Friday, 4 December 2015

FIVE MINUTES WITH: Reigning Rising Stars champ Jody-K James talks life in the spotlight and plans for her future

GOLDEN NOTES: "I’m very much a reserved person," admits the 22-year-old songstress, known for her big voice.

A song like “Feeling Good” is a perfect fit for singers who possess that dynamic and expressive vocal range that gives you goosebumps. Count Jody-K James among them. The talented songbird, schoolteacher and 2015 Rising Stars winner made light work of the big tune as she thrilled the massive crowd that gathered inside Downtown Kingston’s St. William Grant Park for Wednesday’s KSAC Christmas Tree Lighting and Concert, sharing the bill with Kevin Downswell, Etana, Half Pint and Romain Virgo, among others. Given her awesome talent and on-stage presence, we can’t wait to see what a solo career will yield for the 22-year-old Merle Grove High and UWI Mona graduate in the years to come. Here, the up-and-comer chats with TALLAWAH about her fans, starting a family and finding inspiration.

TALLAWAH: How has life changed for you since being crowned the 2015 winner of Digicel Rising Stars?
Jody-K: There has definitely been a drastic change in terms of how people react to me. People expect you to be approachable and professional at all times. I don’t have any privacy any more (Laughs). Everybody knows me. But it’s been a life-changing experience. So far, so good.

TALLAWAH: So who is Jody-K away from the public spotlight?
Jody-K: I’m very much a reserved person. I don’t speak a lot. But I like to be observant. And I read a lot.

TALLAWAH: People talk a lot about your incredible vocal range and how well you use your singing voice. How do you take care of your instrument?
Jody-K: To be honest, I don’t take care of my voice as well as I should, but there are certain things I will not eat or drink close to a performance. Practice makes perfect, and that’s very important for me, so I do a lot of warm-ups, especially before a show.

TALLAWAH: Who is your biggest musical influence?
Jody-K: I have a certain respect for Jennifer Hudson. Her voice is electric and I try to capture that same kind of big, volcanic sound in my performance. Over the years I’ve tried to expand my vocal range, and when Jennifer came on the scene, she was just so different from all the other singers. I wouldn’t say I tried to sound like her, but she is definitely an inspiration.

TALLAWAH: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received since embarking on your solo career? 
Jody-K: Never let the hype get to you. Put God first at all times. I’ve never been a boastful person, and reaching this far I pressure myself to stay humble.

TALLAWAH: The holiday season is upon us already! What do you really want for Christmas this year? 
Jody-K: I’m not a gifts person. What I want is for my family to be in good health. Christmas for me is about love and family.

TALLAWAH: What can Jamaican fans expect from you in five years’ time?
Jody-K: In five years’ time, I hope to be an established artiste locally and outside of Jamaica. I’m hoping to start a family. But music will be my full-time career. I want to become a household name.

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