Jeniqua grew up expressing herself through poetry, writing songs and filling the home with singing… her own tunes and those of her favorite’s, Whitney, Stevie Wonder, Kirk Franklin, Ce Ce and Be Be Winans etc.
She is equally comfortable with R&B, soul, jazz fusion, Gospel & dance and appeals to a wide demographic. Her voice has been often referred to as angelic. Her music oozes soul, heartfelt lyrics and an exceptional delivery of infectious melodies, backing vocals and vocal arrangements, all created and mastered by Jeniqua herself.
Some of her credits include: semi-finalist for R&B / Hip Hop category in the ISC (International Songwriting competition), semi-finalist in the Christian and Vocal Performance categories of the Unsigned Only Music Competition, nomination for a Shorty Award, NY for ‘Best Singer’ on social media and ‘Best Female Vocalist’ nomination at the 32nd Chicago Music Awards. Jeniqua has also had songs on the top of various music and radio charts in Australia and abroad.
“Jeniqua’s voice is an unmistakably unique and divine gift. Her voice, stage presence, raw talent and work ethic will have a huge impact on the industry.” – Ron Simmons, former Artist Manager, Chicago USA.
“Love this lady and her music! A highly talented songwriter, Jeniqua’s music touches life in the most personal ways, but always is positive, encouraging and very entertaining!” – Hank David, Aussie Home Grown Radio Host.
GO BANG! Magazine: Where are you from and where do you presently call home?
Jeniqua: I’m from Sydney, Australia, and presently residing in Sydney.
GO BANG! Magazine: Please explain to our readers how you became interested in R&B/Soul and Gospel/Christian contemporary artists and music?
Jeniqua: Growing up I just naturally gravitated towards R&B / Soul music and inspiring soulful voices in pop, such as Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan. I bought all their music, back in the tape days and some vinyl. Our house would be filled daily with their music and me dancing around the lounge room. Whitney used to get the most play. She was and still is my FAV. Nearly wore a whole in the vinyl playing her constantly on repeat. My mum also used to give Barbara Streisand a good go too. I loved her tone.
I also grew up listening to and singing hymns in the church we attended since my birth… and from my teenage years, moved on to other churches along the way, volunteering in their creative / worship teams. Mostly in roles such as worship leader, vocal director and choir director and assisting others in the team with their vocals, songs, vocal arrangements and also song writing for the church. I am still involved to this day with the Creative team at church.
I’d write praise & worship songs for the church congregation and outside of that I was writing my R&B Soul Gospel songs, they were different to the songs we sang at church as a congregation, though were added as bonus tracks to the church albums. So I write both types.
There are other genres/artists I listened to at various stages in my late teens, though I definitely loved soulful music, R&B and my favourite, Gospel. It resonates with my soul. Some of my favourite Gospel artists are, Ce Ce and Be Be Winans, Kirk Franklin, Marvin Sapp, Smokie Norful and many more.
GO BANG! Magazine: Your vocal rhythm, timbre, tones and energy are infectious. Your voice has been described as angelic. Where does your soulful energy originate?
Jeniqua: Aaah thank you!
The soulful energy comes from my soul. It just seems to be what comes out without trying. It’s the gift that God placed in me and I’m so glad He gave me a gift that allows me to create and express myself with all that’s in me. It’s just what I flow in when expressing myself through song.
GO BANG! Magazine: How would you describe yourself and your musical styles to someone that may not be familiar with Jeniqua?
Jeniqua: Describing myself:
I’m passionate, creative, love God, love writing songs, performing, recording, love a good laugh and having fun, love seeing people win and have breakthrough in their lives. I also use my experience and love for what I do to help other singers and artists with their vocal development, in my vocal teaching business VoxConnect (www.voxconnect.co). I offer lessons in person or over the internet.
Two of my spiritual gifts are Exhortation (encouraging others) and teaching.
At the core of my songs is a message that is usually birthed in my quiet time with God. I write my songs from that place. Life’s experiences and revelations, relationships, love, lessons learnt etc… whatever it may be. Whether it is an R&B/Soul song for the mainstream market, a praise or worship song for church or an R&B/Soul style Gospel song that I release into the Gospel market….. they all carry truth and an uplifting message. They cross over boundaries and genres and appeal to a wide demographic and I am so grateful. My goal / mission is to inspire and empower others through my music.
My writing style is quite versatile. My songs have been played on playlists and in charts for genres such:
R&B / Soul
Urban / Hip Hop
CCM (Contemporary Christian Music)
Praise and Worship
R&B / Gospel
GO BANG! Magazine: Dance/EDM/House music is very popular here in the U.S. and abroad. Some may even argue that is even more popular in the UK than it is here in Chicago, where it was born. I recently interviewed Australian DJ/Producer Xander James who specializes in dance music. He described the Dance/House scene in Australia as vibrant. How would you describe the scene and do you plan to make a bigger splash here in the U.S.?
Jeniqua: Yes, more than R&B/Soul, the Dance scene here is more vibrant and popular. There are a lot of cover bands that cover R&B, though DJ’s that play and create dance songs get more play in clubs and in venues that require just a DJ.
I didn’t focus on the Australian market. I felt to spread my wings elsewhere, knowing Australia will eventually come across one of their own.
The songs I wrote for church were sung here in Australia, and we toured Canada, NZ and the USA back in 2003 and 2004.
