Published on January 26, 2013 by Amy
Jana Mashonee is a singer, songwriter, actress, author and philanthropist. She is Lumbee and Tuscarora, originally from Robeson County, North Carolina, currently residing in New York City. She is currently releasing her music through Miss Molly Records available on iTunes and Amazon.
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First signed to Curb Records, her single, Ooh, Baby, Baby was picked as Billboard’s single of the week and went on to become a radio and sales success. More than Life followed, selling over a million copies on its own and as part of numerous compilation albums. A controversial version of Led Zeppelin’s epic Stairway to Heaven, came next, earning her the honor of being the first Native American to top the Billboard dance charts.
Exploring her cultural roots, Jana then released American Indian Story, a concept album that garnered her a second Grammy nomination. The video for the single, The Enlightened Time, won awards at film festivals around the world as well as a Nammy for Best Short Form Music Video. Music from the album is featured on the Discovery Channel’s series, Flying Wild Alaska.
Her first book, American Indian Story – The Adventures of Sha’kona, based on the Grammy nominated album of the same was also recently completed. The fantasy filled mystery-adventure young adult novel is the uplifting story of the young heroine, Sha’kona, and her journey of self-discovery and courage.
Jana continued to pay tribute to her heritage with American Indian Christmas, featuring ten classic Christmas songs sung in ten different Native American languages accompanied by a full orchestra and traditional Native American instruments. A critical and commercial success, the album won her another Nammy award. On December 16, 2011 she featured some of these songs in an emotional and intimate performance at Carnegie Hall in New York.
New Moon Born took Jana in a new direction, steeped in R&B and gospel roots, which brought her back to mainstream attention. She debuted the featured track, an emotional cover of Sam Cooke’s classic, A Change Is Gonna Come, at the American Indian Inaugural Ball for President Obama. This was her second performance for a First Family. A year earlier she sang at the First Lady’s Luncheon for Laura Bush. The song went on to win her an eighth Nammy for Song of the Year and the video took the Best Music Video prizes at the Indie Film Festival and at the American Indian Film Festival.
Jana’s tour schedule has brought her to forty nine of the fifty states as well as overseas. Her Jana’s Kids Foundation has been helping Native youth through its programs and scholarship offerings for almost as long as she has been an artist. In recognition of her efforts, Jana was named 2011 Woman of the Year by “yearofthewoman2011.com” for her philanthropic work.
Jana is also an actress. In February 2012, Jana starred in Raptor Ranch, which will debut at the Berlin Film Festival.