We’ve had our eyes and ears locked on Janine and The Mixtape ever since we began hearing songs from her Dark Mind EP in early 2013.
Well, after leaving her family, friends and 5-year relationship in New Zealand to pursue her music in New York, the singer-songwriter got her big break after receiving notoriety from a song placement on VH1’s “Love & Hip Hop.” Starting her journey in a shoebox apartment, Janine now has a record deal with Atlantic Records and her Little Mixtape imprint, and she’s ready to show the world why she struggled for her first love.
Check out our latest chat with this upcoming beautiful soul!
What was the first thing you did after signing a record deal with Atlantic Records?
I'm very blessed; I signed a joint venture deal with my own label, Little Mixtape, and Atlantic Records. The first thing I did was cry, while trying to pretend like I wasn't. I later went out and got margaritas and tacos with friends… Frozen margaritas are always a good time to celebrate.
So, are you looking forward to rolling of the Dark Mind EP to a larger audience?
I feel very excited to give Dark Mind another push. As much as I'm ready to go on to new music, I have a lot of new music already, I’ve always felt like a lot more people need to hear Dark Mind. To have a wonderful team to help promote it to a larger audience is a great thing.
Was the placement on Love & Hip Hop instrumental in your deal or was it your grassroots work?
Definitely! The Love & Hip Hop thing definitely helped bring everything to fruition, because I had calls and emails from every label in the states following the placement. It went to no. 2 on the R&B albums chart and number 50 overall on nine Billboard charts, so Love & Hip Hop definitely changed everything for me, but I also credit all the work done prior.
What’s the plan for your next project?
I have all the songs ready to go pretty much, but I still need to finish tracking some of them. Early next year, I’m looking to drop a new project, whether that’s an EP or an album, so we’ll see. Obviously, the album may take a little longer to come out. My fans want the new music, and I really want my supporters to hear it.
Are there any artists that you are looking forward to collaborating with?
There’s so many artists that I would love to work with, obviously working with Pusha T on the “Hold Me” remix was a dream for me. I have no one else signed up at the moment, but I’m eying a lot of people from indie based to popular artists. I’m just really excited about what’s to come. I’ve been doing some writing as well for big artists in different genres, so if one of those came through, that will be really cool as well.
Over the years, you’ve been traveling back and forth from New Zealand to New York, what’s the feeling like at home with your family and friends after you inked this deal?
That was the best part about it; how proud my family was. It probably wasn’t easy for them to see me move to New York the first time; I left everything from a 5 year relationship to my family to my friends to come and live in a shoebox size room to work full-time and do music, and get about 4-hour sleep and be absolutely broke. But it was all part of taking on my dream of music. Not everybody makes it, even though they may deserve to, so for them to see some pay off and some recognition was huge. That meant so much to me. Rather than get up to go to a job I hate every day, I get to do what I love. There’s always challenges, but I feel very blessed.
So once you start reaping the financial rewards, what’s the first thing you would like to purchase for yourself?
The first thing I purchased was a new laptop, because I had a 6-7 year old MacBook that was falling apart. I’m a very simple woman, I would get some new instruments and gear. I managed to give a little back to my old band. I just wanna give back to the people who really helped me along the way. We all want to live comfortably!
It’s great to see a new artist that’s humble, making sure you maintain that on your way up the ladder.[Laughs] I told so many people that if I change they get to punch me in the face. I definitely don’t want to walk around with a black eye; I’m very lucky. It really outweighs to be more humble, and I’m going to work my best to always maintain that.