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4 NEW ORLEANS WOMEN: VOCALISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW

4 NEW ORLEANS WOMEN: VOCALISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW

4 New Orleans Women : Vocalists You Should Know

Written By: Christine Brown

History is the very moment that just passed and all the moments they’re before. Therefore, history is being made every day, minute, and second of our lives. It is essential that we time-stamp our existence, cultivate seeds of greatness, and give birth to relevant history; the kind that will last much longer than just our lifetimes; the kind that honors the past and prepares the future.

In the spirit of Women’s History month,  we give thanks for those New Orleans women who have come and gone before us, making it possible for our existence; women like Mahalia Jackson and Oretha Castle Haley. We give thanks for those New Orleans women ancestors who we do not know by name but those hidden figures who have planted the seeds that blossomed into we. We also give thanks for those wise (elder) New Orleans women who have come before us and are still here with us sharing and guiding through their experiences; women like Mama Carol, Mama Vera, and Mama Jennifer. And finally, we give thanks for all the New Orleans women who are blessing the world with their essence and breaking through barriers to simply be.

In this edition of 4 New Orleans Women, we have chosen 4 New Orleans women vocalists we think you should know. They are certainly time-stamping their existence in the hearts, spirits, and memories of others. Through their songs, they share their stories and give volume to the stories of others.

We’ve provided each of these ladies with a few brief interview questions as a way to get a closer look at them as artists, women, business owners, leaders, and more. I’ve also taken the liberty of sharing personal testimonies of their growth and excellence. Visit their site. Follow them on social media. Purchase their music. Support their work. You deserve some of the goodness they are serving.

It is our pleasure, at WCWM: Who’s Coming With Me, to present to you 4 New Orleans Women : Vocalists You Should Know.

 

CASME´

@iamcasme @casmecares @nolasgotit @cafeagape2101

Casme’ (Kaz-May), aka QUEEN OF THE BAYOU, is a New Orleans Indie Singer/Songwriter. She has traveled the world as an Entertainer & Philanthropist. After being away from New Orleans for over a decade, Casme´moved back home in late 2015. Now she is here like she never left, giving back to New Orleans through community works, creativity, fitness events, business ventures, and more.
I had the pleasure of meeting Casme´ on the New Orleans music scene sometime last year and soon learned that she is and does more than an average singer.  This sister is a renaissance woman, making more moves than a Queen on a chess board. She has several music videos, albums, and mixtapes and has even created a new dance with the matching song and movement, called the “Nola Step”.  Everyone (including me, lol) should learn it. As a matter of fact, she has been traveling around the country teaching it to folks. Stay tuned for the forthcoming “Nola Step” video. In the meantime, get to know her a little more by reading her interview below and checking out some of her many endeavors.

What part(s) of New Orleans did you grow up in?

Born in the 10th Ward on Annunciation next door to the St.Thomas Projects. 

Favorite street in New Orleans and why?

Royal Street. It’s a place where musicians, poets, actors, singers, dancers & human statues can be free to express their gifts and/or talents and be paid for it in the namesake of NOLA ART/CULTURE. 

Tell us about any of your non-music related endeavors?

1. I’ve written a book, Daughter of The King 101 available on Amazon designed to guide young girls to womanhood. Basically it’s a 101 rules of being a lady, a devotional and diary. 

2. Casme Cares Community Outreach, a company designed to unite the community through mentoring & educational workshops, free events & concerts and more. Our desire is to uplift at risk youth, homeless, elderly and orphans. 

3. Nola’s Got IT is an event production company I started to showcase some of the passionate people of New Orleans. It’s a huge networking opportunity for like minds & good spirits to be active one with another. Our events include Fitness, Music, Art, Gaming, Athletics & More! 

How long have you been singing?

Since I was 2.

How do you sustain yourself as a singer in New Orleans?

I sing every weekend at different venues in the city for high end weddings & corporate events. I am also blessed to receive residual royalty checks from past work with national projects such as TYLER Perry productions, Grand Hustle Records & now Walmart.  

