Critics' Choice Prize: Meet Janine and the Mixtape (+video)

Three artists are vying for the Critics' Choice Prize on Wednesday night. We'll be running profiles on each leading up to the event, which will be livestreamed on nzherald.co.nz. Today, it's Janine.

Critics' Choice Prize finalist Janine and the Mixtape.
Critics' Choice Prize finalist Janine and the Mixtape.

Who are you, where are you from and how did your solo project first form?

My name is Janine Foster and I'm originally from West Auckland and have been living in Brooklyn, New York. I've been singing since I could make a noise. Dad used to tell people I had the voice of an angel when I was two years old. That's kind of the whole reason I'm here today along with encouragement from my mum, sister and friends. I began playing guitar and singing my original songs at open mic nights from the age of 14. I then went on to playing with loop pedals, synthesizers, and percussion. Then I started producing too and everything clicked into place and I became the Janine and the Mixtape I am today.

Describe your sound in less than 50 words:

A combination of hip-hop beats, ethereal indie layers, soulful R&B vocals, hope, pain, love and blessings.

My band name comes from... I wanted something a little different, because I'm a little different. The 'Mixtape' stands for three things that I feel encompass me as a person. The first thing is that I used to watch a lot of 'AND1' basketball mixtapes. The second is something that comes from hip-hop and has a rawness and tough attitude to it. The third is something cute, maybe even a little cheesy, that you make for someone you care about. I'm a little tough, a little soft and I love basketball.

Video

My biggest influence is... Life. Everything is based on true experiences. Turning pain into beauty and inspiration has been a huge healing tool and sense of purpose for me.

My best live show so far has been... My most 'impressive' show would be opening for Marsha Ambrosius at her sold out show at SOBs in NYC which was awesome. Or a major festival. But one of my favourite shows was opening for Kidz in Space at their album release a couple of years ago. That was a great night. So many good people under one roof.

When I'm on stage ... I lose myself. In the best way. Ever.

My 30-minute set at the Critics' Choice prize finals will include... A sweet drummer by name of Joel Bremner laying down some beats over some tracks I produced while I play keys and sing. Sometimes I just sing. It's going to be a beautiful time and we are gonna have some awesome, emotional, facial expressions.

Winning the Critics' Choice Prize would mean... It would mean the world to me because I know it would mean a lot to my family and friends to see me get that kind of recognition. They have helped me so much to create what I have, as well as become the woman I am. Regardless of the outcome, I am so grateful for the nomination.

*The Hallenstien Brothers Critics' Choice Prize Showcase will stream live here, thanks to Spotify, and powered by Vodafone.

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