Today known as a DJ on Radio 2, Janey Lee Grace’s career has been wide, varied, artistic and exciting. From pop singer to DJ to self-help author and brand specialist, she has a welter of experience to share – and unique knowledge of the levers of success
“I was born to show off – when I was young, I used to find a way at every opportunity!” Janey Lee Grace smiles. “And I always wanted to be a pop star.”
At school, one of her teachers played pop songs on his guitar. “I thought I’d died and gone to heaven,” she laughs. “He was the one who inspired me to listen to pop music.”
Doing a degree in Performance Art at Middlesex University, she learned dance, music and drama and soon realised her real skill was in singing. The course also gave her a level of professionalism, and a belief that no matter what, the show must go on.
To earn her Equity card (the union membership needed to perform professionally in Britain), she sang in a covers band and then joined Mari Wilson and the Wilsonettes. It was fun, “12 of us in a minibus travelling around the country,” she recalls nostalgically.
Then, from one extreme to another – touring the world as a backing singer with mega boy band Wham! for three years. Then came her own single, Seven Ways To Love. On the nationwide publicity tour she got a taste for radio.
“I thought wow, I like what you’re doing. If I hadn’t come across that passion…” she shrugs. “Well I call it an addiction, actually. Because once you work in radio you never want to leave.”
Soon she was hosting her own BBC radio show and interviewing countless stars, learning how to put the sparkle into presenting ideas. It became second nature to interview big stars, but she had her star-struck moments – like the day she interviewed Chris Martin of Coldplay.
At this time, Lee Grace also began reading self-help, purely for herself. She became deeply knowledgeable about personal development, and in a passing conversation was asked by a publisher to pool her knowledge into a book, The Imperfectly Natural Woman.
So what is her message?
“I’m really passionate about trying to take the natural approach to absolutely everything but I’m also very realistic. One of the things I say is you just do the bits you can. A small change can make a big difference,” she adds, explaining how each change can “spiral and grow into something bigger.”
She looks for the “obvious natural solution” to living, and assures me, “there usually is one.”
With the success of her books, Lee Grace was approached by friends and businesses seeking recommendations of their products. It led to a fascinating new area.
“Over time it made me realise, I can’t just keep writing about you, you need to be prepared to put yourself in the spotlight. So many therapists, particularly practitioners, real experts would say to me no, no no, I am not going to speak at that event, I’m not going to be interviewed, I’m not going to write an article because I don’t want anyone looking at me, I just want them to buy my products or to come and have a treatment.”
Though these experts had fantastic skills, they were missing the one she always had – her childhood ability of “showing off” really meant being great at publicity and projecting yourself as a brand.
She was only too happy to share her knowledge.
“People do business with those they like, know and trust. I recognise that many people do the work they’re doing not to show off but to help other people. It’s not about ego. I call it showing up rather than showing off. It’s a case of thinking how many more people could I help? How many more lives could I change with my amazing product or service if I stand in the spotlight and really recognise this brand is me. Here I am, you know and trust me.”
She adds: “That’s how we make our decisions what to purchase – how we connect with people. It comes back to owning what I call your unique brilliance – and that’s getting in touch with everything that’s great about you. That may not necessarily just be your unique selling point; the packaging of your products
or the service you do – it might be something else.
It’s their unique brilliance that I draw out of people.”
Janey Lee Grace will be giving advice on your brand and connection with your customers at The Best You Expo in February.
To find out more, go to thebestyouexhibition.com
Janey Lee Grace will speak in the Great Minds Seminar Room at The Best You Expo on 28 February 2016. Book your place at thebestyouexhibition.com, where you can also download The Best You Expo programme today!