Coffee or Tea?

Tea. I’m addicted. Part of the reason I’m opening a Cafe lol

Favorite color and number?

I have two lol Royal Blue & Burnt orange. I see 1’s everywhere I turn. 1:11 11:11 1 etc… I had to look it up because at one point it became so in the face to me. It means LIGHT…Illumination…Being on the Right path. 

Favorite Black owned New Orleans restaurant/eatery?

We Dat – Edna Karr Magnet Alumni ya heard me?! I was Miss Karr when I graduated so I have mad school spirit & pride! I rep my alums! 

Best ways you relax?

Praying & Meditating. A Hot Tub. Zen or classical instrumental music. 

Any New Orleans women singer collaborations? If so, who?

Keedy Black will be featured soon on my Nola Step dance song. Soulja Slim’s sister G.I. Peaches recently did a feature on a song, “Down Before” that we’ll soon be releasing and promoting alongside a Bullying/Suicide campaign. There’s a few other talented women with great spirits that I’ll be soon reaching out to for my upcoming album this summer.  

Do you have any mentors and do you mentor anyone?

Jesus, the life He lived, the love He spread and the compassion He had for people inspires me to walk like Him.  Also my mother is a mentor, she’s one of the most talented women I’ve ever met…she can do anything hence the reason I know I can! lol Roderick Glover a motivational speaker in Nashville Tn who motivates me to constantly motivate & inspire our youth with my energy & gifts. Vocal coach/ Acting coach, Delores Burgess, in Atlanta who pushes me towards greatness in an acting/musical productions. I also listen to Joyce Meyer and TD Jakes on a regular. I’ve personally mentored over 40 young girls as apart of my own “4U mentoring”, Usher’s “New Look” & Steve & Marjoree Harvey’s “Girls Who Rule the World” programs worldwide. 

Unique ways you prepare for a show?
Honestly I don’t have any lol I need to do better! I don’t warm up or nothin! But that voice come through in the name of Jesus Everytime!!! 🙌🏾🙌🏾😂

Biggest Moment in your music career?

Traveling the world with many major artists. The last tour I did was the most amazing … I flew out of the country & filled up my passport as background singer for B.O.B. We performed for BET, VH1, Jimmy Kim Mel, the View, Wendy Williams, Jay Leno and on & on! That experience was A huge inspiration to me for my future endeavors. I’ll be back but as CASMÈ Queen of the Bayou! 

Biggest Challenge in your music career?
Balanced being a community activist, artist & multi talented human being. It’s like Lord, which one do you want me to do. I have millions of ideas and 20 gifts. Trying to balance them all has its challenges but I remain faithful to God and try my best to stay connected to His spirit so He leads me and my footsteps. ❤️️

Upcoming 2017 projects? 

Cafe Agape (my music venue/cafe)

Music- 

1. The Nola Step & The Nola Steppers debut! Video, Song & Dance Troupe

2. Work on My New Album (untitled)! Some Grammy Awards hitters are already on deck! 

3. Keep spreading Love throughout the Algiers / Nola Community – (monthly) Blessings on the Bricks free community breakfast & Nola All star Apollo, (quarterly) Nola Gladiators & Love N Basketball & (weekly) Singers Vibe. 

Shout out some of your crew.

My mommy, daddy, 6 sister, brother & all of my beautiful family who support all of my endeavors,the love of my life Gary, my promoter/friend Curt Star w/ 504 Fresh, Co owner of Cafe Agape ..my partner/sister Chaval Barnes, My Nola producer Jamal Batiste, my past managers in Nashville and Atlanta and to new team for Nola’s Got IT & Casme Cares – Eyonka, TK Debbie, J Shine, Ericka, Chaval, Carolyn, Jared, Crystal, Corisma, Cathy, Cekell, Elisha, Morion, Dj Dee & Gary. Thanks to
crew members Martha, Nilo photographer,  & Ja Champ Videographer.
And C Freedom for this opportunity to let my Nola folks know a lil bit more about who I am!! After 16years I’m Home & I’m Happy to be Home!

