INTERVIEW: Dinah Jane ready to sing her heart out on first solo tour

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Dinah Jane, Fifth Harmony

Dinah Jane. Photo courtesy of the artist.

With pop juggernaut Fifth Harmony, Dinah Jane already had plenty of experience traveling the world and playing arenas on the back of massive hits like “Worth It” and “Work From Home.” But for the past year she’s been working hard to kickstart a solo career. When she plays her first four solo headlining shows next week, beginning Sunday at San Francisco’s Brick & Mortar Music Hall—already sold-out—it will be in much more intimate venues than she’s used to.

Dinah Jane
Tone Stith

8 p.m., Sunday
Brick & Mortar
Tickets: $18.50.

“I don’t really have a clue or have much experience, kicking off my first tour,” she said over a call earlier this week in between tour rehearsals in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley. “It was my team that told me this would be a good venue. …I’m really happy with the locations I’m heading to because the Bay feels like home to me. I’m such a West Coast girl. Anything California, I’m there—all genuine love. New York’s already sold out and Chicago is on its way.”



The Santa Ana artist first rose to fame in 2012—along with Fifth Harmony members Camila Cabello, Ally Brooke, Normani Kordei and Lauren Jauregui—when the group was formed on The X Factor. Cabello left the group in 2016 and the rest of the members took an indefinite hiatus two years later.

That left Jane, born Dinah Jane Hansen, trying to find her own voice as an artist. She grew up in a large Polynesian family, in a home that often had more than 20 relatives, including her grandparents, with her. Music was always playing, and it was often ‘90s R&B, which Jane fell in love with early in life. After signing with L.A. Reid’s label HitCo in 2018, that’s the direction she chose for herself.

“The R&B has always been in me and it’s something that I say thanks to my parents [for] because that’s what I grew up on; R&B and reggae,” the 22-year-old said. “I am truly grateful for the platform and experience I’ve had with Fifth Harmony. … I was exposed to so much more than just one direction, if that makes sense. There was reggae, we touched some R&B and pop was definitely the core of our music. I kind of incorporated that into mine just because that shaped me into who I am now as an artist. I can’t run away from something that I was in for so many years.”



Dinah Jane made her solo debut last fall on “Bottled Up,” with Marc E. Bassy and Ty Dolla $ign, who’d also worked with Fifth Harmony, before following it up with confident jam “Retrograde” and a three-song collection that included the groovier “Heard It All Before,” dark and moody “Pass Me By,” and emotional piano-led ballad “Fix It.”

Dinah Jane on her bond with her siblings, rooting for the Raiders

Dinah Jane is one of eight siblings and since she could remember, she’s been an Oakland Raiders fan.

How does somebody from Southern California, who’s not old enough to remember when the Raiders played in L.A., become a Raiders fan?
Dinah Jane: It was because my dad. My dad’s an athlete himself, so, he used to play football and I remember growing up, everything that I saw around our house was, honestly, the Raiders. … I’m the biggest daddy’s girl and I just felt everything my dad likes when it comes to sports.

Since the team is moving to Las Vegas, it’s going to be a little closer for you.
There’s like a huge Hawaiian community down there [in Las Vegas] for food. My family and I; we’ll take the four-hour drive just to go get some Hawaiian food from there. So if we can drive four hours to go get some Hawaiian food, we can definitely do that almost every week for Raiders games.

On the latter song, Jane addressed the disconnect she felt with her large family after her success with Fifth Harmony took her in directions that made her parents and other relatives uncomfortable, because her family prioritized helping each other over oneself. “There’s no room for me in this home/ So I go do it myself because it’s all I know,” she sings.

The song, which Jane originally wrote only for herself, helped her family come back together.

“The moment I created it in a way it kind of felt like a message that needed to be heard in order for us to fix our relationship,” she said. “I give so much thanks to music. I’ve lived in a musical home. My family; they’re all musically talented. I’ve always witnessed that music as what heals a situation. … That is a message that my grandfather was happy about because he wanted to fix the same situation. They didn’t know how it would be fixed, but they knew it would.”



Do your brothers and sisters sing as well?
I’m one of eight, and [one] sister’s a singer-songwriter. She loves the underground music. She’s like a SoundCloud girl. She shows me the underground music and I’m like, ‘Oh, OK, that’s cool. I’ve never heard of that.’ Being that I’m over here on the Top 40 charts, I’m just listening to those types of songs. She introduces me to things that are so much more edgier and so much cooler. That’s my second sister. And then my youngest sister, she’s a singer herself. She swears she’s better than me. I love her confidence. My brothers, they kind of sing, too, but because they’re football players, they kind of shy away from the singing scene. When we were younger, they’d always sing no matter what. We’d have family gatherings and get up and sing. But yeah, my brothers are talented too. Maybe they’ll do it one day when they come out of their shell.

Are your brothers in high school or middle school?
One’s in high school and the second one is in middle school. He’s in eighth grade. But everyone says, when they see my siblings, that they look so much older. It’s the Polynesian in us; it kind of ages us, makes us look older than you think.

Most recently, Dinah Jane released the upbeat duet “SZNS,” with A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, last summer. The love song won’t be the only new song she will be performing at her first solo shows, however; fans can expect some unreleased songs, as well as some covers, which may or may not include Fifth Harmony tunes.

“You have to attend to experience or to witness it for yourself and see what you’re going to get during my show,” she teased. “I don’t want to give too much away.”

She won’t have a band on these first shows but her backing tracks include organic elements, and fans can also expect some choreography “and just me singing my heart out.”

Following this run of shows, which will take her through the end of November, Jane said she already has another project lined up that will keep her busy for a few months. She said she couldn’t talk about it, but has been rumored to be a return to her roots.



Are your brothers good at football?
Oh, there’s so good. They’ve already had so many offers as of right now and I’m just so happy with where they’re heading in their career and in their life. I support them fully no matter what they want, whatever they want to do.

What else are you into besides music?
I don’t even know what spare time is. Honestly I’d just like to spend time with my siblings. … Whether it’s me walking to their school to pick them up and take them to go Yogurtland—simple as that. My kind of hobby. They’re my everything so I just spend quality time with my family.

Jane isn’t getting ahead of herself, though, focusing entirely on her first solo shows.

“It really hasn’t hit me after like two weeks of rehearsing,” she said. “I’m super stoked … I’m just very focused and I think the nerves haven’t gotten to me yet. … Maybe once I step out to San Francisco, that’s when it’ll hit me. San Francisco sold out the first week I came out with tickets. That’s exciting and it just makes me really happy that people … want to come out and see me perform my songs live. That means the world to me.”

 

Follow editor Roman Gokhman at Twitter.com/RomiTheWriter

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