Q&A: Janice Gaines Newbie Gospel Artist Shares Her Thoughts on the Greatest Life Ever
By Sarah Komisky
A combination of Mary Mary and Mary J. Blige, Janice Gaines is a new artist to look out for. Starting her singing career unofficially as a toddler with influence from her mother who was a singer, songwriter, and musician, Gaines is ready to introduce the world to her music releasing her first record this October. Now, this ex-seventh grade math teacher from the Bronx is looking forward to sharing with others what it means to live out the mantra of her record: Greatest Life Ever. Here is a glimpse of what that means to her.
How would you want to encourage women to live their calling for the Lord?
There’s nothing wrong with a nine to five. Whatever the Lord has called us to, we are called to do it unto the glory of God and work hard in it not for perfectionism but for excellence. The Bible says that if we delight ourselves in the Lord, He’ll give us the desires of our heart And I think when we focus more on spending time with God and making Him the focus of every bit of our attention that He becomes the desire of our heart. I think once I realized that He was more interested in making good out of all the gifts He’s placed in me, it took off the pressure. I can just make Him my desire, my focus and He will draw those things out of me and He will lead me.
How can living outside the box be an adventure?
I think we are called to live an adventure in Jesus. We try to stuff our Christianity in cultural boxes instead of saying that my identity is being a follower of Jesus. Our God was so much more courageous than that, as He walked on earth. He really was out of the box of what people expected of Him, so I think I want to live out of my main identity that is following Jesus wherever I go.
In the Chronicles of Narnia movie there is a scene where Mr. Tumnus makes a statement that “He’s not a tame lion” and Lucy says, “But He is good.” I think there is something that we forget about Jesus that He’s not tame and not necessarily predictable but He is good and that means we lay aside every other box, every other identity. So what that means is that I am following the crazy, Good One, whose taking me places for the glory of His kingdom.
When it comes to your music, how do you want to shine music within today’s culture?
I think music is such an important tool and I think I want people to be first hooked by the music because it’s good music and then fed by the message.
How has God’s love transformed your life and what have you wanted to share through it in this album?
My parents got divorced when I was six and they just didn’t know all it would do to us but I would say it created so many holes in my heart that I just grew up feeling like a kid that was not loved well and not attended to well. When the Lord introduced Himself to me personally at twelve years old, I remember knowing that Jesus is real and He actually does love me. It is what led me to make Him the Lord of my life because I think I could trust His love above everything else.
Talk about the “Break-Up Song.” Can you share a little about that?
The song title catches people. “The Break-Up Song” is really about our responsibility to breakup the fallow ground of our hearts. Hosea 10:12 talks about God telling the children of Israel to breakup the ground to sow seeds of righteousness. We need to position ourselves for what God wants to say and what He wants to speak to us. We have to prepare our hearts to hear it.
Share about the story behind the song “Make A Way?”
My friend Keshia went to heaven by the way of breast cancer and I visited her a couple days before she went to heaven and I was hit so hard with it and I realized if I’m making an album talking about this thing the “greatest life ever,” than I better include the things when life is hard. At that moment I realized that I didn’t have anything to sing to her husband without feeling like I was being insensitive. Exiting, upbeat music is all fun but at the end of the day when people are hurting, I can still say life with Jesus is the greatest but I might say it a little differently in a moment like that. That’s how “Make a Way” came about when you’re in the middle and saying God I need you to come through and I need you here because I am in the depths of grief.
Why is it important to be real with the Lord when we are going through those deep valleys how we are feeling?
I call those Kindergarten emotions because the Kindergartner has not made to feel insecure about expressing their emotions any certain kind of way, they just kind of let it all hang out, and so I think it’s important to bring your Kindergarten emotions to the Lord because then I believe that’s where the healing comes from. As adults we say to pull up your boots straps and you’ll be fine but at the end of the day, real relationships include sharing real emotions and we get to do that with the Lord because that’s the most real relationship we will experience from now until eternity.
How can music be an encouragement and a blessing for people going through cancer?
The Lord has anointed art in such a way even when people don’t acknowledge Him especially musical art in such a way that it touches people. We find in the Bible when Saul was tormented that he called for David to play his music so soothing and that has a way of touching those places that are hard for us to express. Music is so very healing because it gets to the core of your feelings in a safe way that gets to the heart of it especially when it’s about Jesus. So I think music can be both uplifting, expressive, and it can be healing all at the same time.
Look for Janice Gaines on the Help 2.0 Tour with Erica Campbell (formally of Mary Mary) and check out her music at: janicegaines.com