What inspired you to make this song?
I was approached by Tara Nordstrom who needed vocals for the song “Black Jack”. I am a storyteller, and I have roots in Africa from the times of the slave trade. Because of the manner in which Africans were brought to the United States and made to be slaves, I don’t know exactly where my own roots lie, but “Black Jack” is a great story!! The stories of the slaves, and those who survived to be emancipated, are very important to me. It is a part of my cultural history and I believe that those people’s bravery and their trials can not be forgotten. Although times are different now, my ancestors’ stories hold importance today, and I am happy to help tell their stories.
What’s your favorite song you have ever made?
My favorite song that I’ve ever made has to be a pop song I sang called “Skinny Dip”. It was written by Alan Haige and Kevin Starks. Their songwriting and their production is so spot on that I just love it, love it, love it! It’s so jammy that when I hear it, I can’t help but put my boogie shoes on EVERY TIME. That’s major, because usually, when I listen back to work I’ve done, I’m busy critiquing it instead of enjoying it fully.
What song are you most proud of that you have made?
I’ve sung vocals for around a thousand songs. Many of them are so awesome that I can hardly believe I was honored with the privilege to sing them. I am most proud of one song, though. It is a song that I wrote for my son, Rameses, when he was only 1. All of my promises, and hopes for his well being are in there. I spent a lot of love, thought, and effort on that song, and I hope it can help him as he develops as a human being in this amazing world. Technically, it’s not much to blink at, but the message and sincerity are solid.
Why did you choose this song to make a music video for?
I was honored to be asked to perform in the “Black Jack” video. I think I was hired to basically play the role of Narrator, but coming from a musical theatre background, I came dressed in the time period so I could help tell the story with as much authenticity as possible. When I arrived at the shoot, I felt like I had stepped right into Jack’s world.
What’s next for you after this video?
I keep singing! I provide my voice to help clients tell their stories through song. If they need videos to go with their songs, I do that too… And in the rest of my life, I love my husband, and raise my two lovely kiddos.
Where do you see your career in the next 5 years?
That’s an awesome question that I haven’t asked myself recently… In 5 years, I will have a new album’s worth of songs released, I will have sung vocals for hundreds more songs, I will have found a way to give back to an important cause in an impactful way, and I will have done voice-over work for an animated movie or series.
Who have been your biggest influences to your music?
Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Nancy Wilson, Amel Larrieux, Aretha Franklin… Those are the big heavies in my vocal inspiration kit.
When did you realize you wanted to make music your career?
I was a freshman in college at UC San Diego. My major was Occupational Therapy – because I could probably be good at it, and I had been advised that it was a wise career choice. I was crying to my boyfriend (now husband) that I missed performing and musical theatre. He simply, and clearly advised me that I needed to change my major to something that I really wanted for my own long-term happiness. He was right. The rest is history.
Do you have any advice to young artists that are just getting started?
Study your craft and become great at it. Be generous with your gift, be honest, vulnerable, humble, and be sharp. Oh, and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. That’s definitely key.
Would you do anything different if you could go back in your career?
I would have studied more music theory, early on. I’m doing that now, trying to keep up with my kids who are learning piano like sponges. I would be a lot faster at completing some ideas that I have inspiration for – if I had a deeper musical theory education under my belt.