By Sahar Chmais
Sparkly cowboy boots, a beige mesh floppy hat and red rose kimono; this vivacious style was just the tip of the glowing iceberg that was Janie Balderas. Underneath her big laugh and bright clothes was buried some heartache this country singer carried.
The Kyle resident writes songs that stem from personal experience, and two of her most recent songs landed her two different nominations at the Josie Music Awards. From 38,000 submissions, Balderas was one of 16 to be nominated to win Country Female Vocalist of the Year. She was also nominated for the Songwriter Achievement award for her song “Whiskey and Jesus,” which she wrote after her mother’s death.
She fiddled with her silver watch, which used to belong to her mother, as she spoke of her inspiration for “Whiskey and Jesus.”
“My mom passed away recently from Stage four pancreatic cancer,” Balderas said. “I miss her so much. I have seen a lot of people, with COVID, going through a lot of pain of losing somebody,” Balderas’s voice broke. “Some people turn to the bottle, but I’m like the bottle just numbs the pain; Jesus will last longer and the pain won’t last as long.”
This was Balderas’ inspiration for “Whiskey and Jesus,” and she shortly realized how people could connect with it on many different levels, especially during the pandemic when families suddenly lost members.
“I shared it with somebody and she was like ‘that’s me! That’s exactly what I’m going through right now,’” Balderas said. “When I sing a song, it’s like there will be at least one person out of the whole crowd who maybe relates to it – maybe it touches them in some capacity. Well, then that’s good.”
While that song has a somber tone, some of Balderas’ songs have a rhythm that makes listeners tap their feet and and sway their hips.
“Busted” is one of those songs. Balderas manages to make busting a cheating partner sound empowering as she sings “you may think I’m made of pearls, fragile like a little girl, but that ain’t, no that ain’t me. Got a Smith & Wesson under my bed .38 caliber and a 12-gauge shotgun taking care of me.”
Not only is it an upbeat country song about busting a cheating partner, but Balderas shows off her vocal capacity as she rides the music’s quick rhythm like a surfer riding the waves.
“When I was recording [Busted], everybody enjoyed it – it was fun to record with the guys,” Balderas said about her newest release. “That got released on radio and on Spotify. Even though the lyrics are a little sassy, it’s still a fun song to move to and get your toes tapped.”
She has a range range in the country music genre – from bold lyrics to songs filled with emotional memories. In some songs, a listener can hear that deep honky tonk and steel guitar sounds, while in others she brings in an Americana Twist. The audience loves hearing the unique sounds that she brings onto one stage in one performance, she explained.
Even though Balderas has a wide musical range and has played countless times across Texas and sometimes in Tennessee, she hopes to expand her music collection to get more out to the public.
“I know it’s hard, but hopefully someday I can make money from [singing],” Balderas laughed. “Everybody is like keep dreaming. I just want to share my music with everybody and hopefully I can record a lot more.”
Many of Balderas’ songs are in the queue to be recorded and she continues to produce more music. But recording high quality songs takes a lot of money, which Balderas continues to save for.
She will not let anything deter her from her dream, as she continues to work on a new album for release.Janie Balderas singing her song “Busted” at the Broken Spoke.