Imaj is “Colorblind”
Fans everywhere call IMAJ their “Country Darling” a multi-talented Country singer-songwriter and humanitarian. Born in Miami Beach, FL to a model mother and actor father, 80’s TV icon Philip Michael Thomas (Tubbs of Miami Vice), IMAJ carries on her stylish roots by arriving to every show bedazzled in traditional Country fashion - with warm hugs for everyone and a pure voice that touches the spirit. Her vocal style is a cross between traditional, folk and pop Country with a special place in her heart for legends like Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash.
IMAJ's goal is to spread world peace through music. She does just that by serenading you with her original Billboard hits, getting the whole audience to sing along while covering music legends live and with her latest endeavor "Colorblind", a recently released music video for world peace that just went viral, reaching over 2.6 Million+ views. There’s a reason why IMAJ was labeled “The One To Watch” and “The New face of Country” by CMA Close-up Magazine and QueenLatifah.com Whether she's performing a cappella (national anthem), in an arena alongside multi-platinum country artists such as LeAnn Rimes or Collin Raye, acoustically or with a full band at festivals, you name it, this American Sweetheart thrills audiences nationwide with love and with style.
IMAJ took a moment to sit down with Soul and Salsa’s Kim Harris for an in-depth interview.
If you could describe who you are in 3 adjectives; what would they be?
Creative. Passionate. Empathetic
What inspires you?
Inspiration is like the wind. You can't see it coming but you can feel it when it's there. There are so many things that create inspiration in me. Life, love, different facets of art whether it be various genres of music, fashion or history.
How often do you write and how many songs would you say you have written?
I find myself writing every day. It's not always music. Oftentimes I write about the way I may perceive the world in that moment. I've written a lot.
What instrument do you play? When did you learn to play it?
I play guitar. My father surrounded us with every instrument you can think of, grand pianos, drums, electric and acoustic guitars. He showed me how to strum my first guitar. When it came to songwriting, I always had the words. But a few years ago I actually got serious about writing the music and initially taught myself just enough to be able to write my chords, etc., but ultimately became proficient enough to really enjoy playing during my performances.
What brings you joy?
Food. Seeing my family happy. A good movie in an empty theatre. My baby girl (yorkie) Ever Hart. There’s joy everywhere in life you just have to be open to seeing it.
Your mom has supported you tremendously in your career; how important is it to have a good support system in this industry?
Your support system is absolutely vital in life. This industry is simply a branch of that. Your support system is your foundation. When your foundation is solid, there's no dream that’s too high to reach.
Did you take Music and/or Artistic classes in school? Did you know that those programs are getting cut at some schools? Have you ever participated in VH1 Save the Music Foundation events?
I did take Advance Placement visual art classes in school and, as a result, my self-portrait, "Bruce Lee" was displayed at the Dallas Museum of Art. I do know about art classes being cut from school. It's unfortunate given the fact that creativity is what fuels the evolution of our race. Without music and art we are cutting our children out of a vital outlet that they need to express themselves. Though I am a CMA member, which is an organization dedicated to extending the reach of Country Music around the world, I've yet to participate in VH1's Save the Music Foundation and look forward to taking part someday.
You can sing in 6 different languages and several genres; what made you follow the path of Country Music?
Country music has always come most natural to me. It's what I love. It's my heart and soul.
You talk often about World Peace; do you think that World Peace will ever happen?
I believe peace is truly our destiny as human beings. Every generation brings with it a more awakened perspective of our purpose for living. We are always getting closer and closer to the truth. Our purpose is to love. If you take a moment to truly look at our history, we can only live in conflict so long before a loving seed is planted by someone in the midst of that turmoil. Like a flower that blooms from rock, I know that we will persevere. Ironically, the only thing stopping us is ourselves.
The Song Colorblind is a very powerful song; what message do you want the audience to leave with after hearing that song?
Thank you. We just hit over 3.2 Million views on Facebook for the "Colorblind" music video. It's the first single from my new album "America's Sweetheart." It was originally written and co-written by my dear friends, platinum country songwriter Ron Grimes, The Voice of Holland finalist, Jennifer Lynn, and myself. The message I want others to understand is that our (millennials) perspective of being "colorblind" has nothing to do with ignoring color and everything to do with seeing beyond stereotypes of color and in that way merging, embracing and loving our color. We use color as a metaphor for the diversity: vast differences of beauty that exist as the expression of our human race. I want them to leave with the message that: I am you and you are me and the only thing that separates us is the divisive thoughts we have about each other. We are each other. We are love.
Do people ever ask you your race? What do you tell them?
I've been asked that question my whole life. They mean to actually question my ethnicity not my race. As the human race (homo sapiens) we all originate from Africa. But ethnically, the saying has always been that we come in "36 shades" - my father says "from alabaster to ebony." I just happen to fall in the center of the exotic spectrum, hence the question, "What are you?" Human. I am human. It's the closest thing to the truth. To expand on that: I'm American. So, of course I am Black in the way that I was taught about the definition of being a Black American and that is that Black has no nation. Meaning as a Black person with a lineage that has been American at least around 270+ years, I'm inescapably ethnically mixed. Black culture is an important and integral part of who I am, but it is equally important, to me, that I recognize myself in ethnicities around the world - our common denominator is being human. Our most uncommon denominator is which planet our original ancestors flew in from.
What are some of the charities/organizations you are involved with? Why are they important to you?
There are several. I just performed the national anthem for the Michael Johnson Foundation that provides funding for Dallas childrens’ Charities. I've performed for horse rehabilitation foundations, firemen and police officers against child abuse and many more. Most notably, I shared my brother's story with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) which is probably closest to my heart as my brother is of the autistic spectrum and years ago developed paranoia schizophrenia. I feel that it's important that we, as a people, find out what part of humanity we are most passionate about and pursue that. Because as long as we are passionate about whichever way we choose to give a helping hand, then no matter what happens, there will always be a hand to catch us when our humanity falters. Peace is possible. Our future is now.
You can follow IMAJ at loveimaj.com