Sounds of Imani - 10 Questions Music Interview
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
The catalyst for us in writing our music stems from the Motown era musicians and songwriting teams that we've admired over the years. These renowned musicians and songwriters sat down to write hit songs about their life experiences and various social issues. Back in the day our family had close interaction with some of the famous Motown family and we give kudos to all of them who went through difficulties but still managed to write hit song after hit song. Our relatives were music artists and songwriters back in the Motown days and they truly valued their gifts and talents and we are also inspired to do the same.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
We had a concert to do at Belle Isle Park, the date was secured and all fees paid at the park office. Folks were rolling up in their cars and we were getting set up on stage. It was going to be an exciting day until we found out that the electricity on the stage wasn't working. We went back to the park office and found out from someone else that the electricity had not been working for couple of years. Our thoughts were, Why would someone schedule an event at that stage knowing there was no electricity? We went back to the stage to inform the band and audience of the issue. Then we decided to look under the stage only to find a brand new gas can and generator. What? The management office said they didn't know where it came from and it didn't belong to them. Needless to say our musicians went to get gas for the generator. We filled up the generator and from that point the performance was on and we did get partial refund back from the park office. The crowd was clapping and cheering that the concert moved forward and we all had a great time.
What has been the high point of your music path?
The high point of our music path has been to create our own Internet radio station and TV network: Right Now Praizz Radio and Right Now Praizz TV. We strategized and were compelled to get this vision started. It is our desire to do all we can to help indie artists gain more exposure. Additionally, winning some indie awards has certainly been encouraging seeing that our hard work is being recognized. It's a good feeling!
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
On many occasions, we would be getting ready to retire for the evening, then all of a sudden at 1am in the morning we get up because there is a song in our head. We sing the tune into our phone or recording device then go downstairs to our rehearsal space to get the basics of it before we forget the tune. So whether we are riding in our car, at home or wherever, we manage to get a tune on a device. Back in the day, we used to record the songs on a cassette tape (LOL). A friend of ours gave us some music tracks he wasn't using and we were able to put lyrics and arrangement to those tracks which turned out to be a blessing.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
The biggest challenge facing indie artist today is trying to get airplay. Indie artist are asked all the time to make sure they have radio ready music, properly tagged with the correct metadata; as well as properly registering their songs etc. When all of the criteria is met many radio stations still won't play indie music no matter how well it is produced, packaged or sounds. This prevents the indie artist from having their music heard (besides locally and performing live). If the music can't be heard, how will anyone be able to buy it? In addition, without airplay, artists can't acquire the needed spins to meet criteria for certain awards platforms. Many major awards platforms do not include a division for indie artists. This definitely needs to change.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
We would love to share the stage Earth Wind and Fire. These guys have perseverance and have kept pushing all these years. Excellent musicianship, songwriting skills and stage presence!
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
We have weekly rehearsals with our band. When there is an upcoming show, we double up on rehearsals each week. Vocal rehearsals are conducted throughout the week and prior to the band arriving at rehearsal. Each band member is given a list of the songs and copies of music to perform by our music director ahead of time. When we get together it generally takes less time to tweak the songs at rehearsal. We love to create a family atmosphere at rehearsal because it's important that musicians and the lead vocalists gel together. Can't be on stage where the lead vocalists and musicians are battling each other.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
One song that was the greatest challenge was 'Fly Away' because it was written when my husband's father passed away. It was difficult because we were going through so much at that time and it seemed like we just couldn't get the lyrics situated to say what we felt. But when we did get it together, it turned out to be one of our most requested songs.
What's coming up in the future?
We have a new EP coming out the Fall of 2021 and are super excited about it. In addition, we will have our first Christmas single forthcoming. It is our hope that the pandemic will soon pass over so that more doorways can open up for future live in-person performances as we love to perform live with our band.
Tell us where fans can access your music?
Our music can be found on iTunes, Apple Music, and other digital music platforms, as well as our main website. The links are as follows:
About Sounds of Imani
From the streets of the Motor City come the heavenly Sounds of Imani. The husband and wife duo Drs. Gerald & Carol Ervin have brought the Holy Spirit into their music. Imani's mix of jazz, Christian, and R&B music has earned them a strong fan following and gospel music awards. The word "Imani" means" faith. It is the foundation of the music the duo and their band makes, as well as the message they spread.
Imani has been bringing faith and music to Detroit and abroad since 1996. Their music has helped uplift others. From their first mini-cd released in 1996, "Praises," to their upcmake 2021 EP release of "Holy is Thy Name", Imani is spreading their sound to those who need love and hope. When asked about what makes Imani's music unique, they responded: "Our music is unique because we are inspired to write lyrics for songs that touch the heart and soul of people. The songs we write come from our own heartfelt personal experiences, and we believe that factor makes our music reachable, receivable, and believable."
Imani's songs are both spiritual and funky. Their latest single track "Come Praise the Lord" is a “happy, upbeat dance, skate, and praise track that reminds us we have a lot to be thankful for. When it seems like all is lost, and it's the end of the road, something miraculous happens that turns around our situations. Imani's music is inclusive and open to everyone. The sense of family they have in the band extends to their fans. Sounds of Imani has been featured on Inner Court Live TV with Gregory Pearson Sr. and Carl B. Phillips, hosts of the YouTube tv show; as well as Jerry Royce Live (Atlanta, GA).