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Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Each one of you has something no one else has, or has ever had: your fingerprints, your brain, your heart. Be an individual. Be unique. Stand out. Make noise. Make someone notice. That's the power of individuals.
-Jon Bon Jovi

Uncategorized, what happens when you can't put a label on ones talent? You get Joella, A gifted song writer with substance and a college graduate with bachelor degrees under her belt. You also get a dancer with many years of training and an actor who's simply a force to be reckoned with. She's breaking the mold and maknig everyone embrace music in a different way.

Music doesn't always have to look or sound a certain way. Dare to be different, dare to take a chance, dare you to check out Joella.

[As Told To Why Blue Matters]

So tell me a little bit about yourself:

Well I just recently graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. I have my Bachelors in English and one in Creative Writing (which is like our school equivalent for Journalism) So now I'm completely focused on my career, which is my music. But besides singing, I love dancing, writing (short stories, literary journalism, poems, screenplays), and from time to time i get back to practicing the piano, which I played for about 8 years.

What can you most attribute your musical ability to?

I would attribute it to the fact that my mother put me in music so early in my life. At the age of 3 I was playing the violin. (Yes 3)And then by the age of about 8 or 9 I started playing the piano. Sometime in between then I was enrolled in drama classes, dance classes (tap, ballet, modern, jazz, african, hip hop) and was in a choir at church and one at my music school. I've received scholarships from the NJPAC in Newark to pursue these instruments, so they essentially paid or partially paid for my lessons.

What's your genre of music?

I don't really want to put myself in a genre just because I love all types but I guess pop and r&b would most closely sum it up.

What do you like most about being a singer/songwriter?

It's the best thing in the world to be able to connect to people using your words. I remember the first time I put up A Kiss on myspace and this girl in like Florida loved it so much she put it on her page! I didn't know her from a can of paint, but to know that I had that affect on her just using things that I love, my voice and my words, it just really made me feel like wow, this is something you really need to pursue. This is something you really need to do because if you can touch someone like 8 states away, theres clearly alot more instore. When people can relate to what you have to say, it also is a sign that its ok to be you, because other people are experiencing similar experiences. And who wouldn't want to make others happy just by being themself?

What's the thought process behind your works?

As an English and Creative Writing Major, I think I try to keep the craft of writing substance in my songs and lyrics. I have another song called Empty Cup which is a mixtape track, and it's basically a metaphor for the way that I feel. I think it's important to keep that in music because that's what sets aside the pros from the.... well you know. I just think that there's a reason some people can write and some people can't. But lately, companies are so concerned with what sells, my dog can probably send something in that has hot production and they would give it to someone like Rihanna [no shots] and sell it, and its sad. It's sad we're getting away from the ART of music and the ART of words and literary elements like puns, metaphors, oxymorons, alliteration, allusions, and I can go on, just so that we have music thats "easier" for people to remember. (I.E. repeating one line hooks) We've got to get back to this art that people like Smokey Robinson have mastered, and put the art back in recording artist. So with my own work, I try to incorporate these elements.

I also write from the heart. If I feel myself trying to write to a track because it sounds sad or whatever, but I'm not feeling that way, I immediately stop myself and say, this is for another day. The one thing I've learned is that you cannot write what you do not know. You just can't. It's not real. You can't reference material or experiences and thus draw from it, if it never happened! No one will get it, and they will know that it was not real. All you have in this world is your body and your word. Everything else can be taken away instantly. So if you are writing tracks that are not coming from you, then what are you doing? So I try to make sure every song written is genuine and comes from me and is a result of my experiences, because I've found that although we are all different, love and life are two universal themes that we all experience at some time or another.

I'm not that much of an open person and I think I get that from my mom. But I do use my songs to express how I feel. So someone (like an ex or even a boyfriend) may not know directly how I feel, but if they listen to a song, they would definitely know because I pour my heart out in my songs. I'm more comfortable venting in my songs because although people will hear it and essentially know how I feel, its somewhat of a secret outlet for me because I'm not directly saying it to that person.

