Dinah Jane’s Journey: From Fifth Harmony to Polynesian Empowerment in ‘Ya Ya’ Era
The former Fifth Harmony sensation, Dinah Jane, is back and bolder than ever. After a three-year hiatus from the music scene, she’s gracing us with her presence again, and it’s a comeback that’s all about embracing her true self and her Polynesian roots.
Dinah gave us a sneak peek into her upcoming single, “Ya Ya,” which she describes as an “island pop song that will make you say ya, ya.” But it’s not just about catchy beats and sultry vocals; it’s about body empowerment. Dinah’s proudly flaunting her real, beautiful self, and she’s inviting all her fans, or as she affectionately calls them, “Gworls,” to do the same. In her own words, “Love yourself, love your figure in whatever season it’s in.”
For Dinah Jane, this new era isn’t just about music; it’s about rediscovering herself. She candidly shares that she had to pause her journey because she was running from 23 years of bottled-up emotions. But her time away allowed her to reflect, heal, and find her true purpose as an artist. Now, she’s steering her own ship in the vast ocean of music, and she’s the captain of her tropical musical pot.
What sets Dinah apart is her unwavering connection to her Polynesian heritage. Her upbringing in a musical family, singing Tongan hymns, instilled a deep love for harmonies and melodies that are now an integral part of her music. But it’s more than that; she’s incorporating Polynesian language and percussion into her work, experimenting with traditional instruments, and blending them seamlessly with various musical genres. It’s a journey of discovery and an ode to her roots.
Dinah Jane’s journey from Fifth Harmony to solo artist has been a rollercoaster ride. She initially struggled with an identity crisis, but today, she stands tall, unafraid to be herself. She encourages aspiring artists to follow their passion, nurture it, and be unapologetically themselves. Her message is clear: there are no rules in creating music, so get weird, be loud, be vulnerable, and most importantly, have fun in the process.
As Dinah Jane prepares to drop “Ya Ya” and embark on her Brazil tour, her journey is a testament to the power of embracing one’s roots, loving oneself, and finding strength in vulnerability. It’s about rebirth, empowerment, and the glorious sound of an artist fully embracing her identity. Dinah Jane is not just a pop star; she’s a cultural ambassador, a symbol of body positivity, and an inspiration to artists worldwide.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. We featured your fellow bandmate Ally Brooke on a cover in 2017. Is this what collecting the infinity stones feels like? Haha! Awwww I love my Ally, hey it must be! lol I just saw her at my song release party and I don’t know what overcame me but tears came rolling down my face. So good to see her smile again in person after all these years.
Could you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind your new single “Ya Ya?” YA YA is my babbbyyy! Not only is it giving that naughty island girl flavor, but it’s a BODY EMPOWERING ISLAND ANTHEM. This era I’m putting so much emphasis on who I am and where I come from. I’m a proud, sun-kissed, brown-skinned, POLYNESIAN WOMAN. I’m not a size 4 anymore and that’s OK, this record was sort of a PSA to me, to love the skin I’m in. Even though she a little thicky I love my body more now than ever before and I hope YA YA can be that for all my girls, Gworls, and whoever!! Love yourself, and love your figure in whatever season it’s in.
After a three-year break from the music scene, what led you to return? What’s different this time around in terms of your artistic direction? I was running from 23 years of bottled-up emotions that began to haunt me, forcing me to take a break. In the midst of that, I would be out at these dingy little holes-in-the-wall bars and clubs, thinking no one will recognize me? Lol! Well, I was wrong; people would recognize me and be like OMG DINAH JANE!??? What are you doing here? Lol! I knew then with the help and guidance of my team that it was time to get back into my music and share my story. In this next era, I’m more focused on the storytelling in my projects. Sharing stories that either me or the people in my life are going through. I just want to be authentic to myself as an artist and what I’m going through. Before I was trying to please too many people, too many cooks in the kitchen if you will. Now, I’m the chef of my own lil musical tropical pot, Eeoou. Lol
Your solo career has been characterized by exploring your Polynesian heritage. Has your cultural background influenced your music in any way, and what can we expect in terms of these influences in your upcoming EP and tour? 100% a lot of the harmonies and melodies I use come from that sacred place of home. I grew up in a musical family, my mom and all her siblings would sing Tongan hymns and that’s where I learned to harmonize at such a young age. This new era I’m excited to incorporate our Polynesian language and percussion into my music. Getting to experiment with our traditional instruments and merge them into different musical genres has been so fun and fulfilling. I love the musical freedom I’m in to explore in sounds I’ve always wanted to discover. Ugh, I can’t wait for y’all to hear it.
