Welcome to the Ms. Hollywood magazine family.
1. Who is JAZMIN AKEA the person?
As an avid world-traveler and musician, I would consider myself to be a bold, free-spirited, and creative individual. I love to enjoy life and challenge myself at the same time! Over the span of 8 years, I have visited 35 countries, including favorites such as Iceland, Thailand, and Italy. I gain inspiration through these experiences and enjoy networking with musicians from across the globe.
I also draw inspiration from the local aesthetic of each place I visit, which is what inspired the music video for “We Got the Gold” to be filmed in Rome. I enjoy acting as well. While residing in Chicago, I studied dramatic theater at The Second City and filmed several pilots for screenwriters in the city before moving to LA.
When I stay local, I typically like to explore iconic neighborhoods in Los Angeles such as Los Feliz and Bel Air. My first drink of choice is always Rose’.
2. How did you get your start in the entertainment industry?
I got started in the music industry as one of three members of a girl group called Flirt in Memphis, TN. We were managed by 97.1 Radio DJ Kevonjee at the time, and I recorded my first track with the group at a home studio. Shortly after, I started to write and record for an 8 member music group called Higher Level as the lead vocalist.
We performed throughout the city of Memphis and had our songs premiered on radio stations such as Hot 107.1 and K97.1. During this time, I was awarded the SCM Knockdown Award for R&B Artist of the year, an accolade is given to local artists and performers in the city of Memphis.
3. Who are your musical influences as a singer & songwriter?
Although my music is more contemporary, I was heavily influenced by singers such as Lauren Hill and Sade growing up. Their unique approaches to songwriting inspired me to start writing my own poetry and songs. I am also influenced by the 90’s R&B stars such as Aaliyah and TLC.
When I want to create a more alternative sound, I will listen to Lana Del Rey, Sabrina Claudio, or my favorite Icelandic band named Vok. Pop/ R&B icons such as Beyonce and Rihanna have also been huge influences when it comes to my singing and songwriting.
4. If you could have a sitdown conversation with anyone dead or alive who would it be and why?
If I could have a sit-down with anyone, it would be Beyonce Knowles Carter. Her business acumen and drive are unmatched, and her ability to remain a highly successful entertainer/ entrepreneur for the length of time she has is a rare feat.
It is obvious that she possesses not only an incredible talent but also the level of confidence and persistence needed to achieve everything she has during the span of her career.
5. As a singer how do you turn a negative into a positive?
As a singer, I turn a negative into a positive by studying my own fears and self-limitations and then transcending them. In life, we are faced with experiences that can either make or break who we are, and I have definitely had my fair share of these experiences.
Still, I have to understand that everything has happened in my life to strengthen me and prepare me for whatever obstacles come along my path. Without the negative experiences, I would not know my own inner strength and tenacity, which are paramount when it comes to achieving goals.
6. What have been the obstacles that you’ve had to face early on being a singer from Memphis pursuing a music career in Los Angeles?
One of the biggest obstacles I had to face when I first started pursuing my career in Los Angeles was the fact that I did not have a large network. In this city, who you know is much more important than what you know. Without any connections, to begin with, I essentially had to build a network base from the ground up, which was challenging in the beginning.
In addition, I knew that I was in a city where there is a lot of competition as it pertains to the music industry. I had to find my niche and define who I was as a person and an artist, which lead me to take on a more entrepreneurial approach to how I would expand my outreach.
7. What is the most important thing that you’ve learned about the music industry since moving to Los Angeles?
I have learned that this industry can be difficult to navigate without set objectives in place. If a person wants to focus primarily on sync licensing or placements as opposed to being solely an artist, they have to learn who to connect with in order to achieve that particular goal. Also, I have learned that in order to be successful in this industry, you need a team to bring all of the pieces of the puzzle together.
8. What kind of advice would you give a newcomer trying to pursue a career in your line of work?
I would tell them to remain persistent. It sounds cliche, but giving up cannot be an option when it comes to pursuing a career in the entertainment industry. For this reason, I would tell that person that they have to be willing to make their success a top priority and never take no for an answer, even when people that are established and hold the power are the ones saying no. Self-belief is critical, as rejection in the beginning phases is an inevitable aspect of pursuing this type of career.
9. Where do you see yourself as a singer/songwriter in 5 years?
In 5 years, I see myself having topped the Billboard charts as a top 40 Artist on multiple occasions. I plan on having a discography that features some of the biggest artists in the industry and has an extensive music catalog with my performance rights organization BMI. I also see myself mentoring artists on how to break into the music industry and giving them guidance on how to be successful.
10. What has been the highest point of your career so far?
The highest point of my career has been starting my music production company. It has enabled me to showcase my talent while also being able to bring awareness to the services I can provide when it comes to singing and songwriting.
When I network with different studio managers and producers, I now feel that I can explain to them definitively what it is that I do as an artist. Before the pandemic, I was focusing my attention on many things outside of the entertainment industry, and now this is my only career focus.
11. Who is your celebrity crush?
My celebrity crush is Manny Montana from the TV show Good Girls. OMG!
12. How do you overcome burnout?
When I feel burnt out… I meditate and dive deeply into self-care. I enjoy time alone and introspection, so when I have an opportunity to pamper myself and just take a day off to breathe, I find the time to do so.
13. Before you step into the studio how do you prepare for your session what’s your technique?
Before stepping into the studio, I start with vocal warm-ups and exercises designed to free my voice. I also get into the feel of what I am creating by re-listening to the tracks I plan to sing on. I also like to dance!
14. If you could go back in time and speak to a younger you what words of advice would you give yourself?
If I could go back and speak to my younger self, I would say that confidence is key and that by believing in myself, anything is possible. People will not always believe in or understand my greater vision, but I should never lose sight of the vision that I have for myself to appease anyone else.
15. We would like to thank you for your time and congratulations on being selected on the cover of this edition of the Ms.Hollywood Magazine before we let you go is there anything that you would like to tell your fans?
Thank you! It is an honor to be selected for the cover. And I would like to tell my fans that once we can go back to performing live, I won’t really put on a show for them! The virtual world is great, but nothing can compare to the experience of a live performance.
It is how I connect with my audience and how I plan to express myself when the world opens up again. Until then, they can tune in to IG-Live Parties!