Robeson County, North Carolina, U.S..... Singer, Songwriter, Actress, Author, Philanthropist
Genres..... Native American, Rhythm & Blues, Pop, Electronic, Gospel
Labels..... Miss Molly Records
May 11, 1980 – Present. Although she grew up in Charlotte, Jana is a Native American of Lumbee and Tuscarora descent. She was first introduced to music by her father (who is a singer and drummer).
Jana Mashonee is a Native American from the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina who is a singer, songwriter and actress who is currently exploding in the mainstream music market and quickly rising to international fame. Her rising career is quite an interesting success story. A short time ago, Jana was playing in a weekend band in the Charlotte, NC area when producer/songwriter Rodney Shelton discovered her singing funk. Shelton recorded a demo of "What I Am To You" in 1997 and submitted it to Curb Records who signed her to the label and released this single which quickly hit the Top Forty on the Radio And Records rhythmic chart.
Jana quickly followed that up with several other singles that hit the ink listings on several charts. In October 1999 Billboard Magazine listed "Ooh, Baby, Baby" Pop Single of the Week! In 2001 Jana's song "More Than Life" shot up to number 10 on Billboard's Artists to Watch chart. In 2002 Jana recorded "Stairway to Heaven" which peaked at #7 on Billboard's Hot Dance Singles Sales chart. As her singles kept hitting the charts, Jana kept pushing herself as her singing career moved along quickly. Her rising career moved her from the weekend gigs around North Carolina to huge Pow Wows and major Native America owned casinos but this was just the start of something that was going to get much bigger than that.
In 2005 Jana released her first full CD, Flash of a Firefly through Radikal Records. Since this is Jana's Debut Album, it should become a collector's item. Flash Of A Firefly is a brilliant collection of soothing Native American sounds with some great pop music all with messages in them that have personal meaning to just about anyone. In 2006, Flash of a Firefly became a Native American Music Award (NAMMY) winner. In 2005 Jana released a Christmas CD titled, American Indian Christmas through SOAR Records which turned out to be one of the most wonderful Christmas CDs every released by any singer. Jana's CD, American Indian Story was released next which has some great compositions and songs that deal with Jana's Native American heritage. In 2007, American Indian Story was GRAMMY Award nominated. Her talented manager and producer Stephan Galfas won Best Producer for this CD. Her song "Enlightened Time" was turned into a music video which quickly won Best Short Form Music Video. In 2007, the music video Enlightened Time won Best Domestic Music Video at the Queens International Film Festival and in 2009 won Best Music Video at the 2009 11th Annual Native American Indian Film & Video Awards
As the prominent award after award started racking up, Jana became highly viable in the music and entertainment world. Jana is now a 9 time Native American Music Award Winner (NAMMYS) including Best Female Artist of the Year, Best Single of the Year, 3-time winner for Best Pop Recording of the Year, Record of the Year, Best Producer for "American Indian Christmas" and Best Music Video. In 2001 Jana performed at the National Scout Jamboree before an audience of some 70,000 plus people. And the beat of Jana just keeps moving on and up! She performed at the 2001 Inaugural Ball, and in 2006 performed at the White House for one of First Lady Laura Bush's First Lady Luncheons. Again in 2009, Jana performed at the Presidential Inaugural Ball, where she sang "A Change Is Gonna Come" live for the first time.
In 2009 Jana changed direction, started her own record company with her talented manager/ producer Stephan Galfas called Miss Molly Records. Miss Molly Records is quite different from the run-of-the-mill record companies on American soil today and focuses on Internet marketing and personal contact with Fans. This is quite a new concept in the music industry due to the fact that until Miss Molly Records, record companies had tended to shy away from the Internet but Miss Molly Records, Jana and Stephan Galfas are forging ahead as trend-breaking pioneers in this new market place. The Jana Mashonee Facebook page and her web site are gaining a huge audience and is paying off in sales of her CDs. The first CD to come out of Miss Molly Records is New Moon Born which is more R&B and a new direction for Jana Mashonee and Stephan Galfas.
The Jana Mashonee acting career has followed an upward trend for her just like her singing career has. In 2002 she appeared in a romantic comedy titled Dream Weaver alongside Native American actor Wes Studi. She also made a cameo appearance in the independent film Blue Gap Boy'z. Her music video Enlightened Time has gotten rave reviews across the world and won top awards.
