To say the music industry has undergone a seismic shift in the past decade would be an understatement. Giant record stores that once stood like monoliths in Times Square are now boarded up as people walk around with near infinite music libraries in the pockets. Where once hulking labels controlled an artist’s reach to the world, a young girl in Kansas can upload a video to YouTube and have fans in France within hours.
But for everything that’s changed, one thing has remained fundamentally, immovably constant - the power of that voice. Regardless of the year or the economy or anything else, there’s something universally human about hearing a great singer. That voice is about more than just scales and notes, it’s about emotion, about feeling something you can’t quite name but that voice knows perfectly.
Janine & the Mixtape has one of those voices, and that’s why she’s a DJBooth Top Prospect.
Despite the seemingly plural name, Janine & The Mixtape is in fact only Janine Foster (see also, The Weeknd), a singer, songwriter and instrumentalist from New Zealand who’s now firmly landed on U.S. shores with the release of her recent EP, Dark Mind. Although Janine’s music hovers in the same hazy, dark corner of R&B that artists like Frank Ocean and the aforementioned Weeknd have recently popularized, there’s also an undercurrent of hope and strength that runs throughout even her most heartbroken work:
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“The starting lyrics of Dark Mind used to be, ‘I’m a fighter cause I got nothing to lose. And I changed those lyrics to, “I’m gonna love but I can fight.” I came to this conclusion during the time [of recording] that I wouldn’t change anything. Even thought it hurts I wouldn’t change anything, I’m grateful for each day.”
In another decade we might all be listening to music via holographic chips, but no matter where the industry goes next, we feel confident that Janine’s music will connect with people as powerfully as it connects with us right now. As long as humans fight and love and fuck and find comfort in each other - which will be always - there will always be a demand for voices that can serve as a soundtrack to our joyously messy lives. There will always be a demand for a voice like Janine’s.
For more from Janine & The Mixtape, you can follow her @Janine_Mixtape, listen to the “Dark Mind” EP here, and keep an eye on our pages for a download of her live version of “Hold Me,” coming later this month as part of our “Top Prospects” EP.
The full video interview and performance are below, enjoy…