Changing children’s lives through music
South African songstress, Janet Rich, is donating R5 from every album sold to Joint Aid Management South Africa (JAM SA).
We caught up with her to learn about her passion for music, children and her faith that’s got her to where she is today.
1. Tell us about you, Janet
I was born in Pretoria but grew up pretty much all over South Africa. After my dad passed away when I was 10, my mom remarried and my brother, Emil and I were so blessed because along with our new dad we got two stepbrothers and a stepsister (Roger, John and Sharon).
I currently reside in Alberton where I work at Rhema South Family Church as the Music Director and Graphic Designer.
2. When did you discover your love – and talent – for music?
I don’t really know when I realised I wanted to sing… I just remember always doing speeches in English and Afrikaans class on singing for Jesus when I grow up. I didn’t take part in school plays, so no one ever really knew I could sing.
I grew up I a musical home where my mom played piano and bass guitar, sang, led worship and wrote her own songs. My dad built and played his own electric and bass guitars. When my dad passed away and my mom remarried she married a man who also loved God and played bass guitar in Hatfield Church Pretoria. So music has always been in our home.
3. How have you nurtured your talent through the years?
You could say I spent the last 14 years just practicing my gift over and over again. I got this idea to start an academy at our church to help other people who wanted to learn how to play piano. It’s amazing how much learn by teaching. I have almost learned more from teaching than what I have trying to get things right on my own. Teaching has helped me sharpen my tools.
4. Why did you decide to make an album? Tell about the recording process
I have always wanted to do a CD. I have just spent more time running in fear. As much as I knew I had the gift, I was just as afraid of disappointing myself. A friend of mine heard that I wanted to do an album and asked me what was keeping me back. After our conversation I just realised there was no turning back… No more running. And so we got started on the Project.
Marlon van Wyhe was the producer for this album and we recorded in his studio. It took us 10 months or so to get the project done.
5. Why have you decided to support JAM SA by donating R5 from the sale of every CD?
In 2008 I was at the Hillsong Conference in Australia. ‘Compassion’ was there and played a video of one of the sponsors visiting their child. My heart broke for these kids and I immediately had a great desire to help children. In fact… I wanted to quit my job and do social work, but it just would not have been the right thing for me. I had much growing to do first before I could serve the vision God had giving me.
When I thought about what I wanted to do with this album I just knew JAM South Africa was where I wanted to get involved. God just opened the doors and I had peace. It is a huge HONOUR for me to work with JAM. It’s so important for us to take care of each other. I know I may not have millions to contribute but knowing that every bit helps is a very encouraging thought. I wanted to give as much as I could towards helping with the children.
6. Why do you think investing in South Africa’s children is so important?
Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders, whether it’s in the corporate or family environment. If they are healthy and strong and can grow up in an environment where they are fed both physically and mentally then we are preparing ourselves for a healthy future.
7. Do you think it is the role of every South African to look after our future?
Yes, absolutely! I am not saying everyone must step out and do these great works. No one can do anything by themselves. But everyone coming together to do something can accomplish much. Each of us has something to contribute within our natural means. If we would just be willing. And for most of us it will cost nothing but a little time and effort.
8. What’s next for you in your music career?
For now, just promoting the album and getting the message in each song out there. My heart is pulling towards writing for the church though – for the body of Christ to sing as they come to church every Sunday.
9. What is your life motto?
So simple…”Eyes on Jesus ALWAYS”. There is no way you can go wrong keeping your eyes on the perfect leader and role model.
10. And to end off on a lighter note, if you could invite three people to dinner, who would you invite and what would you have on the menu?
Haha… I love this question… My mom (Freda Rich), Sandra Bullock (Actress) and my cousin Ezne’ Bosch – that will make for some good laughs around the table! We’ll be eating my homemade chicken curry.