Janelle ja
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Janelle ja

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter

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JJ: Thank goodness for financial aid. I was able to get that and to put myself through school. I had to work full-time jobs and took on an internship. But [by] doing that, it really molded me as a person and as an artist. Having that obstacle has made me who I am today. I don’t take [my work] lightly. I take it very seriously. There’s no room for error here. I bust my butt off for so long—this is it, or nothing at all.
The Chronicle: What’s it like recording in the studio?

JJ: I go there every Tuesday for three or four hours. When I sing, I do everything a straight shot through. I don’t like to repeat things over and over. I think when you go into the studio, you should know exactly what you want. So when I’m in the studio, I like to do everything raw and just record it. I know the structure of my songs, and I arrange them. A lot of times, I have to be in that moment. I just set myself in that place, and it comes out so naturally in all my songs. I don’t have a problem with getting that moment.
The Chronicle: Do you ever have bad recording sessions?

JJ: Yeah, if there are problems in my family, like we all have sometimes. Or, if I have to go home and help out my family, there’s times when I don’t want to go [to the studio]. But actually, I think that’s the best time to go—when I’m feeling vulnerable. That’s when the best of me comes out.
The Chronicle: How did you get involved with the IAC?

JJ: I was at a Columbia event. I’ve always been involved in some way, shape or form. I’ve always been connecting with people. I cannot stress that enough—students here at Columbia, if you want to turn your art into a business, connect. I was talking to someone who knew I wanted to get into the music industry, and I told him I didn’t have a lot of money. He said he’d introduce me to someone at the IAC, and they had me draw up a proposal. They’ve sponsored me four times now. Every time that they sponsored me, I put out a good product.
The Chronicle: What’s the story behind “Laura’s Daughter”?

JJ: I was very close to my late great-grandma, Laura Annie Washington. She and I were so close [when I was] a little girl, and I’m grateful for her because she really kept me grounded. She always said I had great talent with my writing and my singing abilities, even as a young girl. I didn’t quite understand it. [The EP is] a salute to her. She always said I can do anything if I work hard.
The Chronicle: So far, where else have you performed?

JJ: I had an EP release party in a rented, four-story house. I was a Manifest street performer, and I did the House of Sole performance at a boutique and the Lillian Dion upscale hair salon. I try to think outside [of] the box. I like doing performances at nursing homes and giving back. I went back to my grade school, and they were so happy to see me. I’m being very selective with my performances. I’m even thinking about the tunnels for some reason. I’ve done the Gorilla Tango Theatre, Columbia Music Center and Big Mouth. Lollapalooza and Pitchfork are my goal.
The Chronicle: Can you elaborate on that?

JJ: I’m a giver, so I’m working with an orphanage in Africa right now. That’s where I see myself helping out homeless kids on the streets and [helping] with their education. I come from little-[to]-nothing. Coming to Columbia was a challenge to me. I want to help out people who don’t have a whole lot because I know what it’s like to not have a whole lot and to try to work your way up. - Chronicle


Discography

Laura’s Daughter EP Album
Released October 2011
Singer-songwriter
3 track album featuring “Merry Go Round”, “Why”, and “I Don’t Care”
CD Baby and iTunes
Sponsored by: Illinois Arts Council

Laura’s Daughter (The Lounge Edition)
Released January 2012
Singer-songwriter
Single track remix “Merry Go Round”
CD Baby and Tunes
“This project is supported by a Community Assistance Program grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and Illinois Arts Council a state agency”

CD Universe.com Amazon UK, Amazon US, E Music and Columbia Shop, Lillian Dion Salon Spa physical form.

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Bio

t first glance she is demure and petite, with a modest sense of chic and an air of humility. Take another look and you will discover a raging fire ready to devour Chicago. Janelle. Sassy and classy, with a little bit of funk.

Janelle’s music is far from black and white. She brings a colorful and diverse form of neo-folk with a bit of jazz to the scene. Her lyrics are inspired through personal struggles and triumphs. Janelle is a true testament to the quote, “a baby must crawl before it can walk.”From a very young age, Janelle’s great-grandmother encouraged her to follow her heart. Since then, Janelle has been paying her dues and honing her craft. Her first brush with success occurred when she recorded “Play-ing with my Emotions,” which was featured on B96 late night mix set. While attending West Aurora High School, Janelle joined the girl group Vanesse. The group’s music has been featured on radio station 107.5fm WGCI Chicago. The experience had a profound impact on her, both personally and professionally. Janelle’s fierce passion for singing, song writing and performing allowed her to fuse each element together, creating a profound musical foundation. At the moment, Janelle is perfecting her craft. It has been no small feat.

Besides interning with WTTW 11, MTV, promoting for J Records, meeting with Sony Records in New York and working as Production Assistant, Janelle has managed to put together her own music production and demo. “Being a female and having to do all the work has opened my eyes. I know I can do anything if I just work hard.”

Janelle has performed at Lillian Dion Salon for her CD reception and had a full production at Gorilla Tango Theater. During her performance at McCleery grade school, Janelle encouraged children to stay in school and pursue a higher education.

Expect to see Janelle performing throughout the Chicago area in due time. She has been working hard to establish herself as a musical tour-de- force. Janelle can be spotted trudging the long blocks of the City planning her next move or chilling at the local coffee house jotting down a sure-to-be hit. Janelle is in the process of working on her upcoming album, “Laura’s Daughter” and hopes to independently record the rest of her material. She was born in Geneva, Illinois and later moved to Aurora. As a Columbia College alumni Janelle obtained her Bachelor of Arts in May 2006.