LaToya Jane: a celebration of will and talent
How LaToya changed her outlook and her life
Latoya Rodney credits a series of hard life lessons and self-reflection as her inspiration when writing lyrics and music. She is known professionally by her stage name LaToya Jane, and earlier in her career as Jane from Finch.
Today, LaToya is a successful singer, rapper, song writer, performer, and motivational speaker. But getting to this point has been a long road.
LaToya grew up in the 90s (her family moved to Shoreham Court in 1989), when communities didn’t have some of the parental supports and programs for children as they do today. “It was hard because there was nothing for us to do,” she said. “There were no parks or programs, so we’d get ourselves into trouble.”
LaToya found herself caught up in gang life. “The lure of the streets can be a powerful thing to youth, but it’s an illusion,” she said. “Adults in your life are mad at you or disappointed, but the streets love you, so they’ll take you.”
Things really hit home for LaToya when she lost one brother to gun violence, and when another brother was seriously injured. LaToya shares, “that was the first time when I wanted to change, to try and do some community work and to go to school. I started taking my music seriously as well. I was going out on tour and my mom told me to keep pushing, there will be light on the other side.”
LaToya started by giving back to her community. She got a job with TCHC and worked with youth through the Kickstart, Youthworx and Rookie League programs. She credits this work experience as helping with her personal growth. “Housing gave me a chance. I’ve worked for some big organizations and I used what I learned from housing. This experience helped me to change,” she said. “TCHC definitely made an impact on my life because they hired me and helped me grow. I love outreach and giving people opportunities, and I’m still very connected to my community. I often connect people with jobs, training and whatever they need.”
Musically, LaToya credits Lauren Hill, Bob Marley and 50 Cent as her main inspirations. “Lauren sings through her pain and I do the same thing; I’ve learned to channel it from being on the street to taking it out in the studio,” she said. “Bob Marley never gave up, and 50 Cent is a really smart businessman who also never gave up to reach where he is today.”
When asked what advice she’d give to a young person who’s going through the same struggle she did, LaToya is all about personal investment. “Believe in yourself and invest in your growth. The right people will support you when they’re supposed to support you. That’s just how life goes.”
A lesson worth learning.