How would you describe your music to any person who may have never heard it before? JoDavi: It is very passionate with a mixture of mainly soul, funk, and reggae.
What’s the significance of your musical moniker?
J: My first name is Joshua, and my middle name is David. I just put those two names together to get JoDavi [pronounced Joe-Daw-Vee]. What are your influences? J: Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire, the 5th Dimension, Lauryn Hill, India Arie, Simon and Garfunkel… too many to list. What are your musical inspirations? J: Definitely Tommy Sims, Earth Wind and Fire, and India Arie.
If given the chance, what musician(s) would you like to collaborate with? Rather this is to either write a song or be featured on a track. J: I would love to collaborate with Tobe Nwigwe. I’d love to write an orchestral arrangement to a song we’d work on together, and sing a hook or something while he raps the verses.
What's your brand new album about? J: The deluxe edition of, Zion, is a story of struggle, freedom, and redemption. It’s a journey of finding the truth, walking in it, and bringing as many people along as possible. It starts with a refrain that comes back again in the middle and end of the album. In between the refrains, it tells a story of a people once chained, but being set free, and then journeying together to Mt. Zion; the famed mountain that many of our negro spirituals, and old African hymns sing about.
What’s something you hope people take away from the new songs on the record? J: I remember in Lauryn Hill’s MTV Unplugged album, she said, "That whatever her music is supposed to convey to whoever receives it, that is what it was meant for." In other words, my desire is for people to take away what they need to take away from the album. There is so much content in it, that sometimes I have a different understanding of what I wrote later than I did when I wrote a particular song. I just want people to listen, be open, and take in what they need. Which songs on the album were the most fun to write and which were the most challenging to write? J: The absolute most fun song to write was "Procession." I think it also was the most challenging. It’s the biggest sounding song on the album with the full band, full orchestra, and a small choir. There are three different sections, and the song is meant to be sung sort of like a 5th Dimension tune; very collectively with no one lead singer. It took me a while to figure out how I wanted each section, but once I figured it out, it easily became one of my favorites. Do you have any favourite songs on the forthcoming album? J: I think my top favorite is the song "Return (With No Due Respect)," as it speaks to topics that I am very passionate about, things that have angered me concerning the Black community -my community- and how we’ve been handled over the decades, and puts it in a song that starts off angry and somewhat militant. What I love about it is that I think it portrays the angers very well, but doesn’t stay there, as the refrain at the end quotes a passage from the Hebrew prophets about to fathers returning to their children. This symbolizes families coming back together and being strengthened.
I never want to have an aimlessly mad piece of work without having some sort of glimmer of hope.
Do you have any favourite songs to perform live? Could be your own music or even a
cover. Any reason why? J: My favorite song to perform live right now is probably one of my older funk tunes called "Again." It’s just a simple love song, but it has an extended James Brown-type funky section with the horns featured. It’s always a dancer. We usually perform that one last when we’re live.
If you could perform a show this very second anywhere in the world, where would it be?
J: Anywhere that’s outside by an ocean! I could perform in an amphitheater in Caesarea, Israel, or a festival in Virginia Beach. I just love to play outdoors with my full band which is around 16 people on stage together. That’s the goal!
What do you currently have planned for the remainder of the year? J: This summer I’m playing a huge concert series in Oakland, CA, called Oakland First Fridays. After that I’m in Atlanta for the Taste of Soul Festival. On September 16 and 17th, I have some shows in the Carolinas; one of them being with a full orchestra. Then my musicians and I head off to Europe for some shows in Paris, then it’s Reno for the Offbeat Music Festival!
Thanks for the time today. Is there anything else you may want to add before you go? J: Now that the deluxe version of Zion is out on vinyl, my team and I will be promoting it everywhere. Go to jodavi.bandcamp.com to order a limited edition physical copy!