A jazzy, soultry tone, combined with a sweet versatility describe the voice of Janelle Malone-Drake. Born and raised in Nashville, TN, this southern belle has always had a love for music. It all started on her 6th birthday when her dad purchased her first "boom box," along with an MC Hammer cd. One song in particular stood out to her, one of the only songs on the album that featured vocals, "Going Up 'Yonder." "I remember repeatedly listening to the song and memorizing the lyrics," she recalls. Janelle would go on to develop a love for other artists such as Brandy, Tina Marie, Fred Hammond, and Kierra "Kiki" Sheard to name a few. Her mom has numerous stories of Janelle locking herself in her bedroom, music blasting while she sang along to her favorite tracks.
Although Janelle shared a love for music, she remained unaware of her music ability until she auditioned for her high school choir. "I remember practicing with friends before the tryouts, extremely nervous that I would not make the choir." She went on to try out for the choir and she did in fact make it. It was at a parent teacher conference that she remembers her choir teacher, Mrs. Jones, explaining to her mom her surprise at the voice she heard. Her teacher began to encourage her to sing, and that day the seed was planted. "I had no clue I could sing until Mrs. Jones told me I could. It was like someone removed the cover from my eyes." From there on she continued to grow and became involved with singing groups, including her home church's youth choir, "Judah Generation."
Janelle served as a praise team member and was afforded many opportunities that she describes as "amazing exposure" for her at such a young age. She recalls singing behind and in the same venues as some of her favorite gospel artists. "I loved it! And I am so grateful to be exposed to those things, it has helped shape me into the singer and person I am today." Despite her love for music at an early age, and the realization that she had a decent singing voice, Janelle found herself with dreams of becoming an attorney. "I didn't see singing as a feasible, realistic occupation. I wanted something more definite, secure."
All of that changed one Sunday after a church member approached her dad, and told him that one of his children would be a "singing sensation." "I remember my dad sharing the story with me and my siblings as we ate dinner. Although I did not claim it at the time, I knew she was talking about me." Janelle has carried this prophecy with her ever since and it is what has allowed her to be patient during questionable times; Knowing what God destined for her was sustaining.
It was not until her Junior year of college that Janelle decided to walk in to what God called her to do. "There was an on campus competition that I had absolutely no intentions of participating in, but after my friends mentioned it I decided to participate." Janelle participated and won the campus competition, which exposed her voice to many. "From there I received invitations to sing at different events and programs. It was new for me, but I enjoyed it."
In 2011, Janelle met her soon to be husband, Carlous Caldwell Drake. The two met at church and have quite a story to tell their children about their coming together. "It took a while, but once we were together, I knew that it would be forever. We just fit together, from talent, interests, beliefs, and giftings. God is amazing!" They were married in 2012 and also welcomed their daughter, Jourdyn, later that year. And it was there that God put the final piece to the puzzle. Carlous and Janelle combined their anointing and gifting and here they are. Janelle may not have had initial plans of becoming a Christian artist, but she always knew that God had amazing plans for her life and that she would completely follow his lead. "That is the best decision I have ever made."