Thursday, August 6, 2020

20 questions (pandemic edition) with Zamani

This week we check in with award-winning Halifax singer, songwriter, producer, Zamani.

During this time of social distancing and dark venues, Halifax Presents continues to check-in with members of our arts community to find out how they are staying creative and managing during the pandemic.

This week we check in with award-winning Halifax singer, songwriter, and producer, Zamani.

1. How are you staying creative during the pandemic?

I am fortunate enough to have a home studio where I’ve been spending a lot of time producing/writing/engineering/recording songs than ever before. I have also been spending a considerable amount of time painting and drawing, which is another medium I like to use to express my creativity.

2. What’s the one thing getting you through?

The one thing getting me through this time is music. When I get into making a song, I lose all sense of time, and I dive into the process, it helps the days go by much faster.

3. How are you staying in contact with family and friends who are not in your bubble?

Something my family and extended has been doing throughout this time is family Zoom call check-ins every two weeks where we make time to catch up with one another, It’s so wholesome, and I always look forward to it.

4. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far during the pandemic?

The biggest lesson that I’ve learned during the pandemic is productivity. I would always tend to take my time with things I’d have to do whether it was assignments during school or other things of that nature, but seeing as now I have nothing but time on my hands I’ve learned how to be productive even in times where we lack in structure/schedule such as now.

5. What do you feel the most grateful for right now?

The things that we take for granted and go unnoticed, like the sun, the moon, the stars, flowers, trees, fresh air. I have been spending a lot more time outside, and it’s caused me to notice things about the world I never allowed myself the time to see before the pandemic. I’ve become a lot more aware of and connected to my surroundings.

6. What is something you are doing now that you don’t normally?

Sleeping in. I used to be a morning person, I would wake up early and do a workout, but lately, I’ve been sleeping the days away. I’m certainly trying to shake this newly developed habit, though.

7. What skill have you developed since the pandemic started?

I produce and record all of my music on my own. I have been making so many songs lately that I’ve started to learn a bit more about studio engineering and how to process vocals and other instruments in the studio.

8. What have you missed the most?

I’ve missed going to and performing at some of the usual summer events around the city, such as the Halifax TD Jazz Festival. I miss singing in front of a live audience. In general, human interaction on a large scale you’d get from going to a concert or a show.

9. Your #1 pandemic survival tip.

My #1 tip would be to give yourself a schedule or at least a list of things to do at the beginning of the day, it keeps you busy, and for me, it helps to make things feel as normal as they can be right now.

10. Your biggest indulgence since the pandemic started.

My biggest indulgence has been ice cream mochi for sure.

11. What have you stockpiled?

I’ve stocked up on art supplies like canvases, paints and paintbrushes.

12. What have you been reading?

I’ve been reading The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin, a great fantasy novel.

13. What have you been watching?

I’ve been watching cartoons on Netflix a lot because they’re fun lighthearted and keep my mood uplifted.

14. What have you been listening to?

I’ve been listening to a lot of local artists from Halifax, and I teamed up with ACCEHFX, a network of professionals and community leaders to put together an apple music playlist of songs by Nova Scotian artists on the rise.

15. What are you doing for exercise?

I try to exercise at least 20 or 30 minutes daily, but nature walks have been my favourite form of exercise lately.

16. The one thing you haven’t been able to live without?

I haven’t been able to live without Pinterest. I enjoy making Pinterest boards when I have ideas for visuals or songs, and I compile images to represent the feel I’m going for in a song.

17. Do-it-yourself haircut or the natural look?

Natural look!!

18. Night owl or early riser?

Night owl all the way.

19. Will you be the first out as restrictions are gradually lifted or taking a wait-and-see attitude?

A bit of both. I’ve been excited to see that restaurants are opening back, and I’ll occasionally go with a small group of friends, but I’m also enjoying the quiet of there being fewer things to do and places to go to.

20. What’s the first thing you will do when this is all over?

The first thing I’ll do is go on a little trip with my close friends, we had planned to go on a road trip this summer, but the pandemic postponed those plans. I am excited to get back out there and live life again!

Meet Zamani

This award-winning Halifax singer, songwriter, a producer is taking the East Coast music scene by a storm. Zamani made her foray into solo performing at a church benefit concert. Following that, her reputation soared after being praised by the late Sharon Jones (Sharon Jones and the Dapp Kings) when the legendary soul singer saw Zamani perform with her father at the Halifax TD Jazz Festival.

Folding inspiration from divas past and present such as Ella Fitzgerald, Natalie Cole, India Arie, Jill Scott, Eyrika Badu, and Beyonce, Zamani has found a voice all her own as she skillfully delivers a unique brand of R&B, soul, urban jazz and pop compositions exploring themes of amour propre, Black identity and love relationships.

Zamani has performed at world-class events in Europe, the US and the Caribbean. In 2019 Zamani performed at New Skool Rules Festival in Rotterdam; opened for R&B veterans Maya and Genuwine and Pop legends UB40, at the St. Lucia Roots and Soul Festival;  and ended the year performing to an audience of more than 5,000 at the annual Boston Tree Lighting Concert.

Zamani’s local performance credits include everything from The East Coast Music Awards, Nova Scotia Music Week, Halifax Pop Explosion, to The TD Jazz Festival.

In addition to attending the prestigious Gordie Sampson Song Camp,  Zamani has collaborated with East Coast favourites such as T. Thomason, Ria Mae, and Port Cities. She has studied jazz performance with Jeff Goodspeed and performed with renowned Canadian classical pianist Daniel Wnukowski.

She has appeared on local and regional CBC Radio, Global TV, and CTV; and has been featured in the Boston Globe, Trinidad Guardian, Halifax Coast Magazine and named a rising star in the Dalhousie University Student Gazette.

In 2018 Zamani received ANSMA’s Portia White Youth Music Award and the Jeri Brown Jongleur Youth Arts Award. In 2019 she won ANSMA’s Emerging Artist Award, and in July 2019, Zamani won the prestigious Halifax TD International Jazz Festival Stingray Rising Star Award. In September 2019, Zamani received the Atlantic Film Festival Award (FIN) for Best Atlantic Original Score, and in February 2020, Zamani won the ANSMA Rising Star Award.

With performance videos released to YouTube (Outside, Switchin Lanes, Lush Life), songwriting collaborations in progress with artists in Montreal and Washington DC, and plans in motion to release a debut recording and video in 2020, Zamani continues to catch the attention of music industry influencers and is on track to putting Nova Scotian songwriting and musical excellence on the international stage.

You can find out more about Zamani online zamanimusic.ca or follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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