We had the good fortune of connecting with IMANI and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi IMANI, we’d love to hear about a book that’s had an impact on you.
The alchemist is my favorite book of all time. I try to reread it every couple of years. It’s a good story that reminds me that life is a journey and things will get hard, but if I don’t give up and I believe in myself all my dreams will come to past.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My art is my therapy. When I’m confused, hurt, sad, and simply don’t know what else to do I sit down at my piano and begin to play. From there start to freestyle. After I’m done I go back and listen and fill in the blanks of what My heart was trying to say.
I am the most proud of my latest music video “MAYBE”. I came up with the treatment for the video and co directed along side my co-director Min Soo Park. My music videos are more like short films. Collectively, this last year we’ve all suffered some sort of loss. We are all grieving something whether it be a loss by death, breaking up with a lover, ending a friendships, or losing a job. I wanted to use the music video “MAYBE” to begin to unpack the pain from the loss we are all experiencing.
Getting to where I am was not easy at all. I’ve been working towards this for several years but I wasn’t getting anywhere because I was in my own way. There’s an African proverb that says “If there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm .” My big break came through me going to therapy. I use to be in my head about EVERYTHING ! Now, I have so much awareness about myself and because of that I don’t let my fear of rejection or failure stop me from releasing and sharing my art.
I want the world to know about my art is it’s a direct reflection of me. I use to be embarrassed to be so vulnerable and share my feelings but a good friend, Joowon told once that “when we share our pain our pain decreases and when we share our joy our joy increases”.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
There was a black owned business called “Dorian’s Creole Soul” I use to go to all the time but it’s not open anymore I loved that place . I would go every Sunday with my cousin and it reminded me of being back home in Louisiana.
I would take them for a walk at Houston Memorial Park we would talk and catch up.
Lastly, I would bring them to the open mic jam session Avant Garden. They’d have a chance to see me perform live and we would chill talk and watch everyone else play for the remainder of the night.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My Southern University A&M college professor Jacqueline Green. When I went to my weekly voice lessons it wasn’t just about voice It was so much more. I remember going to a lesson one day feeling so broken, hurt,and depressed. I was feeling very suicidal at the time and she recognized that something was wrong. She begin to play piano and sing in the spirit and I begin to cry. Then that heavy unbearable weight lifted off of me. She showed me how to keep that energy away from me. She showed me the power of healing through music.
She always reminded me to keep God first. She told me that God could accelerate my musical growth supernaturally and HE DID. Her belief in me carried me so far and was one of the only things that kept me sane in school when I use to feel so inadequate, untalented, and unsure .