For any young performer, the audience can be a huge problem. If the performer has to sing and then dance, it is another ball game all together. At 14, Jamila Jemstone had her own jittery moments with the audience. Many years after, she still remembers the first time she came face-to-face with one. It was in the United Kingdom and she was doing the song ‘I Like to be in America’.
“I was in Westside story but not a leading part; it was terrifying, as I was quite shy. When you’re young, coordination is still a learning curve,” she recalls. But she was not eaten up by her shyness on that day. “I took a deep breath and just got on with it. The show was well received so that boosted my confidence,” she speaks up, quite relieved with a smile in-between.
Nigerian-born Jamila was raised in the UK. She has spent the better part of ten years working within the UK music industry at Virgin Records UK and Universal Music UK. That is no surprise really because she believes music is in her genes: “My mother’s family is music inclined, her mother was an established pianist and cellist and my great grand father was a great orator.” No wonder.
Her experience extends to marketing, television, radio and press where she has worked closely with many artists and musicians on various media campaigns. She has also worked in artist Management. Jamila has followed up her first single ‘No Regrets” with the Nigerian unity song ‘We Are One’, which was shortlisted as the anthem for Team Nigeria at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Both songs have enjoyed steady airplay and have been well received by critics.
She offers an insight to the messages that she passes across in her songs. “A lot of my songs are either my experiences or people I have met. My songs are about love, honesty and forgiveness. I wrote ‘We Are One’ specifically for Nigeria. It is a peace and unity song,” she reveals.
Jamila thinks that her fans can relate to her songs because “we have all at some stage had similar experiences in life regarding love and hopelessness. For her, relationships are what make us human and every cloud has a silver lining. She draws plenty of inspiration from Motown’s Stevie Wonder and Hal David who penned a lot of Motown songs.
If you asked her to describe a typical fan of her music, she has that person in her sights and mind. “A true lover of music and lyrics; understand the tango between the two,” she says. And adds: “My fans understand the tango between them and have a deep appreciation of the creative process.”
Jamila is currently working with various Nigerian producers to develop more songs for her debut album ‘Story Book’ which is due for official release in early 2013. Her videos for ‘No Regrets’ and her follow up single ‘We Are One’ can be watched on YouTube and AIT.
Jamila’s style is a cross–breed. She has unique song structures with popular melodies. She has been song writing for many years and is now showcasing her work, as well as encouraging others to harness their musical talent through Abuja –based Jemstone Productions.
Most of her own material has been written and produced in Nigeria. She hopes to promote producers, musicians and vocalists from the African continent and beyond.