transmitted in over 35 countries in Africa, Europe & the Middle East. It has also recently been selected to air in the United Sates on Centric cable Television, the sister station to BET.
Janelia is a multifaceted artist who is able to move fluidly between genres. "Love Song in Yoruba" has the contemporary sound of world music also known worldwide as Afro-pop or Afro-pean. "This is the Life” and "All of My Heart” has a Neo-Soul and Adult Contemporary sound. As an artist, Janelia has crossover appeal. She has secured fans for herself not only in the United States and Nigeria but throughout the globe, this is evident through her current YouTube hits and comments.
Some of Janelia's recent performances include the Face List Awards in New York. During this performance, she paid tribute to honoree, Angelique Kidjo, with a soulful acoustic version of “Agolo”. She was also a headliner at Recher Theater in Towson, MD. Janelia has also been the feature opening act for many national acts of various genres. Her past performances include: Artscape and the Detroit World Music Festival. Janelia also performed Africa Malaria Day Benefit Concert in Washington, DC where she helped raise funds and awareness for Malaria treatment and prevention.
Janelia is currently working on a new album which is being recorded with all live instruments. In this album, she is expanding her sound as she further explores Neo-Soul & Adult Contemporary. Her musical influences are as diverse as she is; they include Sade, Barbara Streisand, Bob Marley and Fela Kuti.
Janelia: Lead Vocals/Percussion
Gwen: Backup Vocals/Dancer
Femi: Bass Guitar/ Talking drums
Sam: Talking Drum/ Percussion
Love Song in Yoruba
JANELIA – IN ART, MUSIC and LOVE
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Growing up in Ibadan, Oyo State Nigeria, Janelia started singing in the choir as a teenager and went...Growing up in Ibadan, Oyo State Nigeria, Janelia started singing in the choir as a teenager and went on to sing professionally while in college, starting as a backup singer. This has seen her grow into a phenomenal musician, as can be witnessed in her music. Janelia has actually become what she wanted to do since she was young, become a singer, actress, wife and mom.
Janelia says that she is all about ART, MUSIC and LOVE:
“The ‘Art’ because I was born a natural artist, evident to my parents since I was a toddler. I also received a bachelor’s degree in “Fine Arts”. There are many things I do besides music, everything has to be artistically done and these many aspects of me can be perceived as a gestalt. I am Art.
The ‘Music’ because I just simply love music and singing gives me joy. It is also an extension of my artistic expression. Emotions I cannot paint, draw or braid about, I sing about. I love it so much that I have chosen to make a career of it and want my music to move people.
The ‘Love’ because it is the greatest of all. Like music, love is a universal language. We need more of it in this crazy world and it is a prevalent message in my music.”
Growing up in Nigeria, but currently living in America in Baltimore, MD, Janelia was exposed to many genres of music, and she had an appreciation for it all. This has made her musical influences range from Sade, Barbara Streisand, Bob Marley, Fela Kuti and more. She is a sucker for great love songs and that’s what she mostly writes about. Her music is mainly a blend of West African sounds with an urban feel. Her fluency in the Yoruba language can also be seen in her compositions and she hopes to add a few more Yoruba songsto her upcoming album.
Asked what her inspiration was, Janelia says “My inspiration comes from my experiences. I am also empathetic in many ways so I do not have to experience something before I write about it; I just have to feel it. Whether I experience it or feel it, one thing that is common is that it haunts me until I put it down on paper or sing about it. It could be specific lyrics or a melody or a thought provoking feeling; I am consumed by it until it is expressed. It’s usually one at a time, meaning I don’t write two or more songs concurrently.”
She describes the reception of her music as very positive, and is both amazed and grateful that all types of people from all over the world are liking her new song and video for “Love Song in Yoruba.” She further adds that good reception encourages her and bad reception encourages her to prove them wrong.
Asked about when to expect her album, Janelia says that her creative juices are still flowing and that the album is being recorded with live instruments together with some very talented musicians. It’s her hope that it will be completed before the end of the year and released by early 2012.
She dreams of touring the whole of Africa, UK, Australia, parts of Asia and generally anywhere her music is welcome. She is currently planning to hit the road and do a national tour in America after her album is done, calling it a pre-album release tour. She is excited to meet with her fans and forge deeper connections.
Her advice for upcoming artists;
1. Be original
2. Always take it to the next level
3. Keep going… don’t let anyone tell you are not talented, as long as you know it, you are good!
Fans can check her website for tour calendar and other updates.
Hide in Plain Sight
Nigerian-American singer Janelia Sanya’s single “This Is the Life” is about dreams...
Love Song in Yoruba
This is the Life
All of My heart
There are no upcoming dates at this time.