How did this new album and overall concept for it come about, and what are your ultimate goals with it?
My new album, “Crossing Over”, came about from my discovering new possibilities and avenues in my playing. I am classically trained and have been performing with the Tuscaloosa Symphony, my flute and harp duo (Kimoni Duo) and in solo recitals for years. I wanted to explore my love for jazz by trying to be creative with this style on my instrument. I chose to play around with urban beats, purposefully mixing the jazz idiom with neo-soul and r&b. I titled the album “Crossing Over” to convey my stepping over to the jazz side, while showcasing my classical roots of playing and love for all types of music. I hope this album helps to put the flute on the map with more purpose in the jazz world. Flutists can groove too!
How would you describe what inspires you to do what you do?
I am inspired by my desire to be an inspiration! I absolutely love what I do; making music that affects people from within gives me so much in return. I have such a deep passion for music and for the flute that I believe it sincerely comes through in my playing. On stage and in the studio, I get lost in the creative process so easily because it’s like pouring out every emotion you’ve got….right in that moment.
Who are some of your current favorite artists, Smooth Jazz or otherwise?
There is/was so much talent in this world and it’s hard to name favorites because there are so many. Those that stand out for me in this moment are Shirley Horn (the master of perfect timing in a ballad), Dave Valetin (a super fierce flutist) and Esperanza Spalding (who I’d love to share the stage with someday). I also love Snarky Puppy, a contemporary jazz group that fuses rock and other styles in their playing.
How would you finish this sentence? “I don’t like to go a day without_________?
Acknowledging how blessed I am! Out of all the things I could have been, God chose me to be a musician. I have the amazing honor of being on stage, playing music for a living…..making money doing absolutely what I love.
Of your touring and gigs so far in your career, do any stand out as being particularly memorable or defining moments?
I was performing for Jazz on the Grass Festival in Montgomery, Al. and after the show, at the merchandise table, a gentleman asked me to sign his fan. He said “it will be worth a lot of money when you win that Grammy”! That was a proud moment for me because I work hard to put on great shows. In that moment, I felt like I was really on my way to something greater! Another person came up and agreed, saying, “your music comes from the heart”! That spoke volumes to me!
What would your top “desert island” classic albums be, regardless of genre… the albums you turn to time after time for your own personal enjoyment and inspiration?
“Here’s to Life” by Shirley Horn, “Off the Wall”, by Michael Jackson and “Adagio for Strings” by Samuel Barber