Name: Jimetta Rose & The Voices of Creation
Members: Jimetta Rose (Director), Jack Maeby (Music Director, Organ), Quran Shaheed (Piano), Allakoi Peete (Percussion), Gaby Hernandez (Soprano), Andree Belle (Soprano), Cassandra Hawkins (Soprano) Roz Kumari (Soprano), Novena Carmel (Alto), Tamara Blue (Alto), Khalila Gardner (Alto), Kellye Hawkins (Tenor), Zavier Wise (Tenor/Baritone), Yohance Wright (Bass), Fred McNeil (Baritone), Samir Moulay (Tenor/Baritone)
Interviewee: Jimetta Rose
Occupation: Singer, songwriter, conductor
Recent release: Jimetta Rose & The Voices of Creation's How Good It Is is out August 12th 2022 via Day Dreamer.
Recommendations: Anything by Toni Morrison. She’s my favorite author; "Embraceable You" - Miles Davis / Charlie Parker (take1)
If you enjoyed this interview with Jimetta Rose & The Voices of Creation and would like to find out more about Jimetta's work, visit her official website. She is also on Instagram, Facebook, and twitter.
When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
I’ve been writing music since I was a child. Making up songs, dances, and stories for church plays or for my dolls and I to act out under the monkey bars of the slide in my backyard.
I didn’t find music, it found me. I came here with a song. My mother used to say I was singing right out the womb. I’ve always really had a passion for expressing myself and growing up in church gave me principles that I adhere to and apply to the music I make. But it also provided me an open vulnerability and desire to stretch myself and be led by my spirit and the cosmic forces around me that are beyond my comprehension to be of service.
When I listen to music, I see shapes, objects and colours. What happens in your body when you’re listening and how does it influence your approach to creativity?
Music is all. To me, everything is singing and I am constantly listening. I write, read, clean my house, do my laundry to the sound of music either in my mind or on the radio. I am so grateful for sound. Music is a universal way to translate feelings and experience.
The language of sound is not limited to a certain region of the world or a certain people. Sound is for everyone, even those without hearing can still feel the vibrations.
This is why music was the perfect medium for me to use when wanting to deliver messages of hope, love, peace, unity; what better way to commune with the masses than sound?
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
I think keeping my ear open for the sounds and songs that made my heart happy is how I navigated growth. I remember being in a revival at church and beginning to sing like a trumpet as the other people shouted and praised in the spirit; I’d recently found Ella Fitgerald’s music and got so giddy hearing her scat that there I was trying it out at church.
I always said if I didn't have something to say that I probably wouldn’t have even been a singer. So I think feeling a sense of purpose in using my voice gave me an inner compass for the arduous journey to my own artistic self definition.
Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.
I am a spirit in a body having a journey of breaths. This body of mine is female, I am a woman. This body of mine is black, I am an anomaly. Not meant to survive, not meant to be heard; yet here I am with you asking me to tell you about my identity. I am grateful to be witnessing God within me and in every person I meet.
As a listener and a creative I desire the same things: to feel and be felt, to listen and to be heard. I desire to be nourished and to nourish. I want to party with the masses and still I want to pray alone. I want more people to think of prayer in their day to day lives and live with their divine self at the forefront of their minds.
I am an anchor for more love, more God, more divine feminine energy on the planet. It is an honor to be here.
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
Freedom. Audacity. Innovation. Beauty. Joy . For All.
How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?
Originality and innovation often are the product of repetition and practice. For years a musician will practice in search of mastery and dexterity; until the person makes what at first may be called a mistake (but with practice this can instead be called a risk) and explores it.
This is where I find myself now; shaped, molded, inspired by the past and the legacy makers that came before me still reaching for tomorrow, willing to explore what I find out there and inside me.
Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?
Sound, language, gratitude, and joy are the tools I use to create. Using my body, my life, to synthesize these experiences into sounds - something to be heard and shared by many. The possibilities are endless.
Imagination is only as wide or deep as you can perceive, so why put limits on what cannot be quantified?
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
I wake up early. I pray, meditate and journal upon rising, then water my plants and play jazz for them. My morning workout is next, I go on a 2 mile walk. Finally it's coffee time.
After this my day would usually flow into my work day as a receptionist, but recently I've taken some time off - to focus on music primarily and get ready for the Voices of Creation album release in August 2022. So now this is where the day gets free and I either have writing sessions, rehearsals, or errands to run.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that’s particularly dear to you, please?
To prepare to begin the choir, my partner Jack Maeby and I would meet once a week to record demos that we would use as teaching tools for potential members. I was stacking vocal parts and creating musical arrangements with Jack weekly at his house. Shout out to his lovely wife Carol.
After 2 months we had 6 songs complete and were ready to begin official auditions/rehearsals. Initially the group met twice a week on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Rehearsals began in April 2019 and we had our debut performance in July of 2019 in Leimert Park, California.
I had no idea that this project would turn into what it is today but trusting the vision and not being afraid to learn as I went along helped me turn a whimsical notion into a choir that today, sings to heal ourselves and others.
Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?
Solitary and communal listening are both important in my life, as is collaboration.
I enjoy listening to music alone because I can dive into a song and listen to it over and over if I love it. Solitary listening allows me to explore sounds and ways to emote. How has the human voice been used? What do I find magical about that melody? What is it that lingers?
Creating music alone in your head and conceiving an idea is awesome. Once again the word exploration comes to mind but now instead of just sound we are exploring concepts. What is to be conveyed? What will linger? The melodies and ideas that linger are the ones I tend to share with potential collaborators and those expand into a life of their own with the combined energies of all involved.
The choir demos had just my voice singing all the parts and it was clean but the magic happened when I finally heard the members of the choir sing the songs. The magic happens when collaboration makes room for communion and community.
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?
We live in a time where fear, chaos, division and anarchy are on display all around the world. I am making this music in hopes to share another perspective, the contrast if you will. Love, joy, peace, and unity are the principles I believe in and what I want to see and create more of. This world needs that, hope without cynicism. Music is a tool; a great way to program ourselves to frequencies we want to experience.
What is music’s role in society … in my opinion to pose the question minimizes the subject. What would we be without music? What if the flowers had no tone? The ocean’s wave silent? You without a voice, to speak, sing, and create your reality?
Music is the sound of everything happening, the whole of creation all at once.
Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?
Music has been my rock. Music was there for my greatest losses and has been the reason for my greatest accomplishments. Songs have hidden in their layers the balm of just what people need in times of grief or happy nostalgia.
We all have to live this life and having songs to tune our own inner frequencies to and with are another way music can be a healing tool in this ever changing sea of emotion that is a lifetime.
How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?
I think science will one day reveal that everything is singing and that there - in the cacophonous display of what was at first heard as only chaos - is a harmony that exists and insists behind it all. Urging us along with each beat of our heart.
Yes, science is a field that will always try to listen to the rhythm of life in hopes of figuring out the secret behind it all by eavesdropping.
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee?
Life is art and art is what you make it. I think the mundane everyday can be rich and artful just the same as when one is painting, singing, dancing. Investing time in exploring my imagination required me to handle the mundane tasks of keeping bills paid and rent covered to allow me the space to breathe and feel what next I wanted to create.
Music is vibration in the air, captured by our ear drums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it is able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?
Music is in us all. Every note that can be played, the ones we named and the ones we didn’t. All that music inside and all around it’s not a wonder to me that music would be a key to unlock ourselves individually and collectively.