On any given Wednesday, you can spot Jahari on campus at North Carolina A&T State University, vibing with a group of people to music and conversations about life. Or at The Artist Bloc in Greensboro, NC on Friday nights in a small intimate space alongside other musicians and artist. None of this is new for Jahari Kweli, who on a few occasions, has pulled the strings of my musical heart and completely blown me away with his raw talent. Despite the buzz that his music has created locally, his spirit has remained so beautiful, his persona still humble, which are two things that are very easy to stray from in any kind of spotlight.
Tell us a little bit about your musical background. What initially sparked your interest? When did you start?
I’ve been around music all my life, growing up in the south, (Fayetteville, NC) I grew up in the church and we all know that goes. Throughout middle school and high school, I played the piano, trumpet, and drums in the school’s bands. When I went home, Otis Redding, Earth Wing & Fire, Jodeci, Erykah and much more were always being played.
What artist would you say spoke to you the most?
I would have to say that D’Angelo’s music really lit that spark in me. As I started to do more research on him to understand his artistry and how he created his music, he began to inspire me. In fact one of the first songs that I really put effort into singing was “How Does It Feel” and I received great feedback which pushed me to continue further.
How has your musical style evolved from where you started to where you are now?
Although I’ve been taking music serious for 5 years, I still feel that I’m learning who I am as an artist. I’ve matured a lot since I first started and it definitely shows. What I’ve experienced throughout those 5 years have changed my thought processes. I’d say that I wasn’t as free spirited when it came to making music back then and having the freedom to create what I want to hear has allowed me to advance and capture the sounds that move me.
Earlier this year, you released a project, Golden Therapy, which I understand has a sequel coming. What can a new audience expect from this EP?
First I’d like to say that Golden Therapy is 100% Jahari Kweli, self-produced and written. I made sure of that because I want this tape to be an introduction to who I am and the various sounds I can create.
Absolutely. After first listen, I could tell this was something the people don’t want to miss. What’s in your earbuds right now? What are you currently listening to?
Ari Lennox from Dreamville Records just dropped her EP Pho and I’m hooked on her song “Goat.”
What genre, aside from neo-soul and R&B influences your music the most?
I would say the listener should be prepared to hear influences from soul, R&B (90’s and textured) , rock, hip-hop, and even some pop.
In terms of longevity, what do you expect to accomplish with your musical gifts? What message would you want to leave an imprint on the hearts of those who listen to your music?
I want to become one of the greatest, mediocre is the farthest thing I aspire to be. Integrating love back into our society can fix most of the problems that we see today. I stand by what Jimi Hendrix had when he stated that “Once the power of love conquers the love of power, the world will know peace.” When someone decides to listen to anything created by me, I want them to be at peace and love is definitely a gateway to feeling that.
Listen to Golden Therapy here:
Photography credits: @geminsgreatest | @bshembo | @ladyacid_