DENISIA

@whoisdenisia

Denisia, well known for her bounce cover of Adele’s “Hello”, has been holding it down in the music industry for over a decade. I met her back in 2010, when she was going by the name of Princess Denisia. And even though she dropped Princess from her name, she is still The Life of The Party as her hit single proclaimed. Even in 2010, she stood out and above average as a singer/songwriter/performing/recording artist. When she hit the stage, she came with the full package; wardrobe, dancers, choreography, beautiful vocals, and even original songs that keep the crowd engaged, dancing and singing along. Fast forward 7 years and here she is; re-inventing herself, often collaborating with other artists, and steady rising to the top of the in this music industry as an independent New Orleans artist.
Denisia is like our New Orleans Beyonce´. She has such a fierce work ethic and keeps raising the bar every time she performs. In 2016, she is won Best Live Performance and Best Female R&B/Pop/Soul Artist at the Nola Music Awards. And she has been winner the heart of many; including the young people in New Orleans. She is an inspiration and a role model to many of my former high school student. I believe one of them even started a fan page for her.
Denisia takes us on R&B/ Bounce adventures every morning teamed with her comrad, Hasizzle, as they give us life with THE MORNING BEAT. She keeps fresh videos, songs, photo shoots, and shows dropping with her amazing team, keeping her fans satisfied and looking for more. Last week, she re-released her latest album, (currently my favorite album) HIM and held an album release party at Peaches Records, hosted and attended by several New Orleans celebrities. I suggest you to get this album and even subscribe to her youtube, because if you haven’t been following her, then you have much catching up to do.

What part(s) of New Orleans did you grow up in?
Uptown, NO East & Kenner

Favorite street in New Orleans and why?
Valence and Soniat I met and grew with some of the most amazing friends I consider my family now. 

Tell us about any of your non-music related endeavors?

I’m planning more youth outreach events this year. I love children and I want to use my platform in the city to inspire and push the next generation to be their full selves and share their magic with the world.

How long have you been singing?

Since I was 3. My first paid show was at 5 lol. But professionally since 2006.

Coffee or Tea?

Tea.

Favorite color and number?

Orange .. 7

Favorite Black owned New Orleans restaurant/eatery?

WeDats of COURSE!! The best “buffalo cheese shrimp fries ever” #DenisiaSpecial on this side of heaven lol.

Best ways you relax?

Lay inside under the covers and just let pandora roll or watch old movies all day.. I also enjoy hotels with beautiful views that on the highest floors so I could just stare out of the window and just chill.

 Any New Orleans women singer collaborations? If so, who?

I’m really excited to get on a record with Kristen Avian and Ambre Perkins. 

Do you have any mentors and do you mentor anyone?

Yes one of my managers Elbee has been a mentor since I was 16. I have a few young girls that I do mentor from time to time.  

Unique ways you prepare for a show?

Im usually really quiet .. I don’t eat anything before I sing .. and I just zone out until I hear my name. 

Biggest Moment in your music career?

I have a few but one of my biggest moments was when I received my first songwriting placement for co -writing a song called “Love It” for Tamar Braxton.

Biggest Challenge in your music career?

Biggest challenge is dealing with some of the negativity when you are trying to spread love and show the world that anything is possible. But I’m a tough soldier.

Upcoming 2017 projects?

I will be releasing my bounce and soul mixtape in the spring called “Run Dat Beat” My original song “Our Year” will be featured in a film called “No Regrets” this year. 
Shout out some of your crew.

