When you see her, she looks like she is holding a secret inside. Like she has the top secret plans to the latest defense technology, or the cure for a devastating disease. She just looks like she has something inside of her that she wants to, no, needs to get out. Unassuming yet mysterious. And then, a smile. And as she begins to talk about her music, a twinkle appears in her eye and her smile gets even bigger. Hold on now. I may have to reach for my sunglasses.
If you have never heard the name Jai Moi before, you will. You see, Jai Moi is on the verge. She has a message inside of her that she intends to share with the world through her music. She is a woman in love with music so much that she cannot contain it. The words come to her through her soul and experiences in her life that she scribes into poetry. Then she takes these words and plays around with them until she matches them up with the melody dancing around in her head. Poetic words plus a soulful melody combining together to create a song that has her saying, “Yeah, that’s it.”
Jai is a mother, a poet, a musician, a vocalist and a songwriter. Living in Durham at this time when the city’s music scene seems to be going through such a spectacular renaissance is exciting. Any day of the week it seems she could find herself sharing her musical voice with music lovers anywhere downtown. With the release of her latest single “Alright” last September and her upcoming new release, soon you can expect to see her name come across any given social media site or email.
Jai has been singing since she was a very little girl. Born in Youngsville, NC, she found herself singing all the time. “To get to our house was a country mile. We were way out in the country, and behind my house there was a great big field. I used to stand out there on the steps and sing to my imaginary audience in the field,” she says. It was then she developed the ability to carry a tune and discovered that singing is what she wanted to do.
She became so passionate about singing and writing that throughout her life and whatever else she was doing, she just couldn’t let it go. “I took some time off to focus on my family. But I still am an artist. I kept writing and playing, and now I am working on new music and ready to go.” Many entertainers shirk at the notion that they are role models in addition to being paid performers for the amusement of others. For Jai Moi she wears the role model title as a badge of honor. It is clear to her that being an artist comes with a certain degree of social responsibility. “Not only artists have a responsibility to be role models, we all do! But as a female artist and mother of daughters, I really take this very seriously. It shows in my music. I want my 11-year-old to be able to listen to my music, so I am careful about my lyrics.” She understands that art is a means of expression first and foremost. But after she became a mom, she changed how she expressed herself through music and wishes other artists would consider this position more often. Jai Moi is on a mission to tell stories that are busy nesting in her soul. Stories that are personal, revealing, exciting, and maybe even sometime surprising. Thoughts, feelings and emotions swirl and mesh together inside her, growing and growing until she is so full that they have to spill out into her masterpiece of music.
Her five-year plan is to complete a second and perhaps a third album and maybe even tour overseas, telling her stories from the little Youngsville girl’s simple and real point of view. Maybe she could score a gig performing with the artist she says she would love to perform with the most, Aloe Blacc, the singer, songwriter, rapper and musician out of Orange County, California. (Best known for the single “The Man” which is featured in the Beats by Dre commercials, with Kevin Garnett and Colin Kaepernick.)
Who knows what could happen? Her future is so bright. She’s passionate and driven, and she won’t let it go. With her gifts and talents, she won’t have to. Something tells me she’s going to be “Alright.” To keep up with the latest on this artist on the verge, please visit her website www.jaimoi.com.