Ja’Shayla blends sass, soul on journey to RandB stardom
Tiffany Probasco | 4/25/2013, 11:12 a.m.
For singer/songwriter Ja’Shayla, who opens for RandB quartet 112 this Friday at the Wonderland Ballroom, music has always been part of her life, but it wasn’t always part of her career path.
“I came out of the womb humming, so I’ve been singing for my entire life, but started to focus on it more since I was 7,” the Ohio native explains. “Originally, I didn’t think singing could be done as a career; it was a hobby.”
The self-trained singer blends her love of gospel and the influence of personal favorites like Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Mariah Carey and Teena Marie to craft her upbeat pop/RandB sound. Even though she has built a buzz through viral videos and live performances, Ja’Shayla isn’t just about writing and performing music. She counts modeling and sound engineering amongst her talents as well.
This week, she dropped her sophomore mixtape, “From HER Perspective,” a collaboration with DJ Blazita that includes original songs and remixes. It will be available at Friday’s show and online at Jashayla.com and livemixtapes.com.
The Banner sat with the up-and-coming artist to discuss her love of performance, her musical style and why she decided to put down a law degree and pick up a microphone.
You’ve been singing since you were 7 years old. Was there ever anything else that you wanted to do?
I wanted to be a Supreme Court Justice. I went to college and got degrees in law and stuff like that. I guess I didn’t really change my mind; I was doing things simultaneously. But then I began to feel like I couldn’t live without music. I felt like I was suppressing it, but I couldn’t let it go.
Does your family support your career?
My mom and stepdad are very into education, the lawyer-doctor route. On the other side, my dad and stepmom are very artsy people who wanted to put me in “Star Search” when I was like 5. So half is like “yeah yeah yeah” and the other side is “ok.” I was always in a talent show or something, and one day a deal was on the table to go to New York. I was in school, and with the deal, I was going to walk away from school for it. That didn’t sit well with [my mom], so because of that, and other things about the deal, it didn’t go through.
So when finished my education, I was like, “OK, now I’m done. Here you go — here’s my degree, and now I’m going to do a bit more for myself.” Finally, as of this year, mom is coming around to the idea. It has taken her a long time to come around, but she has seen how much I invest in it, and how hard I work. Both sides of my family have found ways to be involved. Now it is a family business.
What inspires the songs that you write?
Most of my music comes from the theme of love. Some of them stem from reality. If it didn’t occur in my life, I draw from people in my life that are all really close to home.