“I have asked myself “Why am I even doing this?” more times than I care to admit. I have frequently been caught up in the idea that chasing my dreams as a music artist does little for the world around me. I could be a doctor, curing people of something. I could be a farmer, growing better food for those who want it. I could be in the Peace Corps doing my best to help people around the world in any way possible. I feel that my gift and my curse was knowing at a young age that music is what I am, and what I would do. Through my experiences, I’ve ultimately learned that music is one of the single most important things we have. While I like to engage in other activities at times, at my core I will never be able to put aside my goals to make my mark on the world as an artist.”
“I wanted to write and perform my own music and be able to work with people I admire while being able to bring our voice to anyone who wants to be part of it. The idea was to change the world, but to be able to live in the world as it changes is truly the joy. I have been in several bands, some as a backup, some as a lead, but I decided to start up Allen Arts Music Group with dreams of owning a small label/production company that will afford me the chance to create great music, put on live events, and be able to employ good people who want to ride along for the journey. In the humble beginnings I have discovered that I am surrounded by incredible artists and can’t wait to find ways to perform with them.”
“Gigs typically fall into two distinct categories. One that feels like I had a leech attached to my soul, and one that feels like I just drank from a well of eternal youth and bliss. Audiences don’t realize what an effect they have on performers. When you dance, when you clap, even when you smile at a performer, you are acknowledging them and returning some energy. When you sit in front of them and actively disregard them you are leeching their energy. When I get on stage in front of people who want to be entertained, I feel a pull from the bottom of my spine that lifts my body and makes breathing oxygen a bonus, not a necessity. When I leave a show where everyone would rather the performers shut up so they can watch the game, then I come home exhausted, but never frustrated at people. It used to bother me to no end, but I have learned it is nothing worth being upset over.”
“Roanoke has, what I believe, is an incredibly talented pool of people. Unfortunately, I feel that a lot of Roanokers have become complacent to the fact that the music here can be so amazing. Sure this isn’t New York, where only the best of the best could possibly ever have a gig (that’s strictly a joke), but don’t become blind to the amount of amazing artistry that flows through this place. I am not saying that everything you will hear will be to your taste, or even that everything I hear in Roanoke is “good.” But, I am, more often than not, surprised at the awesome stuff I find here.”
“If I lost both my hands and both my feet and my voice shattered leaving me with no singing voice, I would throw myself headlong into managing or helping produce more and would be satisfied knowing I am still doing my best to further the art I love.”
Jamiel Allen is the lead vocalist and keyboard player for The Color J. He also plays keys and provides backing vocals for the Hoppie Vaughan & The Ministers of Soul, and is the founder and producer of Allen Arts Music Group. You can find Jamiel’s work online and hear him live Sunday, November 13th, when he plays with Hoppie Vaughan at Rockfish Food & Wine, located in the Historic Grandin Village.