Thursday, August 24, 2017

Artist Spotlight - Isaiah Jamel

"I am an Alternative Christian/Inspirational Singer/Songwriter. I have strong musical influences from traditional Gospel, Jazz, Pop and Contemporary Christian Music. I'm originally from Wewoka, Oklahoma but was raised primarily in Bellport, Long Island. I also lived in Boston, MA for a while.
I’ve been around music my whole life. As a musician and singer in the church I learned by ear until I was able to afford lessons on my own. I’m grateful for that because it really developed my ear. I released my first album in 2012 entitled “Ready To Win” with an amazing group of singers “ANuPeople.” And just recently released my sophomore EP "Transparency Pt 1." I’m currently gearing up for my live recording on October 13th, 2017 where I’ll be recording Transparency Pt.2."

1.) What made you want to get into the music business in the first place? Did anyone influence you to do music? If so, who? Influences? Role Models?

Wow, I grew up around music. I remember my grandmother would sing old gospel songs with such an energy that moved a room. My mother as well sang people under the pews. I grew up as a church drummer, organist and choir director. Music was all around me. I was fascinated by it’s reach and how it moved people. How it moved Me. I felt free in music. I wasn’t the popular guy. I wasn’t even accepted by my peers so I spent a lot of time alone. Music was my outlet. I grew up listening to the likes of The Winans, Kirk Franklin, Charlie Parker and more. They really influenced my drive because I wanted to be like them. They were trend setters in their own right. Their music is timeless and fitting for every generation, genre, dialect and creed! That’s always what I wanted to do. I wanted to help touch a nation in any way I could. Music gave me that opportunity.

2.) Unfortunately the music industry is full of talented individuals who just don't get any recognition for their talent and/or work. What do you plan to do to make sure you stand out and get noticed? 

That is very true. I think consistency is key. And the biggest thing is not losing site of who you are and staying true to that. People respect originality. We sometimes try to speed up the process by trying to emulate someone else whose “made it” it often times doesn’t work. Anyone who has accomplished longevity to their artistry has done so by finding their lane and and being OK with it. It doesn’t hurt to be the absolute best as well. Have to practice hard and have a vigor for success that is unmatched. Me, I’m just willing to work harder than everyone else. That means days on little to no sleep. Countless hours polishing my craft. Studying my craft and finding new ways to reach and engage my fanbase cause at the end of the day we’re nothing without them!

3.) Would you rather be on a major label or would you rather stay independent? Why or why not?

That’s an interesting question. There are pros and cons to everything. I’d be naive to say it wouldn’t be a great feeling to have the affirmation of a major label interested in taking me to the “tars” so to speak. But then at the same time, I also have a very strong belief in myself that I’ll get to the stars no matter what. I’ve been denied before. Plenty of times. It hasn’t stopped me. So if that opportunity presents itself, great. If it doesn’t, that’s great too. 

4.) Do you think that the traditional music industry model as we know it is dead? Why or why not?

I don’t believe it’s dead. I believe it just has to evolve with the times. Technological advances lead to more options and an evolved state of mind and perspective. Music in its beauty is only beautiful because it’s steadily evolving. Everything else has to evolve too.

5.) How do you think the internet and social media affected the music industry and how musicians are able to market themselves?

The internet and social media basically evened the playing ground. 10 years ago, it was an absolute necessity to be signed to a major label to have the opportunity at success. Now, the use of online radio, information sharing, the ability to reach hundreds of thousands of people all at once put the control back in the hands of the artist and made it affordable. Who would have ever thought a site like YouTube would redefine the music industry to it’s core? Also the ability to distribute without a traditional record deal was huge. For indie artists it was the breakthrough needed to showcase the talent and gifts that weren’t being found. Music is better for it. 

6.) What is the most difficult thing you've had to endure in life and has that had any effect on your path to becoming a musician?

This used to be hard to admit. I suffered from depression and anxiety for a few years. I was extremely insecure and paranoid. Didn’t think anyone liked me or wanted to be around me. It was a secret feeling I harbored for years. It carried into my music as well. My stage fright was out of this world. I wouldn’t open my eyes cause I didn’t want to see if people didn’t like what I was doing. I was really bound and chained in my mind. It's a very difficult place to be in. It took a lot of prayer and me wanting to not feel like that anymore. I didn’t want to go about life in fear. Success or failure, I had to own it. Going through that taught what it meant to truly be honest about what’s happening in life and that there’s literally nothing new under the sun. So many people suffer from these thoughts and conditions everyday and most times we have no idea. I believe God uses my experiences to help those who are still trying to work their way through. I can speak honestly about it. When I wrote Refugee it was me telling fear, anxiety and doubt that it could no longer reside in me. I let so many opportunities pass me by all because I was scared. I’m grateful for the trials because it has equipped me to be who I am today. Music is my Testimony and me letting everyone know it’s OK to not be perfect. You're not alone in the trial your facing. So it has effected it in which it allowed me to learn how to be true to myself and my music.

7.) Artists who try to make music for the general public and make more money are usually seen as "sell-outs." Do you see it that way and if so, what do plan to do to make sure you make music that is true to your brand and make a good living at the same time without having to "sell out"?
I am a Christian Artist so I have to speak from that context. In the Christian music world, most notably the Gospel world, switching over to the “Secular” side for presumably better market potential is considered selling out. However, the one thing we often take advantage of is that artists are people with real lives, real obligations, real goals, families, etc. It’s unfair to judge a person because they decided, in their own thought process, that they wanted to try something different and/or evolve themselves. Just because you become a recording artist or someone whose name has merit, doesn’t erase the God-given ability to choose your own path. Staying true to yourself, the vision and gifts God’s given you comes before the affirmation of others. My purpose in music is to share my story honestly and transparently with the intention of motivating, inspiring and helping my listeners. Whether I do that on the Christian side or the secular I’ve fulfilled my purpose. Music is a universal language. My song Show Me speaks to this type of situation. I’m not selling out. I’m with a clear conscience finally living up to my potential!

8.) When you do music, what would you like your listeners to get out of your music?
Great question! I want my listeners to have an experience of freedom. There should be an ease to their psyche. A sense that at the end of the day, everything is going to be alright. My music is honest so they should see themselves and be able to relate some part of their situation to the music. So in essence they would be comforted by it. Christian music should be music that everyone can find something that inspires and helps them. I want my music to do the same. 

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