Following the release of her debut album, multiple award-nominated singer/songwriter Janice Gaines was prepared to take a short break to start a family with her husband. But when she and her son almost died in childbirth, her life took a detour as the Lord began to refine her in ways that she never expected. Suddenly, Gaines was forced to delay her return to music as she battled postpartum depression. In the end, it was a return to her foundations—spiritually and musically—that helped her reconnect with God and move forward.
“I found myself in a dark place,” explains Janice Gaines. “I wanted to just move on with everything, but I couldn’t. I was stunned into numbness and I couldn’t move forward, in any area of my life.”
Despite a healthy pregnancy, things took an unexpected turn in the delivery room, as the baby’s heartrate suddenly dropped and Janice’s blood pressure skyrocketed. Suffering from preeclampsia, Janice underwent emergency C-section and within moments, baby boy Gabriel was born. Still, Janice’s blood pressure could not be stabilized and, amid concerns over an imminent stroke, it was two days before doctor’s felt confident that she would be okay. The ordeal had taken its toll on Janice.
“It was traumatic, but I couldn’t really access the emotion of it,” she continues. “I had to go back to the basics in a lot of ways… back to where I started and back to where I met God. I went to counseling. I pursued wholeness everywhere I could find it. Spiritually, I had to learn to trust Him again. Musically, I had to find myself again. For me, that started with hymns.”
On Lead Me, Janice Gaines teams up with long-time music director, GRAMMY®-winning producer/arranger Dwan Hill, to guide listeners on an 8-song journey through rootsy new compositions and reimagined classics. The project’s title track, “Lead Me,” written by Australian singer/songwriter Ben Abraham (Ke$ha, Demi Lovato), is a passionate prayer based on Psalm 61, the kind that became her heart-cry in a difficult season.
Spirited arrangements of “What A Friend We Have In Jesus,” “How Great Thou Art” and “My Tribute” feel like the best parts of a soulful Sunday morning, harkening back to the classic ensemble sounds of gospel icons Andraé Crouch and Edwin Hawkins.
“The beginning of my music experience is really about my parents’ musical loves—for my dad, it is hymns and for my mom, it’s contemporary gospel,” says Janice. “Growing up, my mom was always the minister of music at church and she was a one-woman band. That classic gospel sound was always the richest for me.”
The project also allows for some contemplative moments, allowing Gaines to provide a beautiful contrast with the simple, piano-led “In The Garden” and organ-accompanied “All Hail The Power.” The album is rounded out by the ethereal “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” and the hope-filled album closer “One Day.”
And as a full-circle testament to God’s faithfulness, even baby Gabriel makes an appearance on the album. “Gabriel was in the womb while I toured my debut album and I was holding him while I recorded most of these new songs,” shares Gaines through laughter. “His birth was the catalyst for a lot of this music, so it was only right that he make a small cameo.”
Now, two years later, Gaines has a renewed sense of purpose in every way—as a wife, as a mother, and as a recording artist—and she is eager to release some of the songs that became her lifeline in one of the tumultuous seasons of her life.
“The Bible says to ‘comfort those with the same comfort we’ve received from God’,” she shares. “These songs helped me. My prayer is that God will use them to help someone else.”
Acoustic performance of the title track.
Janice Gaines performing a Christmas medley on TBN.