WOMEN CRUSH WEDNESDAY
It's important for people to understand that women aren't one dimensional. Women can be sexy, seductive, strong, kind, sweet, loving, intelligent, all at the same time.
Jaime Swartz, The Janes
Location: New York, NY
Band: The Janes Life
Musical Inspiration: Queen B, Kehlani, Etta James, Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin
I'm kicking off #WomenCrushWednesday with an article on my best friend, Jaime Swartz. It feels a little like cheating because I’ve known this woman since I was five years old. But interviewing Jaime felt like getting to know her all over again. Jaime and I followed our childhood dreams together. I remember the first time I heard her sing in her bedroom as a child. It was the song “Ten Minutes Ago” from the Rodgers and Hammerstein's “Cinderella”. I remember thinking her voice sounded like butter. And I remember turning to her mother, Nancy, in awe. I knew in that moment that she would sing forever.
Jaime and I followed each other to the University of Miami for musical theatre and then to New York City to chase our dreams together. In the summer of 2012, we moved right in the middle of midtown west with the third of our trio, Ethan, to be where all the auditions were. As soon as we settled in, I booked "Hairspray" on a cruise ship. And as soon as I left for sea, Jaime booked "City of Dreams" on another cruise ship. Then in 2014, Donnie Klang from MTV’s Making of the Band and Matt LaPorte put together The Janes, a four-member girls band. Jaime was added to the band as soon as she finished the cruise ship contract. For the past four years, Matt and Donnie have been managing the girls, helping them with music, dances, content, working on their brand, and building their fan base.
When I asked Jaime what its like to work in a group as opposed to working as a solo artist she replied,“ It takes a certain type of personality to be in a group. You have to thrive in sharing and playing off each other’s strengths. What’s special about us is that each girl is so unique from the other and we always know who is going to sing which solo without any discussion. I’ve gotten to vibe with these amazing girls who have become my sisters. It truly is a roller coaster ride, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
The three other band members of The Janes are Llyra Chambers, Tayla Cornelia and Kelly Crapa. All four members have their own unique style and allow their voice to shine through their brand. They market a raw, relatable tone that the music industry is craving.
Video: Nick Terrana
I questioned Jaime about the conflicts in the music industry, specifically her take as a female artist and how she overcomes those struggles. She talked about how it's no surprise that sex sells, especially in the music industry. Her advice on how to overcome that? “I want ladies to never be afraid to ‘do you’. If you have a sexy, sassy picture and are feeling yourself, post it! Everyone should feel free to choose! But it's important for people to understand, we aren’t one dimensional. Women can be sexy, seductive, strong, kind, sweet, loving, intelligent, all, at the same time.”
Finally, I wanted to know what empowers her as a young professional woman in this political climate. “I am constantly striving to be the best me I can be and to always grow, learn, create and explore. I want to be the best version of myself not just for me, but to help and influence others. It is so hard to be a kid these days, especially a girl in this age of social media. I am empowered to be a strong, independent, hardworking woman for all those young girls who follow me and listen to our music.” Everything is coming full circle. Jaime and I started out as young girls inspired by music and storytelling and followed our dreams right up to this very moment. I want women like Jaime paving the way in every industry. It makes me very proud and excited that we have women like Jaime in the music industry. It’s been an incredible journey to watch The Janes inspire young girls around the world, it's only the beginning of their story. Hop on their train now so you can say you knew them when.
Photo: Nick Terrana