New Moon Born, the first release by Miss Molly Records with the hit song A Change Is Gonna Come, is now taking off like a rocket leaving Kennedy Space Center and contains a very unique blend of Jana style R&B mixed up with Native American soul if you will. Jana performed a rendition of Sam Cooke's A Change Is Gonna Come with guitarist Derek Miller at the 2009 the Eleventh Annual Native American Music Awards (N.A.M.A) and won a Nammy Best Compilation, Song/Single of the Year.
Her latest CD New Moon Born is something different that has sort of taken a lot of people by surprise! There are a few individual critics out there who want Jana to stay in the Native American traditional music area. But when it comes to the music business strictly Native American is a small market compared to the mainstream music industry and I think Jana is destined for much bigger things. As far as A Change Is Gonna Come goes and her new CD, New Moon Born I'd say this about it. It doesn't happen often but every ten or twenty years, the stars are aligned correctly, the right talent comes together at the right time and another song of the decade comes along. It's my opinion that "A Change Is Gonna Come" as recorded on the CD is one of those songs. Although this has an R&B tone to it, it might be 10 years from now that a whole bunch of people look back and say this CD was the point at which a new type of music was invented. Aside from R&B, there is a little bit of Native American, a little bit of Spanish, a little bit of rock, a whole lot of inspiration and a massive amount of talent. Jana, Stephan and the band has changed my whole perspective of where music is headed these days with this CD. It's refreshing to see pure talent with something new instead of rehashes! As Jana moves forward, I'm looking through that looking glass and can see that it's going to be ruff to top what she just did but if I was a betting man, I'd place a bet that she will.
In 2005, Jana wanted to release A Christmas CD with traditional Christmas songs. She could of easily just went into the recording studio and recorded some traditional Christmas songs in a few days, but oh no- not Jana. In keeping with her culture, she wanted to sing these songs in Native American languages. The languages of the great Native American Nations are dying out and Jana felt that it was important for her to do this. Problem was Jana only knew Lumbee. So what does she do? She goes to each Native American Nation and gets with the elders of each Nation and learns each language so she can record the Christmas CD. How long did it take? A long time! Think about how difficult it is to learn one language and you will start to understand what I am getting at. Jana learned nine different languages and the Christmas CD features ten holiday standards, each in a different Native language including Amazing Grace in Lumbee. The end result is one of the most amazing Christmas CDs ever recorded. Music is a universal language and you will already know these songs but to hear them sung in Jana's amazing voice in Native American tongues is an amazing treat and experience. Click here to order American Indian Christmas now.
What's next? Jana is on the cutting edge of artistic creativity and is certainly the performer to watch. It's refreshing to see a singer as great as Jana be in a position to feel free to take her music to places she just feels she wants to and needs to go. Wherever it is she goes with her music, I can assure you one thing- that very special voice will always shine through right to your heart and hit the marrow of your bones.
So what is it that has everyone looking at Jana these days? One might say it's her unique ability, amazing voice and talent combined with a driving force to market herself to her audience making full use of new technology but it's a whole lot more than that. The music industry these days is a very crowded field with a huge amount of talent but Jana stands out from this crowd basically because she is Jana. She has this unique ability to connect with people and that's really what music is all about. Her music is both intoxicating and addictive when you listen to it. She has a special and distinctive voice that presents her unique style and personality that seems to just throw her heart out to you. She's different and she is unique and she's shooting for the stars. As Jana gets past the moon, it sure looks like she's getting there and getting there very quickly. Her unique blend of R&B with a little Native American and a little funk and little rock combined with the friendly and charismatic personality of Jana herself gives her a highly unique combination that is really connecting with people and Jana is starting to really fly like an eagle.
Her Jana’s Kids Foundation has been helping Native youth through its programs and scholarship offerings. Jana was named 2011 Woman of the Year by "yearofthewoman2011.com" for her philanthropic work. Her philanthropic work extends also to supporting charities such as The Golden Hat Foundation for autism, founded by Kate Winslet.
About her foundation, Jana stated that "I've been blessed to be able to travel across the country to many reservations to talk to youth and address issues of cultural identity and education. From this, I've been able to raise enough money to offer scholarships to deserving Native youth in the artistic, academic, and athletic fields..."
Jana performed with Sarah McLachlan, Loreena McKennitt among other stars to support this charity cause at Carnegie Hall