You Should Stan: With Dinah Jane, you haven’t ‘Heard It All Before’

(Photo courtesy of Denise Leopuld)
Dinah Jane released her debut single “Bottled Up” last year. Since then, she’s dropped tracks such as “Retrograde,” “SZNS” and “Pass Me By.” 

It’s always the right SZN for Dinah Jane.

Almost exactly a year after dropping her debut solo single “Bottled Up,” the Polynesian queen’s career is on an ascent. Though her sound is reminiscent of early 2000s hip-hop and R&B, there’s a refreshing quality about her tracks. Her lyrics are relatable, her beats are danceable and, though we haven’t gotten a full-blown project, her fans are more than ready to see Jane in full solo swing.

Earlier this year, she surprised the Dinahsty with R&B-packed Dinah Jane 1, a three-song bundle that gave the world an introduction to what Jane is really about. Accompanied by two deeply personal tracks, ”Heard It All Before” is a standout in DJ’s discography. Ask Ariana Grande: she’s played the track during her arena tour as fans filed in to see the “thank u, next” singer perform.

After standing out as one of the five members of Fifth Harmony, she says DJ1 became a way for her to “break the ice” from being in the most successful girl group of our generation (yes, I’m biased) to becoming the blossoming solo artist she is today.

“There will most definitely be an R&B tone within my music, but it isn’t the only style to expect from me,” she explained. “I’m influenced and moved by everything.”

Though her circumstances have changed throughout the years — she started her career as a solo artist on “The X Factor” and spent a half-dozen years alongside Normani, Ally Brooke, Lauren Jauregui and Camila Cabello in 5H — a handful of things have remained constant with Jane. She continues to be a standout vocalist (see Fifth Harmony’s “Who Are You” and “Lonely Night” as examples) and she is still the down-to-earth, family-oriented person Harmonizers like me fell in love with years ago.

On a personal level, I’ve followed Dinah’s (and the other girls’) careers religiously: I’ve gifted them with personalized hot sauce bottles, won fan competitions to interview them and even ran a fan account not too long ago. The Fifth Harmony girls were my world — and now I’m excited to see them do their own thing and excel at what they do best: being themselves.

If there’s anyone I think you should stan, it’s Dinah Jane.

What was it like collabing with A Boogie wit da Hoodie on “SZNS”? I honestly have it on repeat! 

The fact that you have it on repeat makes me so happy! I originally wrote this record with the intention of a “wedding” song. How ironic, right? Coming from someone like me who is far from ready for that SZN — just so we’re clear! But, it’s honestly an honor to have someone as talented as him on this record. A Boogie embodied SZNS with his tone, his lyrics and direction of melody. I really wouldn’t have it any other way. 

What really hit home for me were his lyrics. I loved that this record brought out a raw and vulnerable side to this man speaking on behalf of all men who are down for their woman and own up to being in their feelings as much as us. We’re so used to hearing records out right now about ass shaking and throwin’ cash. I found this as an opportunity for whoever the male feature was going to be to express themselves wholeheartedly without holding back. 

You’re getting the chance to write more now. Tell me about your songwriting process. 

After joining and collaborating with so many brilliant and insanely talented writers and artists, I’ve learned that everyone has their own unique creative process, and I’ve included pieces of those experiences in my sessions. 

I feel like a sponge, and I’ve learned that it’s important to be one. I’m always a student. Most of my records are real life experiences about me, about my friends, about my family. I usually like to start with a concept and then have the producer take it where they hear it. 

What do you want Harmonizers (like me!) to know about your post-group ventures? How are you feeling, and what is the solo life like?

I’d say I’m so aware and cautious more so than ever with who I affiliate myself with. I’m so grateful for everything I’ve encountered in that era because it prepared me for my solo career. Musically, relationships, friendships, performances, my business — all of that. The music I’m creating now is the lane I feel so confident and honest in. [I’m] speaking my truth. I’ve traveled the world and seen so much, I honestly feel older than 22. I’m still learning to live in the moment and be 100% attentive to the little things; they really do matter.

I saw you perform at the BET Experience, and you gave off some strong Mariah Carey vibes — is Mariah a big inspiration for you? Why so? Who are some of your biggest inspirations? 

Mariah Carey is most definitely one of my biggest inspirations. She’s one of the few artists who’ve shaped my artistry. Beyoncé, Brandy, Aaliyah, Tamia, etc. You gotta learn from the greatest of all time. Sonically and melodically, I carry some of these artists’ styles within my music because they have such timeless records, style and stories that we still hold dear to our hearts. 

Mariah always had a message and strong vocals that made you say, “Oh shit, the bitch is sangin’!” I hope I can one day embody that era of real solid music where vocalists sing their heart and soul out and had a message to share of pain, love, insecurity, empowering women and social issues. 

Back in 2013, you tweeted: “When my brothers go to college, I HOPE they choose to go to my fav college #USC. Can’t wait for their season start next week!!!” I’ve also seen some posts of you rocking USC merch! Talk to me about your love for the University!

My family have always been die-hard Trojan fans! I’m the biggest daddy’s girl, so whatever my Popz liked, I did too. I remember when I was younger, I’d watch him play college football on the Xbox, and his team was always USC. That’s when I became familiar with the colors, the school and most importantly, the Trojan anthem! 

My uncle Hebron Fangupo played for the football team, and it boosted our love for the University even more. The football support system built within the school is the most solid foundation I’ve ever witnessed. My brothers are currently in high school, and my hope is that one day they will follow in the footsteps of my uncle and become a true Trojan so I can brag, brag, brag! I’ll sleep, live and breathe in the USC colors everywhere I go, ha!

What are some of the projects that you are currently working on? When should we expect new music and full album?

I would love to tell you what I’m up to, but I love to keep the suspense. Just enjoy the music I’ve released thus far, and know that the album is on its way. I’m in no rush to release because I have so much more to say and get off my chest. Just be ready to get in your feelings, dance your ass off on the weekends with your crew and to walk around with confidence knowing what you bring to the table! 

Lastly, this column is called “You Should Stan.” Why should people stan Dinah Jane?

You should stan Dinah Jane because she’s cute and a solid Trojan supporter.