Christian Music Star Janelle Lives Her Dream and Shares Her Faith
Music Spotlight Interview with Janelle, Livin’ for Something
By Lisa M. Hendey
Christian Recording artist Janelle is not your typical mom. Twenty five years of age and married to her “dream guy” and manager Jason Reinhart for nearly seven years, Janelle was recently nominated for a “Juno” – Canada’s music awards, for Album of the Year in the Christian Music category. This busy wife and musician is mom to three year old Eric, who she describes as a “little treasure”.
Along with singing and evangelizing, Janelle loves to bake, especially pies (from scratch!) and host friends in her home. “My dream is to open a Bed and Breakfast one day,” shares Janelle.
Christian music fans are hoping Janelle doesn’t go into the Bed and Breakfast business too soon. Along with her recent Juno nomination, Janelle has recently released her second full length CD, Livin’ for Something.
Janelle’s CD single “Be Not Afraid” was team written as a tribute to the legacy of Pope John Paul II. Written during his illness, two versions of the original were recorded and sent to the Vatican prior to his death. Janelle received personal thanks from the Vatican for her special gift.
Additionally, Janelle has become a role model for young people in many senses, but particularly through her participation in “Pure Fashion” shows promoting modest styles for today’s youth. Janelle’s recent calendar has her touring Canada, planning bilingual and US concert venues and pursuing her passion for writing.
I had the opportunity to catch up with Janelle recently and am happy to share the following interview with one of the Catholic music industry’s rising stars:
Q: How did you come to the decision to dedicate your life and your musical career to praising God with your talent? Did you ever contemplate a career in secular music? What has reinforced the choices you've made to record Christian music?
A: I think entering the Christian music industry scene was a natural progression of my faith journey. Christ and the Church have always been a big part of my life and my parents always encouraged me to server where I could, using the talents God gave me. I would say my formation at home really paved the way for my mindset. My parents lead the way in that regard too by their example. They were always helping out and organizing music concerts and your activities in our town and for our church. I just figured this is what all families did!
I never really contemplated a career in secular music unless it was with the purpose of doing Christian music in that scene in order to bring more souls to Christ. It was never a matter of, “Oh, I want to be famous like Celine Dion” or anything. My career in Christian music was birthed out of many years of using my talents at the service of the Church and others by singing at Mass, weddings, funerals, senior homes and such. People liked what I did and the demand grew, and God seemed to open doors…so I just simply walked thru them.
God then allowed me to fall in love with Catholic music’s top manager and booking agent (ok, so maybe I’m biased!) and together we sought God’s will for us, our family and this specific “music with a message” mission he entrusted to us.
Q: How do you mesh being an artist with being a wife and mom? Has your music changed since you became a mother?
A: I think the “mesh” of wife, mother and artist is a beautiful one and a never ending display of the natural “flow” of life. I liken it to the Northern Lights. It’s spectacular experientially and yet it’s constantly changing colors and shape. It’s a balancing act, but with Christ all things are possible! Thankfully I have a wonderful husband who loves me very much and yet pushes me to always give my best in each area. He’s excellent at maintaining our priorities. He’ll be the first to ask how my prayer life is or is always doing “calendar checks” to make sure we’ve scheduled our “dates”. I also make sure I have time to spend with other moms and women who encourage me in my faith walk. Songwriting, rehearsing and music business research and study is also all part of the picture.
Of course, Eric is the joy of our lives and he continues to make me laugh every day with his new discoveries or cute questions (like in Mass – “Can I have a party hat like him?” – pointing at the Archbishop’s miter!). All these experiences contribute to my songwriting and my deliverance in concert, but each role never opposes the other – they just complete me.
Q: I've read about your many wonderful life experiences! Can you tell us about a few of the performances you've had that have really shined for you and been the most special?
A: There are three performances that stick out to me. The first was the “Pure Fashion Show” (promoting modesty) in Atlanta last year. It was so encouraging to see so many young women take a stand against the pop culture of immodesty to say that they were part of a counter revolution that was out to change the world for Christ. It filled me with hope, not to mention it was an artist’s dream stage to perform on.
The second event is the junior high schools. The kids come in with hard hearts, crossed arms and looks as if to say, “You’d better come out with something good or I’m outta here!” And the, over the course of an hour with them, God softens their hearts and they are on fire! God is so awesome! His love is truly irresistible!
And the third was when I opened for Michael W. Smith. I had always dreamed of sharing a stage with him and it was like a kiss from heaven when God said, “Here you go my daughter, I love you this much: enough to grant your this desire of your heart!” (Even if I made it as a child!)
Q: What makes your new project, Livin’ for Something, unique and different from your previous work? How would you describe your musical style?
A: Living for Something is an album with a very defined theme. It’s all about people finding the urgency of the mission to conquer souls for Christ and the reality that that mission is the only reason and purpose of our existence. We were made to know, love and serve God. Knowing that, we are compelled to share this message with others. And time is precious – let’s use it well!
My musical style has definitely evolved since “New Day”. It’s a little edgier and more rock. The response from the youth has been great and I’ve been really enjoying performing the new tunes! The energy of the songs live is really palpable and driving – it makes you want to go out and change the world!
Q: What advice would you give to young people who have a dream and want to live their faith in their vocations?
A: God plants dreams in our hearts for a reason – it’s because He has confidence in our potential to do great things for Him. Follow Our Lady’s example and “ponder it in your heart”. Then take steps to make it happen without necessarily announcing to the world what your big vision is! (I always dreamed of singing on big stages, but at 13 years old, who believes you?! So I just kept singing at every chance I got and prayed confidently, knowing God had a plan.)
Then keep your priorities straight and be obedient to God’s will even if what He asks you to do doesn’t seem to fit into your plan of how the pursuit of your dream should go!
Who would have thought changing diapers would make me a more effective pop artist? I thought having a baby would be the end of my career as a pop/rock artist, in Christian music or out of it. But it hasn’t! Changing diapers after concerts keeps me humble – praise God! If you do that, you’re set! Happiness and fulfillment will be yours in Christ Jesus!
For more information on Janelle and her music, visit her web site at www.janelle.cc. To order her CD Livin’ for Something visit http://www.catholicmusicnetwork.com/cmn_cd_detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=50637&REFERER=183
Lisa M. Hendey is webmaster of www.CatholicMom.com , a wife and mother of two and a Catholic music fan and supporter. Visit her at www.LisaHendey.com for more information.
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