By Kassandra Flores
Chalk Campus Correspondent
With her contagious smile and a bubbly personality that radiates positivity, it's almost impossible not to grow fond of Janina. There is no doubt that she is one of today's most sought after YouTube stars, and when you meet her in the flesh, she's just as real as she can get. Aside from being an online personality, the 19-year-old is stretching her wings as she officially debuts as a recording artist with her first ever EP, Love You The Same consisting of six original tracks written by Janina herself.
Hours before her EP Launch last November 11, she admits being nervous and excited to perform all her original songs and finally share it to everyone. She tells us, "It's the first time that I'll be doing a show as Janina the Singer because I am always Janina the Youtuber."
When asked if she always wanted to be singer growing up, she laughs and says, "At first, I wanted to be a fairy princess but that's not a real job. But it was when I was 14 when I said I wanted to sing."
Although she discovered her love for music at such an early age, she felt like being in the business is not for her, telling herself, "Okay, I'm going to sing sa church." But things changed when Universal Records and Cornerstone knocked on her door, and, now, here she is–a recording artist on the rise.
Songwriting comes naturally for Janina as every song she writes comes from her heart, from real life experiences to random conversations she's had with other people. ("For example, you said a nice line and I'll be like, hey! That could be a song lyric!") From the inspirations she's drawn from others and emotions she's feeling, she writes everything that pops up on her phone. "So if I lose my phone, I will lose my whole life," she exclaims.
First known as a vlogger, Janina has grown interest in uploading her everyday life as a teenager on her YouTube channel four years ago. "Early in my YouTube days, I met these girls in the mall and told me I inspire them and I make them want to be confident," she recalls. It was then that she realized that doing what she loves to do can inspire other people and decided to exert more effort to be an instrument of courage through her daily uploads.
As her channel continously gains more audience, she's found a bigger purpose and that is to make other people feel that they are not alone in their struggles, "I believe that is the biggest paycheck I could get from YouTube–the people."
Since then, her following continuously grows with 615,000 YouTube subscribers as of writing. With a larger audience, however, she has become more prone to scrutiny. Nothing much has changed in her life since, although she admits that it is one of her biggest struggles now. "If you are having a bad day, and you're seen in public, people could misunderstand you," she opens up. But although she's now more cautious when she's in front of other people, she continous to be true to herself as she values authenticity.
And with the hopes to inspire the youth through her story, she imparted a message before our conversation comes to an end. "Know that even if people come and go, God loved you first and with him, everything becomes clear," Janina finishes.
ALSO READ: In Focus: 5 of Janina Vela's Inspiring Vlogs