Janice Francis-Smith

I wrote my first song, a keyboard instrumental, at 7 years old, and was composing full-fledged pop tunes by 9 years of age. But it would take decades for me to get up the nerve to perform a song I had written in public.

Writing has always been my way of navigating the ups and downs, twists and turns of life. But I was raised to believe writing and singing were indulgences, not real jobs. Over the years, though, my songwriting shifted from a closely guarded secret to an avocation and finally today, my chosen vocation.

The death of both parents and a sister when I was relatively young taught me that tomorrow is not promised and a dream deferred turns into disappointment and regret. Further losses have continued to teach me that trying is always better than wishing, sharing is always better than hoarding, and love is always smarter than fear. Music is the best way I know to heal hearts and bring people together. This is not just a job. This is the stuff life is made of.