"Who's Hot?" Interview
By: Omar Cook
This week's "Who's Hot?" Artist of the week is west coast R&B singer Jhamasa! Jhamasa Noel Lewis-Adams is originally from Orange, California but moved around as a youth, and spent most of her childhood in Los Angeles, California. She has a biological and adopted family, mentors, and friends who have become family. Jhamasa was a student of Black Eyed Pea's and Peace4Kids Peapod Music and Arts academy located at the Boys and Girls Club in Watts, CA. She graduated from Jackson State University in 2013, receiving her B.A. in Entrepreneurship with a minor in photography and mandarin. During college she also studied abroad and explored new art mediums.
She eventually moved back to California with a goal of financial and personal independence. She earned a certificate in fashion design at LA Trade Tech while building a career in the non-profit industry. During the past five years, Jhamasa has put focus into the community in health and nutrition, financial literacy, progressive education, and professional development post college.
In 2014 she released a mixtape Retro Love Arcade with Corinthian Washington and in 2016, she put out an independent EP, titled 24K. On this project she talks about her experience in the foster care system. In April of 2018, Jhamasa hosted an independent art show focusing on sexual trauma foster youth face through art therapy. In addition, she released a single off of her debut project 11:11. In her free time she volunteers and advocates for educational and civil rights for foster youth.
This singer brings a soulful vibe to her music and is definitely someone you want to add to your playlist! Jhamasa has an authentic sound that makes you feel good about the future of R&B.
We talked with Jhamasa in an exclusive interview, check it out below!
QUESTION: How long have you been making music and how did you get started?
Jhamasa: I have been making music since 16. I was first inspired at 6.
QUESTION: Musically, who has been your biggest influence in helping you along your journey and who are your favorite musicians?
Jhamasa: My biggest influences have been projects that are painfully authentic. To list a few: Lauryn Hill MTV Unplugged, Alicia Keys As I Am, Ambre Perkins Wanderlust, Gucci Mane Chicken Talk, Erykah Badu Baduizm, Bjork Human Behaviour, Sade Love Deluxe.
QUESTION: What artists would you like to collaborate with and why?
Jhamasa: I think the people I’m aligned to collaborate with aren’t known artist. I don’t even think I have met them yet or are aware of their physical presence.
QUESTION: What do you feel is your best song/project ever released and why?
Jhamasa: The one I’m working on currently. Nothing is better than the present.
QUESTION: What projects can we look forward to in the near future?
Jhamasa: Neon Soul produced by Aqeel The Nubian
QUESTION: How do you generate new ideas for your music?
Jhamasa: I generate new ideas by continuously moving forward in my personal life. Creativity is directly associated with ability to leave your comfort zone.
QUESTION: What motivates you and how do you define success?
Jhamasa: Life motivates me. The idea that we get to try again every day is inspiring. I define success by what you have to do to reach a goal and how one chooses to do so.
QUESTION: How do you describe your music to people?
Jhamasa: Spiritual, and raw.
QUESTION: Do you believe there is a formula to being a successful artist?
Jhamasa: You have to be yourself. That is the job.
QUESTION: Who is your greatest inspiration?
Jhamasa: My ancestors.
QUESTION: In your opinion who is the most influential and successful artist in your genre today and why?
Jhamasa: Chance The Rapper, because he is socially conscious and a forward thinker through his personal life and career.
QUESTION: Which emotion more than any other, currently dominates your music? Joy, sadness, anger or passion etc., and why?
Jhamasa: Love, because it always wins and is the source for all that I do.
QUESTION: What sacrifices have you had to make, to make your dream a reality?
Jhamasa: I’ve made many financial sacrifices as well as personal sacrifices to live my truth.
QUESTION: What aspect of the music making process excites you most, and what aspect discourages you the most?
Jhamasa: What excites me most about making music is collaborating and relating emotionally to others. The most discouraging part is perfecting the recording process and trusting that it will come out as intended.
QUESTION: Where do you see yourself and your music in 10 years?
Jhamasa: In 10 years I see myself more independently built, perhaps with my own record label and a consistent workload that relates to the creation of music. I also want to start producing my own sound.
QUESTION: What advice would you give to other up and coming artists or people looking to break into the music industry?
Jhamasa: Become self sufficient. Don’t be afraid to get burned. Creativity is not masculine, you can’t force it, its feminine, you have to endure, you have to let it flow.
QUESTION: Is there anything else you would like people to know about you or your music?
Jhamasa: I am an advocate for foster youth, and if God willing I make it, I hope to help others reach their potential in music as well.