Jadefly & the Pollinators
Jadefly & the Pollinators
Houston, TX based 'Jadefly & The Pollinators' have come out swinging with their debut EP “Twenty.Sixteen." Led by primary songwriter and master wordsmith, Jadefly, the band has created the perfect blend of soulful grit to get your ears buzzing. Their six song EP released in July 2017 has not one lull, delivering constant well thought out hooks and tantalizing melodies. The masterfully created blend of sultry soul, rock and neo soul will surely have you daydreaming in the land of milk and honey.
What led you to pursue a career in music?
I lived in house where all kinds of music was being listened to. My Aunt Lula was in a gospel choir called Emmit Powell & The Gospel Elites (I was actually digging for records and came across one of their albums not to long ago). On Saturday mornings while we cleaned the house it always started with Gospel, Mahalia Jackson, Shirley Ceasar, James Cleveland then by noon we were listening to Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan and Whitney Houston and by the evening it could have very easily been jamming Rick James and the Mary Jane Girls.
My cousin Toni was always listening to the good stuff Manhattan Transfer, Prince, Rod Stewart, Cyndi Lauper, Cameo, Sheila E all of those pop/soul/funk influences. I was also blessed to be there for the conception of hip hop, my cousin Kenny was a break dancer and would bring home the most amazing records. Thomas Dolby was a record that I remember him placing on the record player like a fresh cut gemstone. Those times were amazing the music, fashion, dance, and the inception of hip hop was a great influence. Later I lived in a place where the only access I had to music was the television, lucky for me MTV had just launched and they showed the same videos all day, my main goal was to catch Michael Jackson (he was the only black artist on MTV then) which they might play once or twice so for 24 hours I would wait which meant I was absorbing a lot of rock music which is part of what influences my sound today.
Tell us about your songwriting team!
I write all of the music myself, I compose it on my guitar and then link up with Edwin in the studio (Edwin has co-produced all of the songs) together we work out the final arrangements, expand the chord progressions and add other instruments. It took us awhile to find our formula, once we figured it out we locked it in. I'm grateful for Edwin he has been the one to really push for me to record a project because initially I wasn't interested, I just wanted to sing as a way to heal myself.
What is the meaning behind the song “Small Town in Texas”?
This song is about my mother. She was very young when she became pregnant with me it was a hard time for her being in Beaumont, Texas which for it's time was considered a small town. There was a lot of scandal and pain because at 17 she really didn't know better and my father was 34 which he should've known better, this eventually drove her into depression. She was pretty much sent away to keep down confusion and that abandonment has been hard for her to shake for many years. From Beaumont we landed in the Bay Area which is were I was raised for some of my life. I watched her go from a small town to a big city where it was very easy for a beautiful country girl to be fooled.
What is your favorite song on the album and why?
That's tough... because I love all of them. I would have to say "Deeper Than Love" because it came to me while listening to Me'shell N'degeochello, I believe it's was Love Song # 1, on her "Comfort Woman" album. The song that I wrote can be about anything you want it to be, but when I wrote it I wanted the listener to go beyond the love they naturally feel for someone. There are those once in a lifetime moments when you know that it's not love it's something deeper, something that you cannot really articulate instead you just know because you feel it deep within you and even if the timing is off or it doesn't work out that love is always there no matter where you decide to be in life. I also like the transitional rock element and the pause in that song because it's unsuspecting, Edwin surprised me with that!
Who or what do you draw your inspiration from?
Life... Ancestral karma, the life I've lived and the life I am living today.
Who would you like to one day share the stage with?
Chaka Khan, Stevie Nicks, Sade and Raphael Saadiq
What do you like to do outside of music that contributes to your creative process?
I love going to the museum, checking out exhibits, shopping for records, eating good food, going to the beach and reading, I would definitely choose a book over television. I really enjoy good company, having positive people around who are also flourishing in their craft, it's helpful because it creates a great synergy and exchange of expression. I need that.
Where did you get the name 'Jadefly & the Pollinators'?
I've been Jadefly for many years that's a name I came up with by noting some personal things about myself. The "Jade" is significant of the color relating to the heart and love, while "fly" is me ascending as high as I can in this dimension. The Pollinators came much later. I am amazed by bees and really wanted to incorporate them in some way into my creativity, they are responsible for our ecosystem and I feel that way about my music. I have a responsibility to keep music going as long as I am able to. Initially I was going to go with Jadefly and the Electric Bubble Bees, but I figured Edwin wouldn't appreciate that so I called my best friend over and together we discussed and read articles and pollinators popped out. It made complete sense. That's what my purpose is to touch as many people as possible with music and in that becomes not only pollination but also a cross pollination as well. The Pollinators is more than just the band, the pollinators are the people too.
What is the plan for Jadefly & the Pollinators now that the album is out?
We'll be playing live shows, touring, reaching as many people as possible. In person and virtually. We have a pretty strong agenda and are manifesting the best of everything for this and upcoming projects. The plan has always been to leave people with a piece of us......you know how a song just lingers in your head all day? That's us always touching you in someway.
Jadefly in Houston
Favorite Houston Artist(s)?
Everyone that I know! Houston is rich with talent that I know I will miss, but just to name a few. Visual art is something I really love. Ashley Ward who has a really good eye for vintage architecture and Royal McGee who has some extremely vibrant tribal art. Artists like Angela Olivia Guillory, Rabea Ballin, Ann Sole Sister Johnson, Lovie Olivia, Robert Pruitt, Robert Hodge, Nathaniel Donnett. Their art is important to not just our community but also on a global level, it's speaks out to the world what we are not able to say especially as we continue to fight for equality in all aspects of life. Unfortunately, black lives are being lost due to senseless violence and these artists have some of the strongest voices in the city of Houston that speak to that narrative ensuring it doesn't get lost. I'm grateful to be able to move in the same circles as them and always look forward to seeing their new works of art.
Favorite Houston Restaurant(s)?
I'm vegan but I really like to dine in places where the food is good enough for my non-vegan friends/family to enjoy the food also. My good friend Arga owns Sunshine Vegetarian Deli they have the best of a lot of menu items, Pepper Tree, Local Foods, Boom Box Tacos, Ripe Cuisine are some of my favorite options in the city (the last two are food trucks).
Favorite Houston Venue(s)?
I like the nostalgia of the Continental Club, I really like the set up in the new White Oak Music Hall it's a state of the art facility that is everything artist, and I've always had an affinity for Rockefeller's.