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Interview With Singer-Songwriter JoDavi

You mentioned that your music is a passionate blend of soul, funk, and reggae. Could you elaborate on how these genres come together to create your unique sound?

JoDavi: It’s sometimes hard to put into words. Over the years, my artist friends and peers have asked me how I blend the sounds. I remember struggling to answer for a long time until I realized that the reason I struggle to answer is because I don’t really see it as a blend of sounds. I also don’t sit down at the piano and intentionally try and blend sounds. I love good music; no matter the genre. I love a good song. Some of my favorite songs are of the bluegrass genre for instance. I just absorb and embrace what I like. Usually, it takes some time to marinate, but eventually, ideas just start coming, and I start writing. Sometimes I can clearly identify where the idea came from. Other times, I know it was inspired by something I heard, but I can’t put my finger on it. I just love heartfelt, soulful music, and to me, that spans many genres. Quite literally, I just love good vibrations.

Press shot for soul and funk artist JoDavi.

Your moniker "JoDavi" is a combination of your first and middle names. Does this name hold any personal significance or symbolism in relation to your musical journey?

JoDavi: A few years ago, my moniker was Joshua David. The two names are strong and represent very strong biblical characters. After some time, I felt it needed to be shortened, but I didn’t want to lose either of the names. I wanted Joshua the valiant warrior, and David the king and musician to be together, and this was the final result. 

With such a diverse range of influences, how do you balance incorporating these inspirations into your music while maintaining your own distinct style?

JoDavi: I think that Stevie Wonder is the perfect model for this. He found a way to make the diverse sounds his own distinct style. Like my songwriting in general, I don’t try to be eclectic so I can say that I’m eclectic. It just comes out. And though I do sometimes try, and focus on a particular theme of sounds when releasing singles, I don’t constrict myself to it.

You mentioned Tommy Sims, Earth Wind and Fire, and India Arie as your musical inspirations. Can you point out specific elements from their work that have left a lasting impact on your own creative process?

JoDavi: Tommy Sims is a composer, arranger, producer, and songwriter who does it all. He’s written for wide ranges of artists; from Eric Clapton to Blackstreet. When Sims came out with his solo album, Peace and Love, I was around 11. That album changed my life. I didn’t know so many things could be blended together in that way. It instantly became my top favorite album, and still is today 21 years later. My favorite tracks on that album are ‘Write One’ and ‘Love’s Patience.’ Depending on the day though, any of the tracks can easily be my favorite.

Earth Wind and Fire’s music has always felt so free to me. You can put a genre or two on it, but why would you? It’s just good, free music. It’s pure. It flows. It’s a big band with crisp horns, incredible vocal stylings, a pocket rhythm section, and wondrous lyrics, and it all sounds like it belongs together. They made music that lasts.

For India Arie, I’ve always loved her sound. Back in 2012, my band from the college years opened for her. During her set, she handed me the mic while I was sitting in the crowd, and I sang as she danced. The best part of that was, she had no idea I was the artist from the band that opened for her. She just heard my voice in a sea of about 2000 people, and handed me the microphone. It’s a moment I won’t forget. I wrote about it here just to reminisce. Seeing her live was single-handedly the best live performance I had ever been to. The sounds from that night still grip me today.

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