You’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with artists like Daddy Yankee, A. Boogie, and Ty Dolla Sign. Can you share a story from your experiences working with these artists? Ty was cool to work with, I’ve always been a big fan of his musical knowledge. I remember being introduced to his music in 2014 “She mad she angry”. We were looking for an artist to feature on “Work From Home” a few names were thrown out from everyone and I remember mentioning Ty to our team. Since then, the chemistry was already set, so I’m grateful he easily said yes to hopping on with me and Marc E Bassy for “Bottled Up”. Sent him the song and boom he sent his verse on video instantly. So much love to my West Coast boys. They’re so talented.
“SZNS” featuring A Boogie was the best addition to the record. I loved his delivery and his lyrical approach to this love song. It hits differently when a man expresses himself on such a topic as this being vulnerable so as a fan of his it was special to have him a part of it. And then he gave me the opportunity to open up for him on his Europe tour. It was lit! Amazing performer.
Thank you to RedOne I was featured on his record “Boom Boom” also featuring French Montana and Daddy Yankee. Met him at the release party and he was such a vibe. Nothing but love and good vibes.
Having spent a significant portion of your career as part of Fifth Harmony, how has the transition to a solo artist allowed you to express yourself in new ways and explore different genres? I think I’m figuring that out now, when I first went solo, I was trying to make my way through an identity crisis. I invested so much into Dinah Jane of 5H that I didn’t know who Dinah Jane the solo artist truly was. I loved the music I was creating but I just needed that one core thing that was missing. I remember it like it was yesterday, I was on the set of my music video Bottled Up and I said to my mom “I need to bring back someone from home to remind me of who I am” and that someone is a member of my current management team, Chad who’s known me since I was 12. I was so robotic and numb to the music industry and I was on the verge of destroying myself. I just felt like it wasn’t fair to me to allow so many people to make decisions for me anymore. I needed a complete pause on this whole thing. And if it meant me falling and breaking in order to find my purpose, then so be it. In a way though, I know it all worked out as God planned because one thing about God, his plan for me has ALWAYS been greater than any plan I could have planned for myself. I had to go through tough trials to bring me where I am today, unafraid to be ME. Every test God gave me has become a testimony of his enduring love for me.
Could you tell us about any unexpected challenges you’ve faced as you’ve explored various musical styles? One challenge is being almost too versatile that no one really knew what to do with me. That caused me to be pulled in so many different directions. I almost released an album in the summer 2020. I was so happy with where I was as a creative but others had a say with the list of songs, I had put together so it made me question the release. Version 2 of it went total opposite of what I had in mind in terms of sound and feeling. I love so many genres and I love not putting myself in a box. But this is a new day and there are no rules. I have to just trust my art, trust my craft, and trust my gut when it comes to my music. Me as an artist who has such a huge love for all music, I just know that I’m drawn to making anything and releasing anything that makes me feel good.
Can you elaborate on what this new era means for you as an artist, and how your personal growth is reflected in your music? I’ve realized that this is so much bigger than me. Being the first Polynesian artist in the mainstream world to check so many boxes, humbly. I’ve realized the importance of my role and the value I have to my name. I do this not just for me, this is for every brown skin girl or boy who dreams of becoming an artist. I want them to see me and know they can do it too. For so long I was advised to tuck away who I was because our Polynesian population is 0.01% of the total world population. But where we lack in numbers we make up for in our talent, in our voices and in our hearts. My people deserve to be seen in the light that God has put on us and it’s one of my biggest joys in this new era that I get to put that at the forefront of my projects.
Looking back at your journey so far, what advice would you give to aspiring artists who trying to find their own unique voice? Honestly there’s millions of artists out there, but there is only 1 YOU. BE YOU!! Find what makes your passion overflow into your music, nurture that, and be proud of who you are. There are no rules in creating so be unapologetically you. Get weird, be loud, be vulnerable and just have fun in the process of it all. Living in the moment in every phase of my life no matter where I was in my life and career was the best thing I did. Be GRATEFUL for every little opportunity that comes your way and rejoice in it.