Let’s face it: some interviews are just plain boring—Q&A pleasantries back and forth, generic PC answers given. Snooze fest. Boy am I glad that this wasn’t that!
I have to admit, I was a little nervous about this one. Working in the entertainment industry for so long, I’m usually less than one degree of separation from anybody on the radio at any given point in time. Imagine my surprise when got an e-mail asking if I’d like to interview Jaheim.
Who among us is not a Jaheim fan? Then to my horror, I realized I didn’t have any connection to him. What? Me? I don’t know ANYONE from Jaheim’s camp? Uh oh!
That’s when the butterflies set in. However, to my delight, Jaheim was an absolute gem, and we had a blast with the interview. I was able to steal him away from the backstage chaos to do a one on one and capture video footage. He even let our interview run over until his manger cued us to wrap it up.
With my interviews, I usually do a section called “Fans Want to Know” where I gather four or five questions from fans and include them at the end of my interviews. I opened the floor up to my social media friends and followers, asking “what do you want to know from Jaheim?” The response was so overwhelming, I decided to change the entire interview into a “Fans Want to Know” exclusive.
So please enjoy this concert review by my partner in media, April Woodard, my “Fans Want to Know: Jaheim” interview, and the bonus video footage I nabbed from Periscope.
The marquee read “One Night Stand: Jaheim In Concert at The Fox.” Lines were wrapped around the corner as fans waited to experience the soulful powerhouse who is no stranger to Detroit.
Electrifying blue was the color for the night. For our metaphysical readers who may know a little something about chakras, blue is also the color of the throat chakra. Clearly, Jaheim’s chi was on point and his chakras were fully opened as he crooned and sang every song from the depths of his soul. Dressed in a blue satin suit, accompanied by two dazzling singers in stunning blue sequins dresses, this show surely gave us something beautiful to gaze upon, among other treats.
A set list mixed with radio hits, ballroom anthems, a Luther Vandross cover, and on to his new single “Back in Your Arms” surely set the tone for the evening—ladies and gentlemen, we are here!
The night was filled with impromptu fan selfies, sweat dripped towels, long stemmed roses (that he personally handed out one-by-one all night long) and a party in the aisles. Jaheim brought his A-game to the Fox this night. Hard-hitting rhythms and head-nodding jams summoned the audience to their feet for most of the show. As the band dropped the first few chords to “Just in Case” (a Detroit crowd favorite), Jaheim jumped from the stage into the audience and instantly found himself surrounded by what looked like a hundred beautiful women singing every line while stepping to his timeless hit.
From the young and seasoned, to the happily single/happily married, to trap queens and corporate thugs, Jaheim left the Detroit audience at the Fox filled with hope, love, guilty pleasures, and a show to remember. Make sure to purchase “Back In Your Arms,” and look for his new album coming out this fall.
Trust me—you need it.
Fans Want to Know: the Jaheim edition
Tell me about JULIE’S DREAM MUSIC GROUP? – Kindra, Detroit
J: Julie’s Dream Music Group is mine. I started it in 1997 just in my mind. I said “I’m going to bring my mamma back into existence.” In this dream I kept having, she was there telling me “One day you’re gonna be free.” And I didn’t get it until one day something just said “Jah, go ahead and just start a company.”
I signed a contract (with a record label) that left me in a bind for over a decade. I made millions of dollars for this corporation. I sold 1.9 million out of the box. I feel like we could have even sold more, but I just felt that I wasn’t happy. Everybody else was happy with me. All I really ever wanted to be was a star, so I started a few companies to be in control of my music.
Who is your favorite producer? – LaKeyla, Detroit
J: Favorite hip- hop producer? Dr. Dre is really one of my all time fave producers. Listening to hip-hop early in the game, Run-DMC, Fat Boys, and all of that was East Coast, but somehow Dr. Dre was always in the picture for me. He was always my favorite rapper when I didn’t really know too much about hip-hop. I was big on Eazy-E, Cyprus Hill, and that whole West Coast connection over there. I had a chance to meet DJ Quick—he is a great producer—there’s also Battlecat. It’s a lot of good producers, but I would definitely have to say Dre. He was the pioneer of the West Coast.
