Saturday, January 31, 2015


Who are you? Where Are you from Etc?

Yolonda Lavender
Kalamazoo, Michigan

2.Now Miss lavender, how long have you been a vocalist? not to show age but what year did you start?

Started singing when in the church choir when I was 5. Started singing professionally in 2005.

3.What was the moment you fell in love with music or earliest recollection of music?

Music has always been a part of my life. My family is very musically inclined. I remember my dad teaching me Rappers Delight and making beats on the table at dinner time. I remember there was always something playing while we would be cleaning up or just around the house. Everything from gospel, soul, r&b, etc. Music has always been a part of me!

3.Who are some of your influences and what have you adopted from each into your signature style and brand?

My mom sings and she is a huge influence.
I'm really inspired by artists who have found a way to maintain who they are and not lose that while doing what they love. Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Galdys Knight, Chaka Khan, Anita Baker, Sade, all those legends and I really relate to Marvin Gaye, Donnie Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone,  and those who used their art to motivate change, talk about something with substance and assist people in keeping their head up and being confident at a time when it was difficult to do so. 

4.I wanted to congratulate you on your graduation, and i notice you do alot of work in the community within our culture and heritage, In your surroundings what are some things you can see that needs to change as far as community unity etc?

Thanks! There's a lot that needs to change but the one thing I want to encourage artists to do is be mindful of their impact. As an artist you have a responsibility everytime you get behind that mic. Be intentional about using your artistry to empower, uplift, educate, inspire change and create good vibes and energy. That's so important!

5.What is the local scene like where you live ?

t's great! We've got an amazing art scene in Kalamazoo. It's a city that embraces art and I'm grateful for that. My wish is for the embracing of diverse forms of art, diversity in art and supporting local artist to increase.

6.What was the moment or event that you noticed or realized you have a talent for your craft that you wanted to pursue you gift?

One was when I was 14 and the choir director at church said that I needed to be in the adult choir because at that time youth were not allowed to sing in the adult choir. So I knew then that God was using me and the gift He gave me. Another was in 2007 I think. One day I went to the studio with my label mates from Truth Tone Records after they had been asking me repeatedly to come, lay down some vocals and just try it out. I finally went. I remember stepping in the booth, putting on the head phones and immediatley being hooked! From that point on I started to record more, perform more and the rest is history. 

7.What inspires you o create and does the local scene affect your creative process?

I'm inspired by what happens all around me every day. Sometimes that involves the local scene and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes I create based on topics like love, family, relationships and sometimes I create based on my frustration with police brutality or the prison industrial complex or disparities in education and health and sometimes it can be as simple as me being proud of how nappy my hair is or loving the color of my skin. What's around me inspires me.  

8. What are some of your current projects and where can we find them?

iTunes has my first EP Soul Artistry and my first full length album The Genres of Me. Both are also available on Amazon, Spotify, Rhapsody and CD Baby. 

9.What are some of your future projects and which ones are you looking forward to most?

By the end of March I plan to release a project that's going to be live remakes of songs I've previously recorded. I'm super excited about it! I've work with some amazing musicians from around the country and it's gonna be dope! I wanna do a Christmas EP and also by the end of 2015 another full length album because I've been writing SO MUCH and have been experiencing SO MUCH that I've gotta get matched with some music and get out!

10.Which do you feel the most excitement or captivated by performances or recording ?

Performances for sure because the energy of the people is right there and we just feed off of one another. It's amazing! Also for me, the stage is the equivalent of a couch in a therapists office. That's where I get it all out. For me that's exciting and I'm grateful for it. 

11.What is your creative process like? I am a producer but love hearing the creative process from artist to producers?

My creative process is that I just do it! I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and just write something that wouldn't let me rest. When something happens I document it right away. When I just need to release something I just record it in the moment. Sometimes I write to beats, sometimes I write lyrics and find music that fits it. Sometimes I convey to a musician or producer what I feel or want and they nail it. It all just depends. But I've learned to just do it and let if flow, not to stifle that process is important. 

12.Do you represent any companies or labels? if so who are they and how long have you been established with them?

Truth Tone Records is an independent label based out of Kalamazoo, MI that was established in 2005. I've been rockin with them since the beginning. My cousin Kevin Lavender Jr. is the CEO and we're all a family. For us it's about so much more than the music. We're intentional about using the art for engagement with youth, community and so much more. 

13.What separates you and your brand from every one else as an artist?

I am the art. It's a direct reflection of who I am as a person. I could never be in it for anything that's not genuine because that's not me. I'm gonna write songs that reflect what's happening around me and it's going to be relevant to the climate of our world and I'm gonna do it in a way that makes people think about themselves, what role they're playing and what they can do to make some things happen. And I'm putting out art that allows that to happen for a grandmother of 12 who lived through the Civil Rights Movement and a 12 year old young lady who needs to know that she's valuable, worthy and can do and be anything she wants, and everyone in between. 

14.What if more than one is the message you work to convey to the world and your fans?
ove. peace. and God. 

15.What are some jewels that you would like to pass along for aspiring artists that you have learned in your career?

Be true to you. If you're not in it for the love then please don't do it. 

16.How can we stay connected to you?

FB,(Yolonda of Truth Tone Records) Twitter-@YosSOULARTISTRY, IG,@yossoulartistry YouTube-yogilavender Reverbnation-Yolonda Lavender Soundcloud-Yolonda Lavender 

16.Do you have any special thanks or shout outs that you'd like to give feel free to do so?

My family especially my parents for introducing me to music early.
Truth Tone Records
my fellow laborers of the art, keep creating!
all those who support me and my work...thank you!
7.Any final thoughts or words to the readers?
Love God, love others, love yourself.

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