J. Nicole, 'the eclectic lady', is bursting onto the music scene with her debut EP, eclectic lady. This project has allowed this singer, songwriter, producer, arranger, and self-taught musician the opportunity to engage the listener in a conversation about life and love, while exposing them to interesting combinations of music. 'I call my music Eclectic Soul. Soul music is definitely the foundation or base of my music, but each song is soul viewed through a different lens-there's the hip-hop lens, the rock lens, the jazz lens, the middle-eastern inspired lens, to name a few.' eclectic lady is scheduled for release August 26, 2003. 'Don't Let Tha Door Hit'cha,' a hip-hop seasoned farewell to a relationship gone bad, along with 'Unconditional Love,' an ode to her long-time friend MELEE (who also makes a cameo on the song) are featured on the soundtrack, 'Head Games,' for the Filmworks/Out Da' Box independent film 'Angel Bliss,' both slated for release this Spring. 'Don't Let Tha Door Hit'cha' will also appear on J. Nicole's debut. 'I'm really excited about my release and the opportunity to be a part of the score and soundtrack for Angel Bliss. Being on the soundtrack has really given me the opportunity to gain exposure to a wide, diverse audience, and I'm really grateful for that. Releasing my own project is a dream come true for me-it's definitely a labor of love.' Business mixed with pleasure is just how J. Nicole prefers it, as she not only serves as Melting Pot Entertainment, LLC's first artist, but also co-owns the independent label. 'Through the years, I've been approached by many record labels, but they always seemed to want to take control of my writer's credits or my publishing. So instead of having artistic control taken from me, I decided to find like-minded people and take control of my destiny in music. We fully intend to make our dreams a reality, but we're doing it on our terms.' Born, July 9, 1977, this 27-year old Atlanta native has been influenced by music all of her life. Her love of music is what inspired her to learn to play the viola, teach herself to play piano and guitar, and become a songwriter, arranger, and producer. 'My musical tastes have always leaned more toward the soul artists of the 60's and 70's like Earth, Wind, and Fire, Donny Hathaway, Curtis Mayfield, Aretha Franklin, The Carpenters, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin. Each of these artists made phenomenal contributions to music of all genres by being soulful singers, writers, arrangers, producers, and musicians. I want to leave that kind of legacy.' While at Six Flags Over Georgia, a theme park just outside of Atlanta, J. Nicole's mother encouraged her to record a song at the recording studio in the park. The then 10-year old went into the recording booth and recorded Whitney Houston's 'The Greatest Love of All.' With her back to the front of the store, she didn't realize she was drawing a crowd. 'After I hit the last note of the song, I turned around, and there were about sixty people standing in front of me cheering and clapping.' It turned out that the sound engineer, after letting her mother and those nearby listen while she was singing, finally turned the loudspeaker on outside so that people who were standing outside of the recording studio could hear as well. People started pouring into the studio to see the 'little girl with the big voice'. At age 16, J. Nicole co-founded an a capella gospel group, Emphasis, that gained notoriety among metro-Atlanta churches for their creative arrangements, spirit-filled performances, perfect pitch, and powerful delivery. She also began writing songs of her own and creating the music for those songs complete with full vocal arrangements. 'Since I didn't have access to a studio at that age, I would use two tapes to lay down the piano track and then switch the tapes back and forth to layer my background vocals and lay down my lead vocals. As a result, I have about 4 tapes full of songs I've written since I was 16, complete with piano and full vocal arrangements.' While at Spelman College, J. Nicole sharpened her vocal ability by performing in the Spelman College Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Joseph Jennings. 'I've been listening to and being inspired by such jazz greats as John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, and Carlos Jobim since I was 13, but the Jazz Ensemble really helped me learn to control my voice to get the type of sound I want. With Jazz, the voice is used more like a musical instrument in that you must consciously place every note, and scatting requires a great deal of creativity and control. By the end of my Sophomore year, my singing in every genre became much more polished and refined.' J. Nicole has shared the stage with such distinguished musicians as Dee Dee Bridgewater, Nneena Freelon, Nancy Wilson, and the Cyrus Chestnut Trio, also performing at the Kennedy Center and the famed New Orleans Jazz Festival, among others. J. Nicole also shared the stage with Jamie Foxx, when he asked for volunteers to come up on stage to sing to him during Morehouse College's Homecoming Comedy Show . J. Nicole brought the house down as Jamie began accompanying her on the piano and harmonizing with her. 'At first, I wasn't going to sing, but one of my good friends told me 'if this girl walking on the stage gets booed, you have to go up there'. I thought the girl could really sing since so many people sitting around her had encouraged her to go on stage, but when that first note came out of her mouth and everybody booed, I was on the spot. While everybody else was excited that they were about to sing for Jamie Foxx, I was worried about finding the right key to sing the song in so I could nail the high notes. In the end, only one other girl and I didn't get booed, out of, like, 10 or 12 people.' In addition to the musical influences of the past, J. Nicole continues to be inspired by the artists of today. Some of those influences include N'Dea Davenport, Amel Larrieux, Dionne Farris, Jill Sobule, Faith Evans, Kelly Price, and La India. 'All of these women are awesome singers, but more than that, there is a realness and sincerity in their music that is unmistakable. You really feel the emotion in their voices, and I can relate to that. People tell me that they really connect to my singing because I sing with such feeling. And that's what it's about--opening yourself up, baring your soul, and touching others. I strive to be versatile and pride myself on being able to create music that cannot be boxed into any one category, but that transcends traditional labels. My influences are so diverse, that my music can't help but be a mixture of everything I love. I am eclectic--but that's what sets me apart. I can go from classical to jazz to rock to gospel to salsa, and all of these styles fit my personality--they're all a part of who I am and what I love. With my music, there's something for everyone.'
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