Cortez Journal

Child prodigy to open for country music stars

May 25, 2000

Janae Blaine, age 12, will perform this weekend with top country stars at the Echo Basin Ranch.

By Jim Mimiaga
Journal Staff Writer

All her constant singing used to drive her parents crazy, but then the Stringer family realized that 12-year-old Janae had a knack for performance and a classic, country-style feel for writing songs from the heart.

"I do not know where she picked it up from," said Janaeís mom, Lea Stringer. "It certainly wasnít from any of our relatives, but of course we all try and claim the gene."

Janaeís natural talent and booming singing voice has been turning heads in the music industry lately, and the spry, self-assured youngster is ready for the challenge and big lights of a career in country music. In fact, last year she sang with the group Sidewinder, the opening act for supergroup Alabama. That show, held at the Echo Basin Ranch, drew a crowd of 6,000.

"Itís fun and very cool because there was lots of people," she said, who goes by her stage name, Janae Blaine. "At first Iím nervous but when I sing the first word it goes away. I really like the crowd and their applause."

Her simple song "My Way or the Highway," captures the adolescent rollercoaster of first love, with mature lyrics that just as accurately depict the hardships of adult relationships.

Another song of hers, Freedom, is set to music and Janae hopes to meet musicians who will write music for several other lyrics that she has come up with already.

The whole family gets involved with her star-struck dreams. Janaeís older sister Tamra, 15, is a gifted dancer, and helps to choreograph Janaeís performance.

"Dancing is my new thing, and without my sister I would not know any steps," Janae said. "Dance is important because when I watch Leanne Rimes or Garth Brooks perform, they just look kind of boring while they are singing."

Home-schooled in her rural home overlooking Mesa Verde, itís no surprise that the upstart country singer is inspired to write lyrics.

"I make it up on my own, about stuff that I like," she says. "Iíve been writing a lot. Like if there is certain type of day then there is always a certain kind of song that will make that day pump up a little bit more."

"No matter what she is doing, she is always singing, so we decided to make it more productive and it has really taken off," said her dad, Jay Stringer.

"Weíre getting it all set so we can do this together as a family and really promote it big," added Lea Stringer.

Her next CD demo is being sent to interested producers in Florida, California, Nashville and at Disney. After her voice changes again in six months, the family plans to cut a 12-song CD to market toward record labels.

Catch Janae Blaineís act at the Echo Basin Lounge on the evening of May 26 beginning around 8 p.m. ($5 cover). On Saturday she will open for country greats Mark Chesnutt and Sammy Kershaw, performing cover songs by the likes of Patsy Montana, Reba McIntire and the Righteous Brothers including her own song "My Way or the Highway." Her opening act starts at 5 p.m.

Setting her sights high, Janae will not likely pull any punches, "I hope I make it really big into the country business, hopefully before I am 13."

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