What inspires and motivates you?

Everything and everyone. Good people, bad people, friends, enemies, etc. Just recently I came out of a relationship where it's clear that we still love each other, or atleast I think so lol. But some things that were said about me and to me were pretty hurtful and also pretty eye opening in the sense that it seemed they didn't really know me after all, and that there were some things I still needed to work on. These are the types of things that inspire me because I use that fuel to possibly write a song, or even to work harder towards achieving my goal with my career. And I just keep working and never look back because I want to show them "look, look how far I've come as a person and as an artist. You thought I was this or that, but I'm now showing you my capabilities and now you cannot deny that I am growing and conquering everything that I set out to." So I take any and every experience, whether positive or negative to motivate me. I have alot to prove. And I'm going to do it/am in the process of doing it.

How long have you been involved in music?

Since I was 3 basically.

What type of impact would you like to leave with your music?

I want people to listen to my music and be like wow, that was one unique artist. That's important to me because there's so many artists out that resemble or sound like another artist. Music should be more comfortable with embracing difference, but due to monetary reasons, try to stick to what they think will sell. I have an alto voice, I have dreads, I sing pop/ R&B (not soul or neo soul lol) That in and of itself is something that's different. (That's not to say companies should sign people who are different just for different's sake lol) What I'm saying is music comes in all styles, expressions, looks, etc. And who is to say that pop looks like beyonce or rihanna? It can look anyway you want it to. And I want people to look at me and my music and know that it is ok to be different. To stand out from the crowd in what you say, and how you look (if that's how you already are). I want people to listen to my music and say "She never tried to dumb it down, and we can still relate." Because again, that means they appreciate me as an artist, but more importantly, as a person. And no one can respect a person they don't really know.

Any future projects?

Right now I'm working on a couple of tracks, still trying to make the right connections though and get back in the studio. I will be featured on some radio shows and websites soon so stay tuned for that information. But other than that I'm just trying to get more people to just hear me and what I have to say.

Any advice for those looking to pursue their musical endeavours?
-for vocalists?
-for lyricists?

My advice is this. If you are really really really passionate about something whether it be music, art, design, marketing, etc. you will do whatever you have to (while remaining classy and respectable to get it done). Now people complain and say they don't have opportunities, but in the real world, you have to essentially put yourself in a position so that a. opportunities can arise, and b, when they do, you are prepared to take advantage of them.

Now I know this is easier said than done but let me give you this example. As a college student I had hardly any money. I was paying bills and getting gas in my tank to get to school. So i barely had any money to pay for tracks or studio time. However, I put myself in a position with producer friends who were willing to just give me tracks to work on, free studio time, etc. Because of that, I now I have tracks to show people whether or not I can get more in the future. Then I made sure to look for venues to perform so that people could hear my voice etc. And from there I made a lot of contacts who wanted to help me with my music.
These are the things you have to do. You have to utilize all reasources possible if you are really passionate about something. You have to know what it means to really fight for something when you have basically nothing, because the opportunities will come. You just have to be prepared for them.

(With that said, also remember to never burn bridges. From experience this has sometimes hurt me, but I realized that was not helpful for my career-- and when you meet new people who can help your career, don't be so aggressive. They probably listen to (crappy) music all day long. Let them get to know you and let them ask YOU about your music. TRUST

I also want to say, if it is your passion, be prepared for it not to happen over night. It could take 3 years. But if you love it enough, 3 years will seem like 3 days and it will be worth all the sacrifices you made. At the end of the day, no one is going to put anything in your lap. And if you cannot show that you are willing to be a go getter, you'll never get anything. (But that's something you learn from experience) But the most important thing, is that you have to LOVE what you do. If you don't do that, or can't do that, you shouldn't be doing it.

For More On Joella:


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