It took Jana Stanfield until the age of 33 to make the move to Nashville and do music full time.
Today, the successful singer and songwriter, a native of Clovis and alumni of Eastern New Mexico University, considers herself privileged to make a living doing what she loves and has made time the past two years to share her musical inspiration with youth in Portales.
About 100 area youth attended the second annual Jana Stanfield Concert and Youth Rally on Saturday at the Portales High School Performing Arts Center.
During the day, Stanfield, whose song, “If I Had Only Known,” was recorded by Reba McEntire in 1991 and became a mega hit, held workshops with youth on how to write their own songs. A good part of the participants were from Farwell High School, as well as from area church groups.
Residents also got to get a chance to hear Stanfield’s newest, just-released CD, “Let Change Begin.”
“I am focusing on a singing career for myself. I sell about 10,000 to 15,000 album a year and that feels good,” Stanfield said. “That is enough to support me and the people working for my record company.”
Stanfield added, “I love that there are a lot of people who do like my music and I still get a thrill seeing my name on marquees. I feel grateful for how my life turned out.”
Stanfield spent four years working as a TV reporter for KOB-TV in Albuquerque and worked in the music business in Nashville before embarking on a music career of her own.
In 1994, Stanfield had another of her songs included on the movie “Eight Seconds” and her life story appeared in “Third Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul.”
Stanfield performs mostly at non-profit events around the country and is one of perhaps a few successful musicians who make time to share her talent with children.
“I encourage children to have faith in their abilities and in a God who loves them unconditionally,” Stanfield said. She hopes to return to Portales again next year to conduct another concert, rally and series of workshops.
Participants seemed genuinely inspired by Stanfield’s workshop on songwriting.
“Anybody can be a songwriter. They don’t have to have good notes or a good voice to sing — they just have to have the courage and will to do it. That’s what Jana told us,” said Mikaela Ceniceros, a 7th grade member of the Farwell school band.
Another Farwell band student, Nina Galvan, said, “Most artists don’t do what Jana Stanfield has done for us. She has taken the time to meet with us students on a personal level.”
Cameron Kirkland of Farwell, a member of the school band who also plays the guitar, said, “Jana made me want to write music, too. She has been an inspiration.”
Stanfield is an artist who lives her dream by empowering others to live theirs, and to help students keep that in mind, students wore T-shirts at the rally with Jana’s own words inscribed on them, “Start small, dream big, live large, and enjoy the ride.”