Janet Gabriel is considered in the Soul/ Pop/ Funk world as a supreme singer/songwriter whose influences include Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Whitney Houston, Anita Baker and Toni Braxton. Janet has a soulful and ripe voice which is both versatile and full of emotion.
Born in Hackney, London, to Nigerian parents, Janet has been singing and writing songs since the age of 12. In 1982, she moved to Nigeria for her secondary education. By the age of 16 she had sung backing vocals for Mandy Brown Ojugbana (who had previously released the hugely popular Afropop hit single Taxi Driver in the mid 80s, a remake of a highlife hit by Nigerian musician Bobby Benson). Later, whilst studying Pharmacy at the University of Ibadan, she pursued more avenues to express her creativity and started to perform at university gigs as well as becoming a dancer with the dance troupe Rockforce. After university, Janet lived in Lagos for some years where she worked as a session vocalist whenever the opportunity arose. Soon after she went on to win the Miss Nigeria 1993 pageant, tried her hands on TV presenting and even had a brief acting stint in Nigeriaís famous Nollywood film industry (Janet had a role on a popular national TV sitcom Fortunes). In 1993, she also became a member of Lagos-based lounge act Motivation that played a repertoire of music from the 70s to the 90s.
In 1997, Janet returned to England and continued to experiment more with her song-writing and vocal technique. She performed with different bands over the years, did some session work and along the way worked with many producers such as Don V Louie (Ministry of Sound), Kevin Warren (Pure Silk Records), Stipo Androvic (Soho Electric), Francesco Giuffrida (Mediamix) and Shimm-1 (BluePrint Music, Birmingham). Janet has also performed internationally, with KUSSU Productions in Germany and alongside Raptile (a solo rap artist signed to BMG) at the Eastern European Music Convention 2005 in St. Petersburg, Russia.
More recently, consultations with Polo Piatti of Polo Piatti Management in London brought her in contact with various producers including Laurence Hobbs (Blue Room Productions), Rueben Martin (Moonstone Productions) and John Robinson (Clique Productions) who all feature heavily on her brand-new album, The Fire Within. Also featured on this album are Neophonics, the Surrey-based band which Janet fronts. Neophonics is a breakaway of the covers band Phat Medallion. Since February 2005, Neophonics have been concentrating on performing only material by their front-woman Janet Gabriel who delivers smoking, high-energy performances that send out a balanced blend of real meaningful lyrics and dance-ability.
Currently based in Berkshire, UK, Janet has thrilled audiences at venues such as the Jazz CafÈ in Reading, POP and CafÈ de Paris in London, the Wakefield festival (2005) and the Keller in Bracknell, to name a few. All this has given her the confidence and has prompted her to record her first solo album, The Fire Within, a beautiful combination of RíníB, Soul, Pop and Funk, which is independently released through her own label Amethyst Music.
Janet says, “This is a very exciting project for me that has been a long time in the making and it’s just the beginning. It’s very personal to me and to those who have been supporting me over the years by coming to my gigs and making them memorable. Now’s the time to get out there and take it further. My main message, one that really drives me, is that you’re never too young or too old to show what you’ve got. No one else can do it for you. Keep it real and have fun while your doing it!”
The first single of the album, Heard It All Before, is a down-tempo track that shows off Janet Gabrielís rich, soulful voice perfectly. Full of emotion, this track has got the potential to become a soul / RíníB classic.
At last the UK has a new Soul diva to take the country, and indeed the world, by storm.