By Melina Paris, Music Columnist
Singer-songwriter, Just FAITH, has been capturing fans far and wide, one stage at a time.
She performed at a fashion show and the Lighthouse Festival in 2014. In 2015, she performed at the Bully Prevention Extravaganza.
This past month, she was the opening act for the Mary Jane Girls, a 1980s band launched by rhythm and blues funk legend, Rick James, at the Gaslamp in Long Beach.
At age 13, she already has a long list of accomplishments. She released her first EP at 10 and then an album in May 2015. Her song, Ripples & Rapids reached No. 1 on Indie Music Charts in July 2015.
Just FAITH’s title track, Home Sweet Home, was nominated for best Christian song by Hollywood Music in Media and is making rounds on more than 20 satellite radio stations. She has also been in the top 10 for local rock charts since December 2014 (out of more than 200 artists for San Pedro and more than 330 for Long Beach), where she earned No. 2.
She is working now on a full length rock album, to be released later this year.
Just FAITH defies categorization by drawing inspiration from a range of musical genres, from Christian music to rock to hip hop. This young lady has a full, developed voice, reminiscent of Bjork. When she’s used her voice to sound more gravelly, she’s been told she sounds like the pop artist, Pink.
But Just FAITH is just being true to herself.
Her music has a powerful sound that is distinctly her own. It does not have a trace of pop-engineered sounds. On a track titled, Nametag, Just FAITH comes through with clear, beautiful harmonies and wide range
Just FAITH began writing songs at nine years old, drawing inspiration from her lived experiences. Her songs are filled with messages of hope, perseverance and encouragement—a feature she credits to her faith.
“God influences me in my writing and gives me the words to sing every time,” FAITH said.
Just FAITH is a representative of the next generation of artists who blend their artistry and faith. There is a growing diversity and versatility in Christian music, which has increasingly been breaking into the pop charts. This genre has grown in support. It even has its own music festival called Joshua Fest in Quincy, Calif. More than 50 bands play at this annual event.
Some of these crossover artists are the ones who have inspired her most, including, Skillet, RED, Flyleaf, Manafest, Lecrae, and NF.
Just FAITH said she has been listening to Skillet since she was a baby. Skillet, RED and Flyleaf are Christian rock bands. Manafest, Lecrae, and NF are rappers.
“These artists inspire me because their lyrics are so deep and their music is so powerful,” Just FAITH said. “They touch on topics that not a lot of people talk about.”
Just FAITH, who is a fan of Greek mythology, said many of her new songs contain references from fictional stories such as the Percy Jackson & the Olympian series.
Nico Di Angelo, a fictional character in Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & The Olympians and The Heroes of Olympus series is referenced in a new song called, This Place Isn’t Made for You. He is the demigod son of Hades and mortal Maria di Angelo).
“I tell his story through the eyes of Percy Jackson,” Just FAITH said. “I talk about Nico Di Angelo because I understand how he feels when he wants to push everyone away.”
This (feeling) is also explained in another one of her songs, Stand Out In the Rain, she added, where she talks about her own experience.
The messages of hope Just FAITH conveys in her songs have the straightforward thinking of a young person. She talks about stopping to enjoy the moments and to notice the little things in life.
She is wary of materialism and believes the capacity for change is unlimited.
“It is exciting when I create the tracks for my songs and see all the different pieces come together,” Just FAITH said. “I enjoy the writing process, though sometimes there are challenges.”
Just FAITH cut her first EP, The Beat, when she was 10 and her first album, Home Sweet Home in 2015.
She felt many people did not understand her musical direction. So for her new album, she came into the studio with music and lyrics and the tracks mostly laid out.
Many of the instrumentals are from tracks she laid down at the Boys and Girls Club in San Pedro, with help from an employee there who has a degree in music production.
“In my newer songs, I used more sounds that are eerie and vintage in style, mixed with edgier rock than [in] my first album, which I am very excited about,” Just FAITH said. “I write songs to smile to, songs to cry to, and songs to dance to.”
Still, Just Faith aims for her music to touch and to change people. One of the ways she wants to make her mark is in bullying prevention.
This past year, Just FAITH’s team raised money to put on the Warner Grand Theatre event called the Bully Prevention Extravaganza.
She performed with a live band and between numbers, Just FAITH spoke on the meaning of her songs and how they relate to bully prevention. Just FAITH’s team got the community involved and local businesses sponsored tickets for the extravaganza that they gave to schools.
“I love performing my new songs because I feel they represent more of who I am,” Just FAITH said. “I just debuted two of my new songs Take a Look Around and Trailblazer when I opened for the Mary Jane Girls. I had the most amazing time and just got lost in the songs because I love them so much.”
Just FAITH is looking forward to working with her band to learn new music and have more performing opportunities. She will be performing on May 21 at Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council’s elections and Los Angeles Public Safety Summit at Point Fermin Park.
Just FAITH was invited to perform at Joshua Fest 2016. Several of the bands she mentioned as inspirations will be performing there also.
As her name implies, if you just have faith you can do anything.
Details: www.JustFaithMusic.com, www.ReverbNation.com/JustFaith and www.youtube.com/c/JustFaithMusicOfficial