Many artists think that sounding and looking like the current hot act or great artist of the past is the best way to musical success. But then some artists come along that knows how to appreciate and respect the talents and style of past and present musical greats, without trying to imitate or copy their style. And instead using their achievements as a measuring stick to work towards and guide them toward success. One artist that falls into the latter category is an up and coming Blues vocalist, G'Jai. Without becoming a carbon copy or imitator of any other artist, she has definitely channeled the music and style of the Blues vocalist of yesteryear while creating her own unique vocal identity. She states, "You can't look to the future without embracing your past".
Growing up in Detroit, G'Jai didn't start out to become a Blues singer. She gained her 1st taste on the stage through dance and oratorical contest. Though performing in a dance troupe and Public Speaking she learned one of the very important lessons of becoming a great entertainer, connecting with your audience. "One of the things that stuck with me from my early school days of performing in front of others was being told to always make eye contact with your audience members so that they feel as though you are performing just for them, no matter how many other people are there. I also want to make my audience feel the emotions of the piece, whether I'm conveying happiness or sadness. Drawing people into my world while singing not only helps them to get more out of the performance but it helps to bring out more and more out of me as an artist, because I feel the positive energy they are giving back." From these experiences she has learned the art of being a true performer, and the audiences seem to agree. At every show the resounding and common theme from fans is "Wow, what a great singer and entertainer".
G'Jai actually didn't find Blues it found her. "I wrote a song called Lost in this world, which in fact was originally written as a gospel. And through listening back to my recordings of that song, I found my calling for Blues. When I heard my sound it didn't sound like a voice of an R.B or even a gospel singer, what I heard was the voice of a Blues singer. I heard glimpses of Bessie Smith, Etta James, Big Mama Thornton. I knew than that Blues was my home. " Although she didn't actively pursue singing on a more professional level until years later, she at least knew where she truly belonged.
In 2009, G'Jai formed her band in Michigan, "G'JAI's JOOK JOINT Blues Band". And unbeknownst to her the power of her unique style, she gained performance opportunities and fans of all ages and demographic groups quickly. In the short time that she has been out in the blues scene, G'Jai has already been asked to perform at several great venues and important events, throughout Michigan, Illinois and now Colorado. And she has been backed by some of the same musicians that have performed with some blues greats like, ZZ Hill, Bobby Womack, and Irma Thomas. "Although I know I have a long road to travel as a new artist, I fell very blessed to have been presented some of the performance opportunities that I have, and to have been able to play with some really great musician."
She recorded a debut cd titled "I Got the Blues All Because Of You" in 2010 which provided a chance for her to pay homage to the female Blues artists that forged a way for her and other female vocalist. This c.d has received great reviews in the US and European markets. She is currently working on her 2nd c.d project "Only The Beginning" which will focus more on showing all the sides of her vocal style, from the softer side in songs like "I Love you More" to her sassier side in songs like "Shut yo flap".
G'Jai and her band are currently playing throughout Colorado and looking forward to performing at festivals and events across the US and Aboard.
G'Jai Marlene (Vocalist),
Alex Truillo (Guitarist),
Andy Snyders (Sax),
Keith Beatle (Drums/percussion),
Paul Taylor (Keyboard),
Jodie Woodward (Bass)