Slidin’ Thru: Jade Novah

August 16, 2018

Read the full interview on YoungCalifornia.com!

Singer, actress, comedian, and social influencer Jade Novah proves she can do it all. Hailing from Cleveland but now residing in Los Angeles, real name Lindsay Johnson describes herself as a creator above all else, here to entertain the masses effortlessly. Read more…

Jade is a testimony to all aspiring independent artists, utilizing the resources she can to create meaningful art that listeners can’t help but gravitate toward. What started out as an online presence, accumulating over 40 million views across a combination of covers, sketches, and original tunes, has now turned into a platform to elevate individuals across the world.

Teasing fans with her “All Blue” music video, Jade showcased her unique blend of pop, hip-hop, and R&B, with a touch of soul, sass, and style. Now, she unleashes her full-length debut album All Blue, home to standout tracks “Intuition” and “Next To You.”

Where do you fit in the realm of hip-hop and R&B?
Honestly, I think I’m a combination of both. My new project has a lot of hip-hop influence. The 90’s raised me. I grew up on 90’s R&B and hip-hop, so I think this project is a good juxtaposition of R&B and hip-hop. I’m right at the apex.

You’re from Cleveland, how does that play into your life and music?
Being from the Midwest, it was challenging because there wasn’t much of an industry. I kind of had to work three times as hard as people who were thriving in cities that actually had an industry or actually had tools to help them succeed. And this was before social media when I was growing up, so we just had to be a little more outside the box. But I’m grateful for that, because it helps now.

Even with social media because even though we have access to reach the masses without a label — we can create our own content online — it’s an oversaturation of that. So because of the resourcefulness that I had trying to figure it out in a small city, I can apply that in the social media world and try to figure out creative ways to stand out in the interwebs.

Can you talk about your journey as an independent artist?
I started out using social media, I would do covers. My husband, who’s my producer, he would reproduce the records and we would actually shoot full on videos for these covers. That’s what kind of helped us have an edge. We would do songs that were in the top 10 of the Billboard and shoot videos before the artists did. We would generate a lot of traffic that way, and we would build a fanbase that way. Once we got solid fan base, we got to the point where we were ready to start making original content.

In the meantime, I was singing background vocals for other artists. I sang background for Rihanna. I did two tours with her. I sang background with Eminem. I was with him for like a year. Most recently, I was a vocal coach and mentor for the show on Fox called The Four. So I kind of lived in a lot in different spaces, and now it’s just a time to put out this original music.

This entire time, you’ve been wanting to be your own artist?
Absolutely, and I have been, but it’s been a slow process. Because I wanted to maintain my creative control, so I didn’t go with the major-label situation. I wanted to do it independently. Going down the path takes a little longer than my major counterparts.

What’s been the biggest challenge being an independent artist?
Money. Just trying to figure out how to do everything with limited resources because I don’t have a major label behind me. I mean it’s a challenge but again, it boils down to that resourcefulness and honestly, it’s helped me more than it’s hurt me.

At what point did you realize this was forreal? The artistry.
When I started to see that people actually cared about the art that I was putting out. I’ve always been doing this, but now that there are hundreds of thousands of people who I know will always be tuned into what I do, I felt like, “Okay. I’m an artist and it means something more than just me doing it for myself.”

I walked in and I saw the Empire logo, those are all my peoples. Can you talk about being with Empire and what that means?
Gazzi is such a visionary. I knew that I didn’t want to do a major label situation, but they are an indie label who operates in such a… I don’t know. I can’t describe it. It’s really cool to have connected with a team of people who think the way I do. They don’t come in and say, “This is the song that you’re singing, and this is when it comes out.” They’re looking for people who already have a voice and already have there art taken care of.

They just want to help you figure out how to get it to than most people, so that’s why it works for me. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I was just telling my husband the other day, I’m so grateful that we waited and that we went this way, because it feels right. Empire is the shit.

How important is it to come to LA as an up and coming artist?
It’s important and it’s something I always wanted to do, but I knew that I needed to wait to get here. I actually moved to Atlanta right before I moved here as more of a transitional place. Because the cost of living girl… coming from Cleveland, LA is insane. It’s important, but I knew that I had to be here with a plan and I needed to have foundation before I moved out here. But very necessary because so many organic opportunities come from just being here.

Debut album, All Blue, out this week! How you feeling?
Woo! I feel fantastic. I feel lighter. I needed to get out.

Talk about the creative process behind the project and how long it took you.
Because I do so many different things, it took a little longer then if I just had been able to allocate two months to doing it. But it was cool. I created it with my husband so it was very organic and casual. We created it on the go whenever we could. It was a really good process. It took about nine months to finish. Honestly, I didn’t even start off with any sort of preconceived notion of what it would be. It just started spilling out.

As I started getting maybe three fourths of the way through the project, I realized that every song had some element of elevation in it. That just became the underlying theme of the project. Sonically and musically, it’s very eclectic, but the tie that binds everything is just that concept of elevation. It kind of came together really cool and I didn’t even plan it to be that way. I guess that’s just where I am and I’m just projecting where I am into my art.

What is it you fans to get from your story?
I want them to know that you have the power. There’s a line in “All Blue” that I say, “We’re all made of stars.” Basically to me, that means that we have to understand how magical we are and how the same stuff that makes up the planets, the universe, all that magical stuff that we see in the sky, that we have the same shit inside of us. We are limitless. We control our destiny and the moment that we align all of that and really take control of our power, we could do anything. I want to be a testament to that.

Can you talk about Keyoncé Bowles and how that came about.
Oh girl. I’m an actress and I’m the youngest of three girls, so I’m an actual entertainer. It’s not even just Keyonce, I’ve always impersonated a lot of different people. But I think the Keyonce one stuck the most because Beyoncé is just a mega-superstar. People are like, “Oh my god, this is so cool, but it really just came from me imitating a bunch of people and my husband saying, “You got to put this online.” So I did and it just stuck.

Has Queen Bey seen it?
I heard that she has. I’ve never heard it from her, but a couple people from her team told me that she’s seen it and she thinks it’s funny.

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
I would be in TV and film. I would still being creator. I could not not create, like I was born to create. It would have to be something creative.

What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
I’m a mother. I’m a wife.

How many kids you got?
I have one. I have one boy. One-and-done baby girl, because this album is my second baby. A typical day, I get up and take care of my family, and then work on my art. No day is the same, there really is no structure. The only thing that is a constant is my family and those are the things that I do every day is take of him. But some form of art whether I’m writing or recording. I mentioned I was doing The Four, I had to stop because my stuff started get a little bit more hectic. But just always creating. Every day I create.

3 things you need in the studio?
Palo Santo. They’re sticks, I burn them all the time. It’s holy wood. It’s really cool and creates vibes. I need my water. And candles. I love setting a vibe.

Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
Daniel Cesar. I love him.

Dream collab?
Childish Gambino.

What’s the best encounter you had with a fan?
Every encounter because everyone is different. It’s different energies. I don’t have one that sticks out more than other, but any time that I meet someone who is connected with my art, it’s an experience. It’s what I do it for. It’s confirmation.

What advice do you have for an aspiring Jade Novah?
Social media. Use social media. We live in a beautiful time where we can create our own art and reach our own fan base. I have a theory that the superstar as a dying concept, because now you can find your tribe and you can sustain with just your people. So find your tribe, create your tribe, and use social media.

Anything else you want to let us know?
You can follow me @JadeNovah. J-A-D-E N-O-V-A-H!

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