The San Francisco Bay area has produced the next female R&B songstress that will soon become a major player in the industry. Her beauty and talent illuminates any room she decides to grace with her presence. But she would be quick to tell you not to judge a book by its cover. She’s had her share of personal struggles with family, men and life just like the next person which keeps her very grounded. Those experiences have only strengthened her resolve and given her material to produce passionate songs that will touch everyone’s soul. Big name producers have worked with this gorgeous songstress and her song writing prowess is adding to her allure. She is known as “The First Lady of the Bay” and is said to have the swagga of a hip hop artist but from an R&B perspective. This young lady is looking to take her place next to the likes of Mary J. Blige and Keyshia Cole with her soulful voice. A&R’s take notice, JIMMIE REIGN is in the building and she is ready to reign over the industry.
Jimmie, what was it like growing up in the Bay area?
[JIMMIE] - I can honestly say that I wouldn’t want to have grown up anywhere else. I’ve lived in a lot of other places and there isn’t anywhere else that compares to the Bay Area as far as the diversity of people and the freedom to be yourself. Even the grimy parts of the Bay have contributed to who I am and my music.
Talk to me about your father’s role in your decision to pursue a career in music.
[JIMMIE] - My father was an entertainer when he was younger and even when I was a baby he continued to sing and star in plays. I can remember him teaching me and my sisters how to harmonize as he played different types of music around the house. He made music part of our lives therefore he had a strong influence on my choice to become a singer.
How did your parent’s breakup affect you?
[JIMMIE] - It didn’t really affect me when it happened, but it started to affect me later in life when dealing in relationships. It’s hard to go from having a normal happy family life for 13 years and then not being able to see your Dad or seeing your Mom stressed out and unhappy.
Did you use this pain as fuel to propel your career forward?
[JIMMIE] - I did but I tried to make it more positive. The good thing that came out of it was that I started writing poetry which I later turned into songs.
Why was it so difficult for you to grow out of the “Daddy’s Little Girl” tag?
[JIMMIE] - Being “Daddy’s Little Girl” was like having a security blanket. I’ve grown up being the Preacher’s daughter or the older sister or the mommy. Sometimes having a title makes you more secure. Now I’m learning how to just be me and be happy with that.
Is it true that at the age of 14 you were inspired to write songs after hearing Brian McKnight’s “One Last Cry”? Explain.
[JIMMIE] - Yes it is true. When I was 14 I got Brian Mc Knight’s CD for my birthday and hearing his words made me feel like it was ok to turn my poetry to songs. His words sounded like poetry to me and I could identify with that.
How did you develop your skill to write hit songs in less than 20 minutes?
[JIMMIE] - Damon Eden was a huge part in that because he taught me how to write a proper hook. If you can get a hook that’s repetitive and catchy the rest falls into place.
Who were your musical influences coming up?
[JIMMIE] - El Debarge, Brian Mc Knight, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Anita Baker. Basically anyone your parents would listen to was all that was played in my house.
How does your style differ from other female artist on the come up?
[JIMMIE] - I think my style is different because all that you hear comes from me. I choose the music; I write the songs; I arrange the vocals; I choose my own wardrobe and even do my own hair and make up if I have to. No one is telling me what to do; what to wear or who to be. JIMMIE REIGN is really me. And like my mixtape intro says, “I got swagga”.
Give me some of the names of the notable producers you have worked with.
[JIMMIE] - Full Force (Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears), Brian Alexander Morgan (SWV), Denzil Foster & Thomas Mc Elroy (En Vogue), Damon Eden (Pretty Ricky, Juvenile, Trick Daddy), Bedrock (Goapele, B-Legit) just to name a few.
How has your experience been working with your Indie label MPrint Music?
[JIMMIE] - Like anyone, we’ve had our ups and downs. The difference with them than with other people I’ve worked with in the past is that they have been very understanding and open minded from the beginning. Both Meilani and Marcel Anderson are GO-Getters. They just don’t talk about it, they do it. So much so that I see people copying what they do. They are my family and I’ve seen more results with them than I’ve seen working with anyone else.
With your look, sound and talent, it surprises me that you have not been scooped up by a major label by now. Have they shown interest in you?
[JIMMIE] - Thank you for the compliment. Yes, labels have shown interest. Sometimes I think it’s hard for them to fit me into one genre of music. Also the music business has changed a lot and labels right now are sitting and waiting. They want to make sure you have a large fan base. It’s just motivating me to do my thing independently and push my music to the masses.
You’ve shared the stage with some big names in the industry. Who were they and what was the experience like?
[JIMMIE] - R.Kelly, Goapele, Jagged Edge, Bilal, Latoya London, J Valentine, Dwele........One thing that stood out to me was that they were humble. They had a great stage presence and a definite “IT” factor, but when they got off the stage they left the celebrity there.
How was it working with R&B crooner J. Valentine on his video “She Worth The Trouble”?
[JIMMIE] - It was the best experience of my life lol. Many people don’t know this but I have a super crush on J - you guys heard it first!!! Naw, J is super talented and I’ve worked with him not only on this video but his album as well and I’m blessed to know someone who has given me so many chances to shine in his shadow.
Tell me about the singles you have out right now.
[JIMMIE] - Right now my new single “Make You Wait” has been doing very well overseas. My two singles from my mixtape “Tryin’ 2 Be Your Girl” feat. Clyde Carson (Capitol Records) and “Superstar” still get played as well. They have received some radio play in the US but get a lot of love in the UK. I get so much support from internet radio as well.
Do you have plans to shoot videos for any of them?
[JIMMIE] - Yes, I’ve been in talks with Taj (Rihanna, Young Berg) and Evan Winters (Sara Stokes from MTB) to shoot a video. But there’s no concrete date set yet.
How long before you drop your first full album?
[JIMMIE] - “Pretty Girl” will drop before the summer!
What other talents or interest do you posses?
[JIMMIE] - I can style hair, I can bake and I have OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) so I clean really well lol!
Finish this sentence, “By the end of 2008, Jimmie Reign….
[JIMMIE] …will be a household name!
How can you be contacted about your music and upcoming performance dates?
[JIMMIE] - Thank you for taking the time out to find out more about me and make sure you pick up “Pretty Girl” in the summer. Feel free to hit up my Myspace and say hello!
Special thanks to Meilani Lee (VP of Operations & Administration) at MPRINT MUSIC for helping make this interview possible. MPRINT MUSIC offers a variety of services that will meet all your musical needs including promotions, bookings, productions, marketing and managing just to name a few. Visit their webstie at www.mprintmusic.com to see how they can help you.