I’ve just stayed in my own lane, doing me and focusing on what God has given me to use through song form & the industry and it just so happened the market for my music has been and still is in the UK, USA and various other countries, more so than Australia. The industry is smaller here, so I have more support in other countries.
There is more access to the type of style I do through internet radio and other connections throughout the internet. That has helped greatly in people far and wide coming across my music and what I do. They make up my supportive audience.
GO BANG! Magazine: You are also an award winning Gospel/Christian contemporary artist. Many might say that being involved with both Dance music and Christian music is a conflict of interests and beliefs. What would you say to those individuals?
Jeniqua: I write from the heart and as mentioned above, most of my songs come from the time I spend with God or through growth in Him and my everyday journey with God. I have strong faith and it has gotten me through a multitude of things and it will continue to.
At the end of the day I can express myself through any style of music, drum beat or genre I choose. If it is uplifting and spreading a message of hope and empowerment to others, it shouldn’t matter if it is 130bpm or 60bpm. I don’t get caught up in all that nonsense.
If my songs have resonated with another human beings, made them smile, made them dance, changed their day for the better, or helped them through trauma or a battle with mental illness, pointed them to Jesus, encouraged them in their walk…. then I have done my job and that is part of my God given purpose here on this earth.
GO BANG! Magazine: You have a Chicago connection being once managed by Chicago’s own Ron Simmons of Celestial Productions. You also were nominated as “Best Female Vocalist” at the 32nd Chicago Music Awards. What would you like to say to Mr. Ron Simmons, to the Chicago Music Awards, and more importantly to our Chicago readers?
Jeniqua: Yes, it was many years ago, around 2011, for a short time, as Ron was in the midst of writing a movie and that required all his attention.
I’d like to say, Hey Ron…. thank you for your advice etc during that time and the connections made. A few I will mention… 1. His mum Miss Edie… I love her. She is just delightful. 2. To be included in the 32nd Chicago Music Awards as a nominee, I am so grateful…. 3. Getting to meet and work with world class Photographer and great friend of Ron’s… the late Ernest Collins… what a man! Gifted, and so lovely. His smile lit up the room.
I’m grateful for all that Ron helped with and I wish him nothing but the best for his movie and all other projects he has in the pipeline. I so look forward to seeing his movie ‘Cabrini Green’… so much heritage and greatness came out of that place, so many stories and testimonies that Ron has to share.
And to Chicago listeners and Chicago itself… I love you. I love your city, it’s so beautiful, the buildings and the people I have met… I’ll be back! Oh and of course a fav….. SOUL FOOD (Yeeeeeeaaaah baby!!). OH MY GOODNESS…. (even now typing this, I’m getting a hunger pain and a craving for some beloved soul food). We don’t have it over here in Australia.
My first trip to Chicago some years back, I think around 2011… was my first time trying soul food. A whole group of us went out for a feast. The portion size was so massive, at the time I couldn’t fit it all in… To this day, I have flashbacks of it and wished I had finished all that goodness on my plate, especially the rib tips. Yum
GO BANG! Magazine: Are there any artists or producers, American or non-American that you would love to work with, that you haven’t so far?
Jeniqua: I would have loved to work with Leon Ware. There was talk of it, though Leon has since passed away. He worked with Maxwell, Donny Hathaway, Minnie Ripperton, The Jackson Five and Michael Jackson etc.+ I’d also love to work with Charlie Singleton (aka. The Phantom). A former member (vocals, writer and guitarist) from super group, Cameo. He is an incredible vocalist, performer, writer, guitarist and multi instrumentalist and producer. He has produced, written for, recorded and performed with some of the biggest names in the music industry, such as; Chaka Khan, Mariah, Charlie Wilson, Shanice Williams, Sheila E, amongst many others.
In general, I’d just love to work with those that are authentic, have great work ethic and have integrity. Those artists or producers that are respectful, genuinely love what I do, and are there for the right reasons.
GO BANG! Magazine: The COVID-19 pandemic has caught the world off guard. How are you dealing with it personally?
Jeniqua: Yes, it’s a shocking thing for the whole world to experience… and I continue to pray for those who have lost loved ones to Covid and also thankful to all those on the front line… the Health workers, risking their lives to help others.
For me personally, I have remained in peace and getting on with whatever I can carry on with in this season, where obviously work has ceased somewhat for many. I don’t let that effect me. My faith is strong and gets me through anything.
The Pandemic has not been able to stop me from continuing to write or prepare. I am using this time wisely and also investing in myself as I do on a daily basis… in my faith and prayer, spending time with loved ones, laughing lots, study, building my vocal teaching work back up and modelling work and being grateful for life, my loved ones and all the blessings along the way.
GO BANG! Magazine: What are you working on now that our readers should be on the lookout for? Do you have any projects lined up for later in the future after the COVID-19 pandemic that you can tell our readers about?
Jeniqua: I have many songs already written and recorded and at various stages in the process of releasing music. Many of them are at mixing stage.
For some time now I have not had access to the things that would usually be more available to me eg: studio for mixing etc… I have had to wait for various reasons and for numerous things to get back up and running… so I will not be releasing anything anytime soon. Though I plan to release more singles and an album for both R&B/Soul mainstream and another Gospel Album.
I will keep you updated on my website, social pages and via my mailing list, for all releases. Look forward to sharing them all with you.
God bless you all!
Thank you for this interview Pierre. God bless.
YOU CAN FOLLOW JENIQUA BY VISITING WEBSITE: www.jeniqua.com
Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and on Instagram