Ok ladies, so I'm TOO thrilled to announce today's Artista Spotlight! I came across this artist at an open mic last year that I would frequent, where she was the host as well as a performer. Her free spirit and awesome musical abilities really engaged the audience and I'm not surprised at all to see where these awesome gifts have taken her!
How did your path in music begin?
I started playing guitar and writing at four when a family friend brought over a beat up guitar with two strings in it. My dad used to always say that I just walked over picked it up and started playing.
How would classify your musical sound and what have been some of your musical influences?
I would say my musical style is eclectic because it crosses genres. Growing up my dad used to play Bob Dylan, Jimmi Hendrix and we'd listen to Mahalia Jackson and many of the Jazz greats like charlie parker. So you'll hear some rock alternative, jazzy, folky type of songs in my music.
I remember hearing you live for the first time and you sang a song about natural hair. That song remained in my head for a long time since I was relaxed at the time and was contemplating beginning my natural journey. Do you mind sharing what influenced you to write the song and sharing some of the lyrics with our readers?
Sure. You can hear some of the song at the end of this video clip. "I'm black and I'm beautiful and I love my natural hair." My parents especially my dad was big on natural hair and loving yourself just how God made you. That always stuck with me. Though I pressed and permed (very a short period of time) my hair I never really felt like that was really me. And A lot of times when I write to a musical instrumental words just come out and those are the words that came out.
So one day I'm seeing you host open mics and play at a nearby coffee house and then I turn on BET and see you as the winner of BET's "Welcome to Dreamland" television show! Can you share with us about how that opportunity to be on the show arose and what was your experience participating in the contest?
Actually when I went on the audition I had no clue what it was for. One of my brothers called me and told me about it and urged me to go. So I did. I didn't find out until after my first audition what the show was about (you guys watching the show saw my second audition). Being on the show was a learning experience. I learned that how I sing and write and perform is me and to be confident in that. It was also very tough in that during the taping we really didn't get much rest and by the end I was extremely exhausted and hoarse. (hence learning another lesson:never go all out in rehearsal but save your voice). It was also an emotional roller coaster because I really didn't know what was going to happen from one minute to the next. Over all it was fun and I'm happy to have been blessed with that opportunity.
What has changed in your life since appearing and winning on "Welcome to Dreamland"?
Well, I think a lot more people know who I am now and more and more opportunities are presenting themselves in regards to my music career.
So we've noticed you are a FIERCE and FLY naturalista! Can you tell us a bit about your natural hair journey?
I've always been natural except for the couple of times I have pressed my hair and the one time I permed my hair for just about a month. And I think really think the reason for this is, as I mentioned before that my parents really instilled in me that I was beautiful just how God made me and I really believe that's true.
What are your 3 "must-have" products for your hair?
I'm always trying out different moisturizes for my hair so that would have to be my number one must have. A hair moisturizer that is light and smells good. My second must have would have to be a nice detangling conditioning shampoo and of course I always have to have some type of color in my hair.
What would you say to someone who is contemplating whether or not to transition to natural hair?
Give yourself a chance
Where would you like to see yourself in the next 10 years?
In the next 10 years I see myself with a few albums out, successful with my business endeavors and happily married with a couple of kids
Where can we purchase your music and what other places can we find you online?
Before I won Welcome To Dreamland I released an EP called LEAF COOL ECLECTIC you can find that on CDBABY
and ITUNES. If you do a search for the title of the EP instead of my name ("LEAF") it will take you right to it.
Recently, I released a song called "Grow" for Jasmine Lynn, the Spellman student that was killed last September while walking on Clark's campus. I recorded the song as a fundraiser for three non-profit organizations that have youth initiative programs You can find that song and more information about the fundraiser on www.leaf.bandcamp.com.
Twitter: Dreamland Queen
Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
Thanks for reading my interview and listening and supporting my music and I hope your dreams and hopes come true too!