Country Music meets IMAJMay 5, 2012
By: Kim Harris
Imaj is an American country singer, songwriter, novelist, visual artist, actress and humanitarian. She is the author of Harlow: A Novel and the daughter of actor Philip Michael Thomas. Currently on tour in Nashville of her album "Country Darling" she took time to answer a few questions as one of Soul and Salsa 100 Most Beautiful.
You have such a mesmerizing voice, when did you realize you wanted to sing?
Thank you so much! I grew up in the industry. I was surrounded by the arts so I've always wanted to sing.
After hearing you sing R&B, Pop whether in English or Spanish or the 4 other languages you know; what made you start your first endeavor with Country Music?
As a writer, I was naturally drawn to the stories of Country music. It's maintained the art of story telling throughout its life. Also, my mother grew up listening to singers like Linda Ronstadt and Dolly Parton so I think my love for Country music filtered in that way.
Who inspires your sound/and or lyrics?
Some of my favorite artists are Loretta Lynn, Joan Baez, Michael Jackson, Hank Williams Sr., Charley Pride and Linda Ronstadt. I'm inspired by life, intelligence, love...all facets of the resiliency of the human spirit.
If you could pick two artists to share the stage with, who would they be?
Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift. My interest in them is for the content of their character which reflects so well throughout their music.
Some musicians are talented in one area, but how did you learn how to sing in 6 languages?
When I was little and travelling the world with my parents, I was able to pick up on any accent. I thought they were strange and wonderful. Since then, that's how it's always been. If you listen to yourself speak, words are just sounds strung together. For me, it's the same thing with singing in different languages phonetically. So, I'd listen to a song, say, in Japanese and if I liked it, I'd learn it just like any song. The fact that it was in Japanese never really registered as anything other than just another string of pretty sounds woven together.
Your father Philip Michael Thomas was a well known actor on Miami Vice, how did being on the set with him help your perfect your craft?
I was surrounded by the limitless: creativity. Creativity, I feel, is the gateway to doing and being anything you want in life. When you're encouraged to be creative there are no barriers, just endless opportunities for possibilities.
What can your fans expect on this tour?
Glitz and glamour, down-to-earth Country fun, waving cellphones like stars in the night, cross-genre songs and acts and hugs at the end of each show!
What are your future goals?
To be on a world tour singing and learning from different cultures. I hope that my love for what I do can inspire others to do what they love and thereby spreading a kind of peace instilled in the free-spirited and care-free of the world. And always, my endeavor in life is to be happy.
You are also an author, tell us a little about the novel and what message do you want your fans to gain from your novel?
Harlow is the first book in what will be a trilogy. Synopsis: In 1937 England, a mulatto girl is confined to her father's castle in a labyrinth of secrets, surfaced by the hidden agendas of a global elite. Harlow is semi-autobiographical in that I, too grew up to the silver spoon, sheltered and living in a sort of bubble. So, like Harlow, my way of viewing the world is somewhat distorted to compared to the average person. The only difference is my bubble was a creative utopia where as Harlow's leaned more towards dystopian. So, writing the story was very much like painting a mirror. It's my hope that each re
ader will see a reflection of themselves.
What do you do in your spare time?
Everything I do in my occupied time. My career is not separate from my life. I feel that the most honest way to go about pursuing any life career is when your work is not so sharply divorced from your play.
Soooo are you single or looking for that perfect man?
I started volunteering at hospice about a month ago and met the most wonderful couple of once-in-a-lifetimers who discovered true love in each other. It seems for them, true love wasn't something they had to look for; it was something that found them.
You mention a lot about world peace, how do you take steps towards world peace?
World peace starts with yourself. I think understanding what it means to be human is one of the most important steps towards world peace. Society is so full of ulterior motives and the disingenuous. I feel, it's important to be genuine in whatever you do, it will spread light through the shadows of the world. Also, understand that the society is not separate from you. You makeup the the society. Everything you do is a contribution to worldwide human consciousness. So, hold the door for someone, smile at people you pass, help someone who may be carrying too much. Perhaps another great way we can contribute to society is to pursue careers and activities that we're most passionate about. That way, what we're doing, no matter what it is, we're giving a 100%. If each of us give 100% to what we love we're bound to be happy. In turn someone who is happy may be more concerned for the well-fare of the society in which they inhabit. Perhaps, it will all come full circle that way.
If you could give words of wisdom to your fans, what would you say?
No matter who you are, someone will want to have a say in it. Be, create and discover yourself.
Check out : www.iamimaj.com for her touring dates.