For my friends who are traveling to Ethiopia soon, be sure to check her out while she's still performing there.
I had an opportunity to ask Jae a few questions and she was kind enough to share with me here. Kick back and meet the woman behind this powerful voice....Jae Franklin!!! (While you're reading more about Jae Franklin below, feel free to open a new browser window and listen to her song "Beautiful Soul" on her MySpace page....http://www.myspace.com/jaefranklin)
How long have you been singing?
I began singing at age 6 which contributed to me receiving training in voice at an early age. By the time I was a teen, I was performing at a professional level. I was accepted into The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, TX where I honed my musical abilities in singing, songwriting, and arrangement.
Who do you gain your greatest inspiration from in pursuing your passion?
My greatest inspiration comes from Rachelle Ferrell, an American vocalist and musician. Although she has had success in the mainstream scene, she is also recognized for her success as a contemporary jazz singer. Her artistic expression is unparalleled. As an artist known throughout the world, she inspires me to keep pursuing my passion.
Where are you performing now? How long will you be there?
I am currently in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia performing at the Sheraton Hotel. I will be in Addis Ababa until August 2010.
How did that come about?
This opportunity came about by a referral from a very talented vocalist, Adam McKnight, who has worked with everyone from Louis St. Louis to Elton John. He suggested to Richard Smith, the music director for this band, that I be considered for one of the female vocalist positions they had available at the time. He contacted me to see if I was interested. We had a pleasant conversation too.
At the time, I had a song on my Myspace page in which I had written and arranged called Beautiful Soul. He listened to it and contacted me again to ask if I'd like to go to Addis and sing with the band. It happened in the span of approximately two weeks and was really that simple.
What have you learned the most while in Ethiopia?
It's something that I always knew, but life itself is a blessing. Everything else pales in comparison. Just to wake up every day and breathe and have functioning limbs and senses is not to be taken for granted. I've learned that I am definitely going to be back!
If at all, how has your experience in Ethiopia changed you?
I am changing every day. Before I came to Ethiopia, which was the beginning of 2010, I knew a change would occur in my life. I just didn't know what opportunity would propel me to realize that change. I can honestly say that coming to this developing country has made me want to contribute my time to non-government and non-profit organizations that want to bring about change, especially for women and children in Ethiopia and other developing countries.
Where can people purchase your music?
My music will be available for free download on May 5th via my website, http://www.Jaefranklin.com, and social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter.
If you liked what you read and heard, please do me a favor and spread the word about Jae Franklin. I'm sure she'd REALLY appreciate your support!
Also, if you can, shoot by Jae's Facebook page and show her some love by posting on her wall. Let her know that you read about her on my blog!