Born and raised in Garfield, NJ, Janice Robinson took to music at an early age. Shyness and loneliness caused by being one of the only African-American kids in a neighborhood of Polish and Italian families, coupled with the rebellion that almost naturally comes to daughters of Baptist preachers, kept her from seriously pursuing her talent until high school. She poured more energy into her craft at Adelphi University where she majored in theater but spent hours secretly composing songs in the music room. After leaving Adelphi, she continued to perform music, playing with a variety of bands from 1989 to 1995. For one year during that time she was on tour with a European dance music band, which taught her a lot about the strain of constant touring but also set her up with a host of international contacts. During one extended stay in Italy, she met Joe Vannelli, who would collaborate with her on some of her first songs, "Children" and "Sweetest Day of May."