Janina Vela, who recently collaborated with National Book Store for her collection of pastel school supplies, may already be famous as a YouTube vlogger. That, however, is not the only thing she has to offer to the world. Lately, she has been making waves in the music industry— something she has always wanted to do but didn’t have enough guts to.
As early as three years old, Janina already loved belting out "Do-Re-Mi" from the musical The Sound of Music. Her family would see her singing and dancing more, as she did theater work professionally at 11. Janina grew up learning to play the guitar and piano on YouTube, with her free time spent writing songs as her outlet. “I really wanted to be a singer but I got scared. It’s a vulnerable position. It’s really a part of yourself that you’re sharing with the world, so that’s a scary thing for me,” she tells ABS-CBN Lifestyle. “I felt like I couldn’t do it! I wasn’t brave enough.” So, she decided to put the dream aside and maintained a YouTube channel that to date has nearly 600,000 subscribers.
[related: In Focus: 5 of Janina Vela's Most Inspiring Vlogs]
Janina thought the dream was over for her until last year, when someone affiliated with Universal Records Philippines offered to produce her EP. Still, there were doubts but this time, she knew she was bigger than all of them. It was all about having a support system, she says. “I don’t think I’d be anywhere if I was doing everything alone. My friends are the people who really pushed me to step out of my comfort zone." She adds it was also about refusing to let fear run her life. “I’m not always the greatest person. People are like, ‘Wow, Janina’s doing all these things.’ But you don’t see the shaking, the trembling, and the almost crying in fear. But if we allow fear to stop us, we’ll never get anywhere. If all of the doubts just get too overwhelming, Thomas Edison wouldn’t have created the light bulb. We wouldn’t have found out how yummy balut is!” And then there's prayer. “I’m like, ‘Lord, is this what you want me to do right now? If this is my calling, can you bless it?’ When there’s sureness from God of what you’re meant to do and what your purpose in life is, and if you’re passionate about it, then that should outweigh your fears,” she continues.
After jamming out to “Curtain Call” and “Sorry I Left” that gave us major LSS and “Hesitate” that made it to the top five of Spotify’s Top 50 viral chart, we can tell Janina is ready to conquer the music scene with her EP that's set for release soon. In fact, the recording artist teases on her next album. “If I can help one person through my music—it doesn’t have to be thousands or millions of people—feel like they are not alone or feel like they can overcome what they are going through, then that’s great for me.”
Yet, Janina assures that alongside her flourishing singing career, an exciting content lineup on her YouTube channel still remains. “If someone takes out singing or vlogging from me, I wouldn’t be Janina anymore. They’re both very important and they both make me who I am.”
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Photographs taken from instagram.com/janinavela