Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Truth According to Janiva Magness

by Doug MacRostie

Janiva Magness is one of the premiere Blues and R&B performers in the world today. She has a rich and soulful voice that can take an audience from deep sorrow to overwhelming joy. The story of her life is one of extremes and hardships. In her teens, both of her parents committed suicide and she bounced from foster home to foster home around the Twin Cities. She was the kind of "at risk" youth that typically doesn't survive. As she describes it, that was the Fate she was born to. But, through the kindness of others she was able to discover her Destiny: music. She will be joining me on Centerstage MN to talk about her new CD "The Devil Is an Angel Too."

Janiva told me, "I really believe people deserve the truth. People work really hard for their money and if I'm going to expect them to spend money to see my performance or buy my CD, then I damn well better give them something worth spending on....My job is about human connection, and the gift, or vehicle is the music, but the stories are about human connection. In order to do my job I have to be able to tell the truth and bring myself to that story...if someone understands by the end of a song, or end of a show, that they're not alone in their experience - if I can accomplish a piece of that, then I've done my job. I feel like the world is full of mediocrity and people are out there, and on records there is a lot of B.S. out there, and I can't serve's a glorious gift that this is my world and this is my job."

Beyond her internationally acclaimed music career, Janiva is proud to be a spokesperson for National Foster Care Month and Ambassador of Foster Care Alumni for Foster Care Alumni of America. "For me it's sort of 'paying it forward,' by talking about the early part of my life, it turns out that it helps other people that are still in the struggle, that are still in that part of their journey - and I want to serve that, I want to serve that. It's so amazing." And so is she.

Centerstage MN is Thursday evenings at 6, streaming live online at; or 91.7 Grand Rapids, 89.9 Brainerd and 105.3 Bemidji and can be heard again Sunday mornings at 6. All interviews are archived at Centerstage MN is also heard on KSRQ in Thief River Falls, and on KMSU in Mankato. Sometimes heard on KFAI in Minneapolis & St. Paul and WTIP in Grand Marais. Often featured on

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