Posted On 31 Oct 2018
Meet the recording artist IMAJ, who is here to fill a much needed void in music – a female African American country artist. Bringing diversity beyond just her skin tone, the singer-songwriter uses her lyrics and platform to advocate for equality through race, religion, gender, mental illness – and overall spread a message of love.
As a country singer-songwriter and active humanitarian, IMAJ has already found much success in the music industry, including being listed on Billboard’s Country Charts. She has additionally toured the nation with various multi-platinum and major country artists such as Kip Moore, LeAnn Rimes, Collin Raye, Billy Dean, and Neal McCoy. This fall IMAJ has been hitting the road again with her several performances, including headlining the Texas State Fair as the opening act for renowned country artist Hunter Hayes where she performed hits from her latest album “America’s Sweetheart”.
IMAJ’s debut single “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” from her self-titled debut album charted on Music Row and reached “New and Active” on Billboard’s Country Charts. While, her single “Colorblind” off of her sophomore album “America’s Sweetheart” (released under Sony Entertainment’s ‘The Orchard’) has reached over 3.3M+ views worldwide on Facebook, with a powerful message of world peace and acceptance. Her latest single “His Story, Her Story” off the same album is an anthem of appreciation for the sacrifices of the U.S. armed forces.
Watch IMAJ’s creative “Colorblind” Music Video here (3.3M+ FB Views)
Listen to IMAJ’s heroic “His Story, Her Story” here
IMAJ is no stranger to the spotlight. She was born and raised in Miami, FL with her model mother and actor father, 80’s TV icon Philip Michael Thomas (‘Tubbs’ on Miami Vice). With her natural talent on-stage and delicately powerful vocals, it’s no wonder why she has racked up so many forthcoming performance opportunities.
Watch IMAJ perform LIVE on:
iHeartRadio’s DDICL | Good Day FOX 4 | Distractify (52K Views) | Now This (14K Views)
IMAJ loves being able to perform at charitable events, as she is a firm believer in the affinity for the arts and it’s healing powers. IMAJ has witnessed firsthand the power of music, as her brother uses music to cope with his own mental health issues. She aspires to eventually set up a charity for mental illness, and find a resolve against the negative connotations that come with it. IMAJ even penned an article for NAMI to reflect her thoughts on the negative stigma surrounding such. The young artist hopes to use her music to promote peace and positive change in the world, and ultimately promote the solidarity of humankind.
Connect with IMAJ:
Listen to “America’s Sweetheart”: Spotify | iTunes/Apple Music
Learn more about IMAJ in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you now? Is there music playing in the background?
-There’s rain playing in the background. Lots of rain. I find it musical.
Now that we are on the back end of the year, how do you think 2018 has treated you and your career? What has been one goal that you have had this year and how close are you to reaching it? Or did you already reach it?
-2018 has been wonderful. Amongst other things, I had the honor of being a keynote speaker for the Cam Busch Endowed Arts for Health Series in Chattanooga, TN. I also performed for WE Day. It was an amazing experience to perform for kids from all over the country who are working towards positive change in our communities. I also performed for the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards and was invited to open for Hunter Hayes at the State Fair of Texas. My goal is always to contribute to making a difference in our world, so it’s been a wonderful year.
Growing up, how important was music to you? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
-Music has always been an integral part of my life. My dad’s career began on the Broadway musical, “Hair”, before he became a TV icon. So, music was inevitable for me and the transition was very organic and natural.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
-It’s always an amazing surprise when I hear a simple song I wrote come to life – from three little chords and a melody to a full band of Nashville musicians bringing the song to life, with guitar and bass and fiddle and drums. It’s a magical experience, that’s both unexpected and welcome and my favorite part of making music.
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live today?
-It’s quite possible that living in the south, with all the sunshine, influences my sunny disposition on our future. Vitamin D is great for the body and spirit and I got plenty of it growing up on the beach in Miami.
Let’s talk about your latest album, “America’s Sweetheart.” What was it like putting this collection together? What inspired these songs?
-My greatest inspiration is the climate of the times. The album is mostly about America, the changes we go through as a nation and the differences we long to make in our world as a generation. We want to see a more sustainable and cleaner and caring and co-creative world emerge from all of the adversity.
Did anything surprise you about making this album and the overall process? Did it take longer or shorter then you expected?
-I was surprised by how many people actually listen to the lyrics and learn the songs. The messages of peace, and activism and solidarity in the album seem to resonate with people who are looking for a positive change in the world. The album really comes alive through the audience and how receptive they are to the message.
Since the beginning of music, people have turned to it for support and as an escape from their realities. How do you want your music received?
-That’s exactly it. That’s the power of music. I want my music to be received in whatever way most benefits the life of the listener. Whether it be a way of escaping harsh realities or encouraging someone to take action towards something. Whatever they need in the moment is what I hope they gain from listening to my music.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?
-I like that social media allows me connect with fans all over whether it’s in my hometown or New York or California or the Philippines or Australia or Europe. My favorite way to connect with my fans is through the music.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
-Cher, Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Elvis, Whitney Houston. I love all the legends and would love to work with Kacey Musgraves or Taylor Swift.
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island forever, what musical item would you take with you and why?
-Some kind of supersonic siren to get help to get me off that island. Or a guitar with a lifetime worth of new strings.
If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?
-Grey’s Anatomy or a Quentin Tarantino film
Would you say that you learn new things about yourself as an artist after each of your performances? What has touring with so many incredible artists taught you? What tour has been the most memorable for you so far?
-Everytime I’m on that stage I realize how much I love just simply singing and dancing and connecting with the audience. Touring with platinum country singers gives you a chance to see how they go about interacting with the audience and what they do on stage. My most memorable tour was probably my tour for country radio. I got to meet a ton of radio DJs and see how songs get put on the radio. I loved meeting everyone behind the shows. And we’re still friends on FB to this day.
Do you have any tour dates you would like to tell our readers about? How will you be spending your fall and winter?
-I’m headed to Miami, FL to speak and perform for the American Arts Therapy Association which is such an honor because art is so healing to humans and I’m grateful to take part in the conference. For more updates on shows, follow me on social media.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music? I’d like to know more about how you want your music to be timeless?
-Again, my hope for them is that they take away whatever most benefits them from my music whether it be just to dance to or whether it inspires them to keep their head up or make a difference. However it can soothe their spirit is what I want for them.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself and your music.
-I’d like to remind everyone to just practice kindness. When you have a choice to be a bully or be kind, choose to be kind. It’s a small gesture with a huge impact that can last a lifetime. Also, be on the look out for my next album in Spring 2019.
(all photography provided by ICON PR)