Janelle Richardson (aka J’nelle) is a Royal Woman who is On The Rise not only in her music career, but her spiritual life as well~
During the day, the 26-year-old Tampa native works as a teacher at an elementary performing arts school. But when she’s not in the classroom, she’s gracing the stage, schooling the audience with an empowering lyrical message and a voice that seems straight from heaven. And she’s quick to remind you where her successes come from. RoyalTee recently sat down with Richardson to learn more about this magnificent and inspiring Royal Woman.
RoyalTee: Let’s start off by telling me about yourself and your music. How did you get started?
J’Nelle: “I’ve always sang when I was a little girl, since I was three (according to her mother, mama knows best!). She knew for a fact that the singing was my passion and what I desired to do. I started in church, singing in the children’s choir and just being able to be surrounded by people who enjoyed doing the same thing I did. It just felt so amazing.”
RoyalTee: When did the singing bug really hit you?
J’Nelle: “Throughout my years, I’ve always been in chorus and it really hit me when I went to high school (Howard W. Blake Performing Arts High School in Tampa, Fla.). I majored in chorus because my teacher would always put me in honors chorus classes. And I would think ‘why would she do that’, but she saw something in me and was like ‘Janelle you’re great, you’re awesome.”
RoyalTee: What are some obstacles that you have faced since being in the industry?
J’Nelle: “Some obstacles I’ve faced, people lying to me in the music industry. Telling me or promising me a deal or feature on a certain song. People have stolen my music and used it for theirs. Some individuals have told me I wouldn’t make it far. They said by the age of 16 or 17, you should have already been out there like the Beyonces and stuff and tried to compare me. I also had obstacles within myself. I used to have a lot of self-doubt and I used to compare myself to others. Through that comparing, it would lead me into a depressed stage. It made me feel like I wasn’t worthy to be on stage or I wasn’t worthy to perform in front of everybody. Most of that stuff was internally and spiritually, understanding that God has blessed me with a gift to use to inspire others but it didn’t click until later on in the year.”
RoyalTee: So obviously your passion is singing. What are you doing in the classroom?
J’Nelle: “It’s funny because I read a book by Steve Harvey called Think Like a Success, Act Like a Success, and he was talking about vehicles and I truly believe that being a teacher is one of my vehicles to get where I desire to get to. Because my entire vision is to instill hope and inspiration in those individuals through song and through music. And teaching is one of the vehicles, because I love children and that’s where you have to start with, are those kids, so you can motivate them. I try to get them motivated to write or to do math; because its helping me, so when I do sing or inspire others on bigger stages I would know how to approach that situation. So I truly believe that teaching is helping me get to where I desire to be. When I’m singing and performing on stage I’m teaching and educating individuals through song, empowering women and men to live their dream and have motivation and to not give up on yourself.”
RoyalTee: What needs to happen to make singing a full-time gig for you?
J’Nelle: Me continuing to focus on my vision and not being afraid to step out on faith and say ‘ok, I want to do this full-time and just going for my goal. Another thing is finances, making sure I’m budgeting myself in order to take those trips or those tours to do what I want to do, which is to sing. But not just to sing to educate as well. I’m starting on that now, it’s going pretty well. It’s a tough road, its challenging, but what’s success without anything that’s tough or challenging in your life.”
RoyalTee: What advice would you give those wrestling with leaving the 9 to 5 to pursue entrepreneurship full time?
J’Nelle: “Like my fiancé always says, you have to go with your gut. If you feel as if this is what you desire to do, then do it; however, just make sure it’s in God’s timing. I’m so big on timing because we have a thought of wanting to work for ourselves but it may not be that right time yet. I truly believe God is preparing me for that journey. My goal is to work for myself in the next two to three years. That was the timeline that was given to me. So make sure it’s the correct timing, keep the faith and believe that you will succeed and don’t be afraid of challenges or struggles because it will come.
RoyalTee: Awesome, so what are some recent projects you are working on right now? We know you have a single out?
J’Nellle: Yes, my single “Warning”. You can find it on all digital platforms (iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify, etc.) I’m also working on putting out an album for next year (2017). It’s going to be a fusion of soca and R&B; as well as a few features and *a lot* of performances.”
RoyalTee: Finally, the grand finale, what makes Janelle Richardson a Royal Woman?
“I’m a Royal Woman because I truly believe that I am God’s creation and I do not give up. I’ve had many struggles in life, I’ve been through depression and I’ve dealt with many things that tried to bring me down. But at the end of the day, I’m focused and I know what my vision is and I will achieve it.”
Check out the video for J’nelle’s latest single, “Warning” below.
A working journalist, entrepreneur and founder of RoyalTee Enterprises. Born and raised in Tampa, Fla. The vision of RoyalTee was inspired in 2015 by Alexia’s ambitions to return to her passion for creative writing and publishing and create a platform to showcase the excellence of minority women across the country through professional, personal and social ventures.