Mom & Dad lol @bdragonimery (my right hand) @ro.armstrong @hasizzlethevoice @sol_inajoe @oglilgod @porshapaints 

@elbeemusik @euniqeent 

CAREN GREEN

New Orleans native, Caren Green is a mother, author, poet, an motivational speaker. She has invested much of her time working with youth in the New Orleans community, through education and mentoring. Recently she has taken  her career to the next level by pursuing music full-time. We, at WCWM, couldn’t be more proud of her, after all, that is part of what the Who’s Coming With Me movement is all about.
I met Caren in 2008 and had the privilege of photographing her in the beginning stages of my photography career. Here voice, spirit, and style has remained one of my favorites throughout the years. Caren has even turned it up a few more notches as she released her debut album “The Green House Effect”,  January 2017. Her Album Release Party, hosted by renowned poet/mc Sunni Patterson, was held in the New Orleans Jazz Market auditorium; standing room only. This release party was truly a great propeller in the New Year for every one who attended, including myself.
Caren Green’s first single “Air I Breathe” is an extremely heart felt song that she dedicated to her sons. The inspiration for this song came from an unfortunate violent act in the city that claimed the life of an innocent young child. Though the child was not a child that Caren knew, she knew that it could have been anyone’s child, even hers or any of the young people she works with throughout the city.
The sincerity and compassion in Caren’s singing/songwriting is what sets her apart from many. Her lyrics to The Air I Breathe, and its video, make “Air I Breathe” a timeless mother to child song. Her album, The Green House Effect, is comprised of this song and ten others that can be purchased at here. This album has the potential to be Grammy Nominated and we at WCWM, will do what we can to support it getting the exposure it deserves.
Caren Green is the WCWM Featured Artist of the Month and we will be talking about her all month long so get used to the name and support the artist!

What part(s) of New Orleans did you grow up in?

New  Orleans East

Favorite street in New Orleans and why?

My favorite street in New Orleans is Leonidas, I have a lot of fun memories  hanging with friends going to beauty shops, seating on my friends stoop, and being a teenager and yung adult. this street comes to mind it was the gateway to so many great memories.

Tell us about any of your non-music related endeavors?

I am a doula,  future author of The Greenhouse Effect, and I am also very invested in the mental wellness of our youth and young adults. I serve on the board of Divine Intervention an agency that provides such services. I receive so much light from both and don’t take for granted how important the work is.

How long have you been singing?

I started singing in church at the age of 4.

How do you sustain yourself as a singer in New Orleans?

I know its apart of my divine purpose. So I EXPECT it to yield provision, open doors, and stability, because it is what I am supposed to do.  I  remain consistent  in the building process., which includes the building of our youth, city, and community.

Coffee or Tea?

neither lol

Favorite color and number?

white and 304

Favorite Black owned New Orleans restaurant/eatery?

Neyow’s and Not Too Fancy Bakery

Best ways you relax?

Pajamas and Mommy and Me time with my sons

Any New Orleans women singer collaborations?

None yet. In the future I would love to collab with Indie Wrytes and Tank and the Bangas.

Do you have any mentors and do you mentor anyone?

My first mentor was Lady BJ Crosby she recently passed last year. I am so grateful to have my Pastor Ava Richardson and Dr. Holden as my current mentors/ life coach. Everyone needs someone to help them climb.

Unique ways you prepare for a show?

Lol. Overwork myself which is not healthy. I love to laugh and often seek to have people around me who can aid me in such humor.

Biggest Moment in your music career?

My album release last month. I conquered all kinds of fears that day. That day I realized I can do anything I put my mind and faith too.

Biggest Challenge in your music career?

Becoming Fearless!!. I still struggle with fear of the unknown, age, and overall wonder. but I wake up and fight it everyday. And Everyday I win!! I want my sons to know all things are possible and I want to be the example.

Upcoming 2017 projects? 

I am also a future author. I am currently working on my book. The Greenhouse Effect.ease of album: Green w/ Indie ,  and tons of other infinite possibilities.

