From the age of 12, Jaeesha Samuel has been thrilling those around her with the melodic strains of her voice. She told Bajan Vibes: “I started out in the church choir, then I went on to the school competitions. I have always been strongly interested in music. I had my ‘wow moment’ and realized this is what I wanted to do in 2014 when I performed At Last by Etta James at the Parkinson Memorial School Pageant.”
Her stunning rendition of the hit song earned her top marks, and she walked away a winner. This taste for the limelight stoked her passion for performance. The young singer flourished under the rich musical program that exists at her alma mater. Since then, she has grabbed any chance that she has had to display her spectacular vocals.
Jaeesha’s talent extends to song-writing as well. She believes that through this medium her audience gets a glimpse into who she is. “I draw my inspiration from real-life stories and situations. My music says that I’m an energetic, easy-going and optimistic person. My music is an expression of my inner emotions and a symbol of everlasting memories.”
In a world filled with uncertainties, Jaeesha has always been steadfast about the direction she wanted her life to take, with a tunnelled view on the pursuit of a music career. It has been a deliberate direction.
“From a young age it was recognized that I had a special talent. I was encouraged to take part in competitions, and I was always searching for any opportunities where I could sing and develop,” she explained.
Since delving deeply into her craft, she is carving out her own niche. The style of music she produces is a mixture of reggae, dancehall and R&B. “I have always liked to do things differently. The uniqueness of my music is its insightful lyrics and revolutionized rhythm.”
Even though she is a relative newcomer to the professional scene, she has produced some solid singles having worked with Armzhouse Records, Blackspyda and Avikon Records which are all located in Jamaica. Her songs include Just A Dream, Gone Away and Outta Order, all of which can be previewed on the Selecta Charts platform.
Choosing her favourite song from her growing catalogue was a difficult task. “All of my songs are my favourite, and I say that because [they each] have a story behind it,” she added.
Music brings clarity to Jaeesha’s world while simultaneously providing a creative outlet. “Music has played an important role in my life as it is a way of me expressing my emotions and feelings.”
After pouring herself into her music, her source of discontent is similar to many local artistes, but she was firm in her resolve not to buckle. “The only challenge I had was getting my music played on the radio, but I just kept pushing and being persistent until they played my music on air.”
At 20 years old, the blossoming reggae artiste is drawn to some of the greats in the genre. “I would like to collaborate with Etana because of her passion for music; she has her own unique style.”
Anyone who has seen Jaeesha perform at showcases including Love Poetry and Song, Mahalia’s Corner, where she was featured as a spotlight artiste or Pan Fusion with the highly acclaimed Arturo Tappin, knows that she can blow you away with her powerful pipes in a classic ballad. Therefore, it’s no surprise that she listens to an eclectic mix of artistes. “If you were to look at the artistes I’m listening to on my playlist you would find Etana, Spice, Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, Luther Vandross and Jessie Ware.”
There are many spheres to Jaeesha’s creativity. When she is not working on new material in her own studio, she is busy in the kitchen cooking and baking up a storm. The quarantine restrictions have heavily impacted on her daily routine. “Well, before COVID -19 came along, I was singing at hotels and I also did makeup.”
The absence of these activities has left an obvious void. Filled with an entrepreneurial spirit, in her quiet moments she continues to hone her techniques in her constant quest to keep satisfying and building her clientele. Now she longs for the opportunity to be back on stage and making that connection with her audience. She admits: “The best part about being an entertainer is seeing people singing along and enjoying the music.”
Her music career is always at the forefront of her mind. “I’m hoping that in the next five years I will be on a big stage doing what I love.”
Ever the optimist, she advises young creatives to reach for the stars. “Be true to yourself and follow your dreams. Never give up and never lose hope, because one day success will come when least expected.” (STT)