THE LIGHT BEARER
Over the past decade, Jimetta Rose has steadily increased her influence over the Los Angeles music scene. Featured in over 20 releases, with 6 projects of her own, Rose has never compromised her sound nor her soul. Armed with her voice, an intuitive knack for songwriting, and a desire to share love and truth, she's avoided the pitfalls of an obstinate and overcrowded LA music scene. Rose's journey as a musician, advocate, and realist serves as a guidepost to future artists, and it begins at a young age.
Jimetta found her voice early on; she began discovering her vocal range singing in church at the age of 10. Although she did not come from an artistic family, she dedicated herself to discovering her voice and creating her own space- an individual pursuit, which cultivated her creativity. By the time she attended Hollywood Performing Arts High School, she was learning to channel her inner thoughts through other means, like writing, dance and theatre. And while the Berkeley School of Music was originally her post-high school goal, Jimetta did not complete an undergraduate course of study. To fill the gap, she began to apply her talents to songwriting. Rose was originally disappointed by this divergence: "I thought my career was over, so I began writing songs for various bands in LA. Quickly after I began to focus on song writing I was asked to sing in the band I was writing for. I started going to rehearsals and found my love for music again. Singing with live instruments was my zone."
Exhilarated with this rekindled passion, Rose broke traditional expectations others held for her future by starting her own band at age 23. She understood and undertook the work required to be relevant in an environment that had a large appetite for male artists. Even today, Rose expresses the journey is different for women in the arts. "With women, the perception is there is only room for a few, but with men artists there is so much more room. Making your way is rough." Her belief, despite the roadblocks, is that "there is room at the table for us all. We are all looking for modes of expression that we can connect with."
She also knew the importance of the mindsets of the people around her: "You never know who can help you, so setting up a professional network based off of what people can do for you is never successful. Being connected to people that genuinely posses passion for the art is where you will find the strongest connection to those that have the ability to positively influence your brand." Speaking about how she grew in this environment, Rose also expresses the value of the individuality without pride:
"Humility is the key that can set you apart from everyone. It is not about looking for the right friend; it is about being the right friend. No one owes you anything, and you have to be yourself because there is not another you. Unveiling yourself as an artist and stepping away from the crowd will set you apart. If you are trying to be someone else, you will always be second at best."
As Jimetta began to define her artistic brand, she focused on the elements she would need to build a powerful connection with her audience. During these early years, working with live instruments gave her influence over existing artists, works, and she began to emerge as a powerhouse in many musical circles. Besides instrumentation, Rose also credits image as another key to success in the music industry. When asked about image, she keeps the conversation honest and answers with a smile: "An artist's image is very important. You can have one intention of how you wish to be perceived, but the audience controls your image and what you eventually become. The audience has the ability to grasp the nuances of the energy around you, and artists need to remember that as long as they are honest, perception can be corrected. Your brand is an entity outside of yourself; hopefully the entity is fueled by you and not any false perceptions that surround you." Rose still trying to pin down exactly how she wants her audience to perceive her. Even today, Jimetta's image continues to evolve.
Adrian Younge, a composer and close friend of Rose's, helped her to discover the power of image and reflect on how she presented herself. She remembers a conversation with Younge as a pivotal moment of understanding. She shares a bit of her revelation:
"When Adrian decided to take this music thing seriously, he wanted people to perceive him in a certain way. He threw away all of his clothes that were not formal. Gym shoes, sweats, t-shirts... and he built an image around professionalism. That's how he wanted to represent himself to his audience. He wanted his presence to be unmistakable; he accomplished just that."
To help the music arena understand her perspective, Jimetta's music conveys themes of love, light, and truth: topics she hopes that her audience can relate to. As she frames her image, she advocates that "remaining honest and real will allow your image to always be a direct reflection of your body of work."
Rose discussed areas where she could have been more involved in her early career. It is not all just about talent: " I would have preferred to know more about the industry when I was coming up, learning empowers you. Being involved in dates, declines, being able to set your calendar and own your part of the collaborative process would have helped me respect the process more as I grew in my career. Knowing the inner framework of making a record is necessary, not just recording or making a song. It would have helped me to understand the mixing, mastering and polishing process. I am less frantic over the process now that I understand being an artist from the inside out, which enables me to grow."
This growth has afforded Rose several opportunities, including a spot on the recent Our Nation Awakens tour. Reflecting on the tour inspired a calm, mellow discussion with Jimetta. She shared that it was personal, allowing her to enjoy the collaboration between multiple genres, artists, and generations coming together on one platform for a common purpose: unity. "It was about civil rights and the unity among groups of humans, beyond race and beyond social class, pushing for humanity sake and pushing beyond civil rights. We are one nation and it was wonderful to be with people from different walks of life. The nation has been divided for a while and I pride myself on being apart of a community that spares itself from people with small minds. I had so much fun and felt the love. Artists get stuck in clubs and this event was outside and open to families to hear good music and feel the messages that were being delivered."
Jimetta is committed to creating music that is fresh and relevant in an atmosphere that is satisfied with predefined genres of music. She breaks through barriers by fusing live instruments, jazz, R&B and poetry, allowing her to work unconstrained while constructing breathtaking works of art.
"L.A. is cooking by taste, while other music scenes may feel like they have to follow a recipe for success. This environment has just enough unpredictability for amazing things to happen. If you build the right relationships from the start you will always have the right mix to deliver soulful, reverent music that leaves a lasting footprint in the hearts of your audience."
With that "right mix," Rose continues to make her mark in the Los Angeles music scene and delivers a message of love, life, unity and strength for all, regardless of background, culture, race or gender. As an artist Jimetta is clearly paving the way for creativity and innovation to lead music in a new direction, a direction where the barriers are minimal and the product is authentic.
Jimetta's story is an inspiration and a guide to those that are just starting out in the industry, and reaches those that have had a lasting footprint in this dynamic environment. She settles for nothing less than excellence and continues to shine with her captivating, honest sound that embodies her true essence as an artist.
The Light Bearer, released in August 2016, is sure to move the hearts of many as Jimetta gives us a little piece of herself. This is a must have for all music enthusiasts, the fusion of Jazz, R&B and Soul will leave listeners wanting to hear what is next from Rose.
Audocs Exclusive: Article Appeared in fUNCTIONAL No. 03 Winter 2016