Then you have the East Coast producers—I would say Puff Daddy is the most ingenious in hip-hop. When it comes to producing, most people would’ve probably said Swizz Beatz—I wouldn’t disagree with that. When you say hip-hop, you have to be careful because people get defensive, but I feel safe saying Puff Daddy. You can’t just judge it on what he’s doing now, and he may be a little quiet as opposed to what it used to be when he was hot as fishgrease, but he still is hot. But then again most producers don’t produce the records. That’s why I said Puffy, but he knows how to put the right people in the right places.
As far as R&B, I would have to say Quincy Jones and Stevie Wonder. [laughs] I’ve been in the studio so long I don’t even know who’s doing what nowadays.
What do you do to relax and help you write? – Antea, Detroit
J: If I want to write a good song, I’ll drink some tea with honey and ginger, then I will light a candle and I’ll just think. The first thing that comes to my mind, I write about it.
I think when you get writer’s block, you’re tired, you need to get a snack, take a break, lay down for a few hours, you’re thinking too much, you might be stressed out. If you have a good writing partner—it’s always good to have more than one person writing with you—if you get stuck, it’s still your idea, but you have someone around you to help you to get it back on track.
What has changed in R&B from when you you first came in the game to now? Is R&B becoming a dead art? –Joey Montana, Boston
J: It really is. I think I’m getting tired. Honestly, I am tired, but what keeps me going is that I know I’m a seed in a new generation. Even though my time is going to pass, we all have to graduate with time. Somebody else is going to come along, and we’re going to have to embrace that. It’s my job to foresee that future and put all of that talent out.
R&B is dying. I heard Tyrese say something [to that effect], and, at the time that I heard it, I didn’t 100% agree because I was in denial of saying maybe the business turned this way for a reason. They did it for a reason. Maybe we were getting paid too much money. What happens when people don’t want you to work anymore? They fire you, and they hire someone to take cheaper wages. But it’s also about the future too—somebody gave me an opportunity, and someone else needs to have an opportunity. And that other person needs to have that second opportunity. But if you’re working hard then you will always have opportunities. I work hard and It’s killin’ me. [laughs]
From your perspective, how can we be more uplifting to the women from within the music industry? – Ralph, Detroit
J: With songs like “Appreciation Day” and “Put That Woman First.” You know what it is, too? I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this, but it’s kinda like the women have to make the change, too. It’s a lot of female rappers out here that say “I’m that B,” “I’m this and that,” and it’s a thing that comes with the territory. You need more songs about “Black Girl Lost,” “Brenda’s Got a Baby,” and songs that can help these young women to stop having sex before it’s time. I’ll be honest—I believe that for the future’s sake we have to start teaching our children, male and female, to appreciate what you have, because if I could start over and do it all again, I would have never started when I started. I started very early. If I would have just waited patiently it would have been better.
All of the stories that we were hearing about love and this and that, then you finally get a chance to experience it. Some people get love, and, like any great opportunity in life, they take advantage of it. Some people end up in certain situations, like disease and all kinds of stuff, and people like me get to learn from that. That’s what you call wisdom, because it’s serious. You could live your whole life chasing and running around, sleeping with this one and that one, and you wake up one day and realize that this is the life you chose. So you can’t be mad that you can’t find love now because you weren’t ready to receive it.
You have to know what you want. Life can move by fast. I say that for us all—you have to know what it is you want. What I wanted in life is what I have, what you see me with. I didn’t care about all these women running around—I mean, I did, but what I really wanted is what I have. When I got what I wanted, I always heard what everybody else wanted, what everybody else oohed and ahhed about, but sometime you can get those things, too, and it can hurt you. So you can’t want what everybody else has. You have to love what you got, it’s about the little things you have. Until the Creator says “let it be,” just enjoy the fruits.
If you look at the landscape right now who do you feel is a leader that has a solid fan base and solid musical career? –Edmund, Columbus, OH
J: Now? I’d say Usher. When I hear him, I can tell it’s him. Usher refuses to let someone else take his crown.
How has your music changed over the years, have your inspirations changed? How do you translate that to your music? –Charlotte, Detroit
J: My music evolved naturally—through observation, in what people want to hear, and having that “third ear” around me, more ears than mine. My inspirations are my morals. I can say that I’m inspired by the Creator in these days now. Just looking at how he created all of this—and just things we can’t figure out—I’m inspired by his creations. When I get on a plane and I look at all that he’s created, I say “MANNNN!!!!” I used to be scared of heights, but now I know He’s got me.
For more information on Jaheim visit: http://www.jaheimmusic.com/
Don’t forget to check out the bonus “Fans Want to Know” video for more fun fan questions with Jaheim!