Janice Starodub was a star…truly, a guiding light of inspiration… and she always will be.
Manitoba’s country music community suffered a crushing loss this New Year with the passing of one of our dearest family members. The artists in her Janstar Entertainment stable (Petric, Nicole Rayy, Quinton Blair, Tyler Del Pino, Rhia Rae) really were extended family to her but Janice Starodub was a fiercely passionate champion for country music in this province (and beyond) in general. If you’ve been thrilled with the return of the Manitoba Country Music Association Awards these past three years, you have Janice and her dogged determination (in large part) to thank for the show’s resurrection.
She once told me about launching her business in spite of the sideways looks, and remarks, she got from dubious acquaintances thinking she was a “crazy cougar” with an elaborate ploy to get more face-time with her young proteges. Thank heavens she wasn’t in the habit of letting others’ misguided opinions dictate her path. She worked tirelessly on behalf of the artists she represented and never stopped pushing for better for them even when they decided to go a different way. She was a true advocate, champion, confidant and friend to her artists and, really, all who were fortunate enough to be within her circle.
All who had the pleasure of knowing and/or working with Janice appreciated her professionalism, passion, dedication and compassion. Over the past 24 hours, since learning of her passing, I’ve seen the heartfelt tributes posted on social media from colleagues and friends in the music community:
Nanci Dagg, photographer/country music writer for Canadian Beats, attributes the position she has carved out for herself to Janice and her encouragement & guidance. She writes, “How can you thank some one who saw more in me than I did in myself, who brought me into her world because she believed in my skills and my love and support for the country music industry. I got to know a whole different side to this woman who was full of tenacity, who wanted to make a difference in this industry, who treated her artists with [love] and respect and was so thrilled when she saw their improvement by taking her advice. She was so fiercely loyal to them and some of them were to her…Working on the MCMA board together threw us together in so many ways. The awards shows that took us to a new level of friendship… how do you thank some one to has taken you from crazy fan to a respected member in the country music industry? What could I give her in return? I wish I could have given her the gift of good health and more time on this earth to be a wife, mother, daughter, niece, cousin, and friend.”
Winnipeg photographer, Ian McCausland, “This is how I’ll remember Janice Starodub [photograph below] It’s an outtake from our last shoot with Nicole Rayy She’s not letting something like cancer stopping her passion for artists, for the music, for the music industry. We had a great shoot, she really was loving every minute of it, then we all went out for supper afterwards and hung out. Just a great time. As she would say [F***] Cancer…She was fiercely loyal to people like me, too. I really appreciated working with her, felt like a true collaboration… p.s. She told me to save a spot in my Fifty X 50 project, cuz she turns 50 this month. Way too young!”
Truly some of the brightest lights in her sparkling life were “her boys”, Petric, “Completely heart broken. We lost one of the founding members of Petric last night. Janice, you were everything for us, and always will be. We love you so much. Till we meet again my friend.”
Jason Petric, “One of the best ladies anyone could have ever known. Thank you for everything. Love you. Miss you.”
Tom Petric, “The kindest person I have ever known! So many great memories I’ll always have of you! Love you! “
…and, “her girl”, Nicole Rayy.
You could practically SEE her heart swell and her pride overflow whenever she spoke of their achievement or latest projects and the same can be said of the radiating love that emanates from any of the aforementioned when they speak of Janice.
It has always been right there in her name. Janice was a star and she always will be. Now she just shines from a higher place.
Keep on rockin’ in the celestial world friend… You live on in your legacies and you’ll never be forgotten. <3 ….and yeah, like you said so perfectly in this image, “F*** Cancer!”