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Tell me who is Anitra Jay?
I'm first and foremost a follower of Christ. I share the love of Jesus through music. I'm a pescetarian who loves her some green smoothies. 🙂 I'm natural and loving the freedom of being natural.
When did you first realize that you had a knack for singing and playing instruments?
My Mom put me in our church choir when I was very young. That's where I learned the basics of singing and songwriting. I bought my first guitar in 2005, and it was then that I realized I might have fun entertaining others. I remember bringing my guitar into the office where I worked and playing a song for my boss. The next day he came to work with an amp, a microphone, and a mic stand. It was his way of telling me to go for it. That was the first time someone other than a family member demonstrated belief in me. I think that moment was the catalyst for bringing on who I am today and who I will be in the future.
How was it growing up in New Orleans with such a blend of musical history and how did it contribute to who you are?
Growing up in New Orleans, music was a part of everything. They paraded in the streets with a second line band even for funerals. It was and still is the culture there to include music in every aspect of life. As a child I was saturated in it. Jazz, Blues, and Gospel were the big three growing up and they are the roots of my music to this day.
What do you consider as your own individual sound?
I call it Organically, head-bopping acoustic soul. It's the kind of music that gets into your soul and doesn't leave. It makes your head bop to the beat without you even realizing it. It's a blend of blues-y pop with a hint of poetry.
With the release of your next album which focuses more on the Natural beauty of African American Women and their Hair. What made you want to release an album centered around this topic?
The idea for Crown & Glory came out of my own journey with natural hair. I've been natural for going on 4 years now and it has changed my overall approach to life in areas of self-esteem, confidence, self-image, making healthy choices physically and emotionally, and even style/fashion. After speaking with other women who are on similar journeys they have all experienced these same things. Naturally as a singer-songwriter I found myself writing songs about it. And that's how the album Crown & Glory came about. I'm really excited, because this has never been done before and I hope it will be a source of encouragement and inspiration for others on the natural hair journey and those considering it. The album comes out in May of 2014.
If you could say one thing to someone who is struggling with making the decision to go natural and has not taken the plunge. What would you say?
Natural hair is not permanent! Just give it a shot. Commit to a year and see what happens. There are so many benefits to being natural, the most beneficial part of it all is not subjecting yourself to harmful products. Secondly, it might help you get to know yourself even more and teach you how to unleash your best beauty.
Where else could we find you online?
You can find me on my website: http://www.anitrajay.com or on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/anitrajay. Write something on my wall, I promise I will write back! 🙂 I'm also on Twitter, http://www.twitter.com/anitra_jay.