We had the good fortune of connecting with Janae Dunn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Janae, let’s start by talking about what inspires you?
I am a part-time fitness & goal coach, as well as a part-time worship leader at a church in Chandler, and I sing and write my own music on the side. In all areas of work, I am inspired by the same things — 1. My relationship & faith in God 2. Self-Worth 3. Challenges 4. Different seasons of life 5. finding the fighter’s spirit As a coach, a worship leader, a singer-songwriter — my goal in all my efforts is to hopefully help people see their innate potential and worth as they were created to be, versus how society “tells us to be”. I believe in trying one’s best to extend out to others from a place of transparency, empathy, honesty, love, grace, forgiveness, kindness, support and personal experiences. I always find where I can relate to the person first, and then begin from there whether it be in coaching someone on their goals and fitness, writing a song, or singing on stage leading a room in worship. I am inspired by hope and positivity and finding reasons to be grateful within our hardest storms, because I want to help people become stronger and see joy as an attainable possibility always, no matter the circumstances.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a very transparent songwriter and singer. I always put my whole being into the song on stage or into my lyrics when I’m writing. I am a firm believer that the more honestly we live and lead with openness, the stronger the human connection. Everyone has heavy heartbreak and confetti highlights, why muddle the pain or the joy? We as people have such a strong ability to impact each other, and I have found personally that the more open and authentic I am, the better life is. I also am all about “perspective” and “intention”. That whatever I put out into the world is never “just because”. If I’m going to share a piece of my heartbreak, I am going to always look at it from within the madness, as well as from a “bird’s eye view”, because I never want people to finish a song of mine feeling they are “sunk in the negative”. I want them to always finish hearing a song, feeling the hurt or the joy, connecting with it on a personal level, but then finding a silver-lining lesson to carry from it. Some hope if you will. I do not believe in sulking and dwelling in one’s pain. I am a sole advocate for inner-strength and digging deep to dig one’s self out. And I’ve found all this to be especially true and valuable in our world today with all the social isolation and division caused by Covid and politics. The more I choose to lead with an open heart, whether in my art, my social media posts, or my day-to-day interactions, the more you leave goodness behind you when you leave it. I’ve learned all this through personal experience. From my lowest lows, and from moments when I chose to lead with vulnerability and moments when I chose to lock up and isolate out of fear, whether it be fear of rejection or just the unknown outcome. And all of this “mindset” has gotten me to where I am today, both musically and as a person. Before Covid hit, I was performing all over the valley, and now due to health reasons and having to stay safe during this pandemic season, I have been forced to slow down. For a while it was extremely hard watching other performers be able to go out and play, knowing I was physically unable to. So that has been a challenge that I had to face and accept as a performer and ask myself, “how can I make this benefit my career and not stall or set me back?” So 2020 to now, it’s been an on-going journey of growing as a writer, on my own, and virtual co-writing. I post here and there some videos, but I’ve taken this time to really tap back into myself as an artist and what I have to say and new ways of self-expression through music. I’ve found, in some hidden ways, the isolation to be a blessing in disguise as I’ve evolved deeply from the inside out as a person and writer. It makes me very excited and hopeful for when I get to go back out and sing and share my heart once again. This whole pandemic has really taught me how crucial it is to KNOW yourself, from within. And be OK with all the parts. Because I know for me, my most favorite artists, are those who are brutally honest and raw in their music. They don’t have to share their whole life stories, but the doors they do let you behind, they let the truth breathe boldly and beautifully. That’s the artist I hope to always exude.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would take them to a few places for different reasons. Musically, I’d HAVE to take them to SoZo Coffeehouse on one of their open mic nights, because that’s where you get to experience some of the hidden gems of talent in the area, as well as it’s where I got over my fear of live performing and met some of my closest friends there along the way over the years. Some of those talented peeps of mine I’d make sure they saw were: Sammi Martinez, Ciara Ciscneros, Erin Shae, Dean Nelson, Lois Zozobrado, Scott Bomberg & the Big Blue, Matt Merchant, Alex Mullins, and sooo many more. This state is flooding with unique and raw talent. Then I would take them to Downtown Gilbert because it’s just such a cute and vivacious area, any time of the day. Plus so many of my favorite eateries are down there. I would HAVE to take them to breakfast at Crackers and Co. on Iron Ave. in Mesa too because I grew up eating there with my family and it’s just DUH-licious breakfast and brunch/lunch food. UGH. haha Lastly, I would take them on some of my favorite hikes and nature spots that I love to go to. I love being with nature and being active so I’d take them on some of my leisure bike/walk routes and hikes. The most fun and interesting types of people are those who look at life through a joyful lens, even when they’re in the darkest of stormy seasons in life, and many would let it succumb them, but it’s those people who still find a reason to be grateful, laugh, and splash in the rain puddles of their life. THOSE are my favorite people because I feed off them and more importantly I have the utmost respect and admiration for their zeal and strength.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My Heavenly Father who has never ceased to rescue and redeem me and make good out of my choices in life. My parents for loving and supporting my “big dreams” all my life and being my biggest fans and truest supporters. All my wonderful friends and family who have continued to believe in me and my endeavors, committing time to come out and support me at events and listening to my music. If it weren’t for my creator and the beautiful people He has abundantly blessed my life with, I wouldn’t be who or where I am today.
Jenni Sproul, Ally Seracki, Surreal Sister Photography, Lumiere Photography