Janine Diloy Quintana also know as Ja Quintana is a MigoImagineer by day and an ethnic jazz singer and songwriter by night. Quintana aspires to put a spotlight on ethnic music and explore a marriage of ethnic and jazz music. Jazz has always been one of her favorite genres, but she fell in love with ethnic music as a member of the DLSU chorale that toured in Europe and the States. When she got back in 2010, she took a break from her music to build a career in another field. Last year she decided to return and continue pursuing her passion, writing new songs and performing again. She just released her 1st EP: PADAYON last May 5, 2017.
In this PsstPh Part of the Story Series, Ja Quintana talks to us about her music career and experience in the industry.
Full Name and Alias: Janine Diloy Quintana aka Ja Quintana
Tell me about yourself that people don’t know:
I love spending a lot of time alone. Given the nature of my work, people think I love to socialize and be in a crowd but I actually prefer doing things alone. I absolutely love watching a movie on my own, enjoying a cup of coffee alone with a book or a journal for writing, and traveling alone.
What is your current state of mind before we continue with the interview?
Grateful and excited for what’s in store for the rest of 2017!
When did you first know you wanted to become a singer?
I think I was 5 years old. I was inside my parents’ bedroom one afternoon. I remember jumping up and down the bed singing along to Regine Velasquez’s You Are My Song. It was really a special moment for me. I remember feeling really happy throughout the song, singing my heart out. After the song ended, I knew I wanted to do music and sing.
What’s your different to the other opm group?
Hmm I guess not really focusing on the difference or comparison but on how I envision my music to be. I want my music to inspire people, to move them to action. It’s not just about my journey, my art. If you could use your voice to raise awareness, to tell stories and empower others through your music then you’re not just doing it for OPM but also doing it to make a difference in the lives of others.
What was the first show you ever did? And how’s the experience?
My first ever performance was when I was 7 years old. It was at Enchanted Kingdom at one of my mom’s conferences. I sang Disney’s Part of Your World. I remember feeling so nervous. I was shaking throughout the whole song.
What kind of music do you listen to today?
I listen to a lot of world jazz, folk, opm and classical music.
Who are your musical inspirations?
I have a lot of inspirations from different genres both old and new but I’d have to say Joni Mitchell, Janis Joplin, Bon Iver, Esperanza Spalding, Lady Gaga and of course a lot of local idols! Joey Ayala, Gary Granada, Grace Nono, Bullet Dumas, Ebe Dancel and Rico Blanco just to name a few.
Do you play any instruments?
Yes, but all self-study. I play the piano, guitar and percussion
If you could dabble in another genre of music, what would it be?
METAL AND TRAP!
What genre of music can’t you stand to listen to?
I’m very fluid when it comes to genres and very open to different styles but I can’t stand listening to songs that don’t have much story in the music. It doesn’t have to have lyrics but you have to feel the song’s heart. You can hear it when a song is made haphazardly or for the sake of just producing a track. I don’t like that because for me it’s disrespecting people’s time and effort to listen to your track when you didn’t give your best to make it.
What do you think about when you’re preforming?
I think about the message I want to send across. For me, it’s always the question of whether or not you are making the most of the time given to you. At the end of the performance, what do you want your audience to feel? How do you wish to be remembered if they leave the venue that night and never see you again?
What is you favorite song to belt out at the bar/in the car/for karaoke?
Hmmm tough one! Total Eclipse of the Heart or any Aegis song! Oh and Hands Down!!!
What is something embarrassing or unexpected that happened to you on stage?
Back in 2010! I was feeling under the weather during one of our concertsin Germany that I fainted right after we sang the last song. That was really unexpected and scary but it was also embarrassing since the audience thought I tripped on stage.
What makes a good singer in your opinion?
A good singer for me is someone who dedicates time and effort to practice every day in order to improve his craft. He is also focused on how his music affects people rather than how his image is seen by others. Continues to challenge himself and never stops learning.
What’s your thought about the indie music to mainstream music?
For me, the classification of indie and mainstream music is heavily influenced by popularity, marketing and image. You’ll find “indie music” that has the same vibe or even sound with other “mainstream music” with the main difference being status and popularity of the artist. I believe every artist starts as“indie music” since people tend to associate indie music to unpopular/unknown artists with a small following and no record label. It all really depends on your intention and perspective as an artist. In the end, music is music regardless of how it is branded by others.
What is the most rewarding part of singer?
Seeing the crowd and realizing you have that opportunity to use your voice to move people, hopefully, inspire and challenge them. It’s not the amount of people in the audience but the idea of being able to touch even just one person in the audience inspires me to continue singing.
What goal are you working towards within your career and when will you know you have reached it?
My goal has always been focused on making a lasting impact in the lives of others. This goal is a journey in itself and reaching for it doesn’t end after a couple of milestones. Working on making an impact is a lifelong commitment that cannot be measured by the number of people you’ve helped or the scale of impact you make in your career.
What else can we expect from you in the future?
Hmm definitely more projects focused on advocating our culture, the arts and community development. Not necessarily focused on music alone but also exploring and delving intodifferent forms of art.
Considering how tough the music industry, what does it take to excel in the business?
It’s 4 things for me: Purpose, Resilience, Integrity and Humility.
Technically for me, to excel means to commit to doing something relentlessly and striving for continuous improvement. But being part of the music industry is not just focused on technical excellence. To really “survive”and excel in the business, you have to stay true to your purpose, your intention. Why do you want to pursue music? If your purpose is strong, you won’t easily fall into the trap of working on something that you don’t believe in. Also being resilient, rising above the challenges while keeping your integrity intact. Finally, staying humble. No matter how much you’ve achieved in your career, stay grounded and don’t let your ego take over the music.
What do you do for inspiration when you sit down to write a song and it seems that nothing wants to come out?
I give myself 20-30 minutes of silence – clearing my head and focusing solely on my breathing. It helps especially when there’s a lot in your mind. Doing that helps reboot my system then I start thinking about what story I want to tell for that session.
Do you also want to write songs for other artists?
Definitely! Although I’ve never done songwriting for other artists, being a producer and songwriter are roles I want to take on further along my music journey.
What legacy you will leave on?
As cliché as it sounds, I want my legacy to focus on how music moved people to action. Long after I’m gone, I want my legacy to focus on how valuable it is to tell the stories of different people, to inspire others to create and to use one’s voice to encourage other voices to speak out.
Any final message? Its time to shine!!
Re-learn the value of patience in pursuing your passion. Being patient is learning to accept that growth does not lie on definite timelines you’ve set for yourself but on your consistency to pursue the goal. Patience doesn’t end just because you feel you’ve been frustrated so many times or have hit the wall multiple times without guidance on how to proceed. Patience is going through everything with an open mind, taking it one day at a time and not giving up even when challenges seem endless. Pursuing your passion is an endurance expedition you choose to join everyday not for the potential recognition or rewards in case of success but a mission you relentlessly want to pursue because you believe in it, no matter what.