[Music] New Music, Old Soul


When one of my friends called and said Jaguar Wright was coming to Jackson, he had difficulty finding words to describe her voice. Wright's singing transports you from reality to another world where melodies float freely and you can rest easily. When the vocalist couldn't recollect the title of one of her favorite songs from fellow Philadelphian Bilal's album "First Born Second," she sang most of it to me. Her sound did more for the lyrics than any song title could have. If you appreciate music—real music—you already appreciate Jaguar Wright.

What is neo-soul?

It doesn't exist. The word "neo" means new. Soul is not new. Soul music is any kind of poem, sonnet, thought or prayer expressed at the highest form that a human being is capable of. It's a wish, a hope, a threat, a promise. Honest music.

Who are your musical inspirations?

Everything and nothing. Everyone and no one. As human beings, we're influenced by every sound from the time that we're born. So, I think every great singer, writer, artist has influenced me in one way or another. Certain ones I lean more towards because of my fondness, but life is my greatest influence.

What elements or characteristics of your music do people often miss?

People love my music, and they don't know why they love it. I don't think there's anything that anyone really misses. There are subconscious listeners who just like the way it sounds, conscious listeners who pay attention, intense listeners who pay attention to the lyrics and study them. Everyone gets it, even the ones who don't. If that wasn't true, I wouldn't be who I am. I've never sold a million records, or had a No. 1 single, but people still know the work. The point gets across even when it's misplaced.

If I were to put your MP3 player on shuffle, what are five songs I might hear?

"In a Sentimental Mood" (Duke Ellington) "A Love Supreme" (John Coltrane); "Kind of Blue" (Miles Davis); "Scandalous" (Prince); and track 13 on Bilal's "First Born Second" album.

What can a person who's never seen Jaguar Wright in concert expect when they come see you Friday night?

I'm the wrong person to ask … the reason I say that is because I work in spirit. … expect me! And expect me to always give a 100 percent whether I'm sick or well, or have only 75 percent of my voice.

Jaguar Wright promotes her latest album, "Divorcing Neo 2 Marry Soul," in concert Friday, Oct. 13, at the TelCom Center. 10 p.m. Tickets available at BeBop. Visit www.jaguarwright.com


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