YAHJAH

@yahjahsings @evolutionfitnessnola

Allow me to introduce you to baby of these four artists, YahJah. She is one of the newest r&b/neo soul singer/songwriter sensations in New Orleans and has been pursuing music for the shortest time of the four. However, she is coming out hard and learning as she goes.  I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing her metamorphosis from a fragile caterpillar,in its cocoon stage, into a fierce butterfly, steadily gaining new colors and patterns with each stretch of its wings. I’ve known her the longest of all of the four, all her life actually. She is my baby sister and I am very proud of her for sharing herself and shining her light as an artist.
YahJah is a poet, as well as a recording and performing artist who has recently been gracing quite a few stages and even some air waves throughout the city. Not long ago, she released her new song, “Who Do You Turn To”. She has a video shoot schedule this month, March 17, for her previously released hit single, Sunrise. This will be Yahjah’s first official video shoot. You can be a part of the video shoot by RSVPing to sunrisevideoshoot@gmail.com.
Yahjah’s first single “More To Me” will be featured in upcoming short film, The Essence of N.O.W. : A Short Film later this year.  She also anticipates the release her debut EP mid-late 2017. Stay tuned and stay connected because this is only the beginning.

What part(s) of New Orleans did you grow up in?

Seabrook or the 8th ward, some refer to it as Gentilly

Favorite street in New Orleans and why?

Music Street. Aside from the obvious, I lived on this street for majority of my childhood. 

Tell us about any of your non-music related endeavors?

I fell in love with Pilates about 5-7 years ago. Recently, I’ve obtained my license to teach mat Pilates and started my business, Evolution Fitness Nola.

I absolutely love children of all ages.  I nanny sporadically and do my best to ensure I maintain an active relationship with my 20 plus nieces and nephews. 

How long have you been singing?

I don’t remember an exact age but for all long as I can remember. Actively pursuing singing since 2014.

How do you sustain yourself as a singer in New Orleans?

Honestly I’m still working on this. I recently decided to pursue my music career full out. I’m still in the beginning phases, but I do believe I am well on my way. 

Coffee or Tea?

Definitely tea! 

Favorite color and number?

I’ve never been able to decide on one color but I guess I can say teal, for now at least lol. #11 

Favorite Black owned New Orleans restaurant/eatery?

Hmmmm I’d have to say Rollin Fatties food truck. 

Best ways you relax?

Listening to music, singing in shower,  exercising, singing & dancing freely around the house. Keeps me sane and light hearted. 

Any New Orleans women singer collaborations? If so, who?

I don’t have any as of yet but I’d love to collaborate. Kelly Love Jones in particular would be amazing to collab with. Her music is so powerful and healing. Her cd “Love Is the Frequency “stays in my CD player at all times and gets me through a lot of tough moments. 

Do you have any mentors and do you mentor anyone?

I don’t have a designated mentor but I do seek advice from a couple of my older brothers as well as a renowned music director. I would love to find a mentor that is established in their music career.

Unique ways you prepare for a show?

Prayer, meditation, and positive uplifting people and surroundings always does me well. I also listen to motivational speeches to rid myself of any negative thoughts. 

Biggest Moment in your music career?

Hmmm, I’d have to say my biggest moment so far was writing and recording my first single “More To Me.” It has a very special place in my heart and tells an intimate story. 

Biggest Challenge in your music career?

Aside from financial resources, I believe my biggest challenge has been believing in myself and in my visions. I’ve battled with confidence issues and low self esteem since I was a child. I am finally learning to love myself and this journey to self love has brought me closer to pursuing my passion, which is music. 

Upcoming 2017 projects?

Currently fundraising for my very first music video to my single “Sunrise” that I will be shooting on March 17, 2017. I plan on having an EP completed mid/late 2017. Recently I’ve began working with a few talented musicians to start a band as well. My single “Sunrise” will be featured in a short film and maybe even myself. Shhhh!

15. Shout out some of your crew.

Willy- performance coach & choreographer 
Jenna McSwain- vocal coach 
Christian Jay- Stylist
Photographer- Cfreedom Photography 
Band members- Joshua Hawkins, Donald Magee, Dominic Tardy, & Jarvin Chapman 
My husband Moe for his support in my musical endeavors. 

Happy Women’s History Month. Thanks for reading. Always give a queen her props when you see her doing her thing. Please share and support! And stay tuned for our upcoming short film production, The Essence of N.O.W. : A Short Film. Learn more at www.theessenceofnow.com

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