Early life and career
Janita Maria was born December 28, 1978 in Helsinki, Finland. She learned to sing before she could talk, and began playing electric piano at age three. She started writing her own songs on piano at age four, and often performed and danced with the encouragement of family and her mother. While she was never formally trained in singing, she seriously studied both classical piano and ballet. She was exposed to diverse music at a young age, often singing along to soul music, hip hop, and R&B.
At age 13 she met her long-term songwriting partner and musical collaborator Tomi Ervi (aka Tomi Sachary). She began recording and performing pop vocals with Ervi. Janita signed to the label Reel Art at age 13, who released her first single, "Jos Jäät", in 1992. Her full debut album, Oma Planeetta, followed in 1993. A second album, Sävyjä, was released in 1994 on Reel Art.
As a teenager she soon broke into the mainstream in Finland, and became a fixture on radio, television, and on the touring and commercial circuits. According to The Daily Telegraph, as a teenager she was "Finland's biggest popstar". She also won two Finnish Emma Awards. Her third album, Believer, was released on Dig It Records in 1997, peaking at number fourteen on the Finnish Albums Chart. Dig It also released her single "Ready or Not" around that time.