The London-Born Singer "Jacinth" "Hears From Heaven" In Her Latest Gospel Album!
Tell me a little bit about your background. Where are you from and how did you get started in music? I was born in London to Jamaican parents. I'm now spending time between the UK and Zimbabwe. I started singing in church. My mum and her sisters sang together as a duet/trio/quartet all their lives. They were renowned in the church for their gutsy style of singing which influenced us growing up.
I began singing at 13yrs with a German band called Malcolm’s Locks. That opened doors to other singing opportunities. At the tender age of 16, I auditioned for backing vocals for the internationally acclaimed pop group, Boney M, as part of their backing support act, the Black Beauty Circus. Together we performed for hundreds of thousands of people at international venues across the globe, including Russia (the Soviet Union as it was then), where Boney M was the first western band ever to perform live behind the “iron curtain”. We toured Europe, the Middle East, South America, etc. The list is endless!
Later sang with Body, Soul, and Spirit as one of their lead singers. We recorded one single which went into the charts. I formed a three-girl band called JVC. That did not last. In the very same year, I began recording my very first solo reggae album with British arranger /producer /songwriter, Tony King. Tony was a highly respected arranger of strings for reggae records who also collaborated with Status Quo.
I formed another three-girl band named ‘New Branch’ and we toured abroad making a few appearances. Never satisfied with just sitting and allowing grass to grow under my feet, I expanded into doing more session work; by so doing was invited to appear on a Charity Relief song called ‘A place in the sun’ in aid of victims of the devastating floods that hit Jamaica. I featured in Gary Clails video from the hit single ‘Escape’. Also appeared on O.U. sound’s British tour featuring Jessa Ray (songwriter of Diana Ross’s top ten single ‘Upside down’), supported ‘Tact Head’ (American rock group), and others.
Performed in San Francisco with Akabu at the ‘Reggae on the River’ festival. Also appearing at the same festival were, ‘Third World’, ‘Freddie McGregger’ along with many other international artists. I Appeared with Akabu at the Nottinghill Carnival where they were well received. These various experiences and exposure have really helped to define and shape my distinctive style.
I have completed the recording of a gospel EP, which is the forerunner of an album for which material for the associated tracks is written and ready for studio work. The EP, called “Hear from Heaven” is published online. You can get copies via the various online music stores including CD Baby, Band Camp, Spotify, Amazon, etc. More details are on my web site www.jacinth-live.com.
Prior to your success what did you see as a major drawback of being a new artist? Getting my name out there and being recognized has been a major hurdle.
What is your vocal range? I am a classically trained Soprano but can sing most parts. I do have an extensive vocal repertoire incorporating classical, theatrical, jazz, gospel, and Soul Inflexions. I was very fortunate o have regular vocal sessions with the classically trained American music teacher and choir director, Cheryl Saunders, at a critical stage in my career which helped immensely in furthering my vocal training and development.
What have people who had heard your music say about your vocal style that sets you apart from other vocalists? Some have liked my voice and style to the Great Dionne Warwick. With tonal qualities like Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul. Some say in my mellow tones I come across more like Natalie Cole and I guess that is due to my gospel and jazz influences.
Who is your independent Artist today? Le Andria Johnson, the American winner of the BET gospel singing competition show Sunday Best.
As an independent artist, what are some of the challenges you face? The biggest challenge is promoting my material. That said I have now got professional help with my website www.jacinth-live.com from a UK-based lady called Marva Lord who runs Griots Arts. Khemi Shabaaz has been proving multimedia support and handling my digital content.
How would you describe your music to those who have never heard it before? Gospel RnB with a fusion of various genres.
Who are your musical influences? I grew up listening to a variety of music from different genres. Growing up in church also influenced my music taste and experiences. Musically, I've been influenced by, Whitney Houston’s style and grace, Adele’s writing and vocal quality, Luther Vandross, Be Be and Ce Ce Winans, LeAndrea Johnson, Aretha Franklin, Billy Holliday, Anita Baker, Jill Scott, Toni Braxton, Mary J Blige, Lauran Hill, Chaka Khan, Ledisi, Amy Winehouse Sade, Angie Stone, India Arie, Aliyah, Donnie Mcclurkin, Kirk Franklin, Mark Beswick, Steve Wonder, Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, John Holt, Zimbabwe’s Oliver Mtukudzi and the acclaimed South African singer, Vusi Mahlasela.
Add to this I am a classically trained soprano. This got me to feature in a live musical by Andrew Crookall, the ‘Resurrection’ where I played Salome. This was a musical story about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The world premiere was in Hertfordshire; staged to a full house of about 600 people a night over a period of one week and had a live recording with the original cast to CD!
How do you prepare yourself mentally for public opinion (either positive or negative) when you’re preparing for a new song release? I focus on my music and let that speak.
What advice would you give to new artists entering the changing industry? Get your digital footprint up to date. Use all the platforms out there. Be focused on who you are and what it is you want to achieve.
What other talent do you have that your fans may not know about you? As I alluded to earlier, I am classically trained; I play the keyboard and I am also a vocal coach. I have a keen interest in choirs and was the founder and director of the University choir during my university studies. This was later adopted as a formal ensemble with participating students gaining units contributory to their music degree course.
How many singles/albums do you have out presently and what is your favorite album/song to date? Currently, I have two singles out, Hear from Heaven and Already Missing You. Also, I have a single with Boysland, Body, Soul, and Spirit, As Is and I’ve recorded on various Boney M tracks. It's difficult to say which is my favorite as I like what I have produced. If I had to pick a favorite I would choose the track called, “The Lord Will Provide” from my current EP, “Hear from Heaven”.
Tell me about your latest album/ song and what was your inspiration behind it? Is it out now and where can people buy it? My latest release, Hear From Heaven, is a gospel EP. The inspiration is from my everyday encounters and how my faith has helped me to deal with it. Speaking about your challenges is real and is sometimes easier relayed in a song form.
What advice would you like to give to an upcoming artist? Really to remain focused get your digital footprint up to date. Love who you are and be you. Be authentic.
Hear from Heaven | Jacinth Mhende (bandcamp.com)