Mila J (Jamila) exemplifies today’s urban female by representing strength, passion and presence that ladies admire and fellas want to get next to. Signed to T.U.G, the label best know for artist like Omarion and B2K, Mila J’s early experiences and musical background is a platform for her love of hip-hop to her music and sense of style, giving her a street edge with feminine appeal. Preparing for her release, Mila J worked with writer Rufus Blaq, the creative mastermind behind the hit “I’m Mi.” Mila J also collaborated with upcoming youngster Cory Bold, a seventeen year old prodigy who adds magic to the pot.
Congratulations on your success, you grew into a nice young lady
Mila J: Thank you (laugh)
How did you come up with your stage name Mila J?
Mila J: My real name is Jamila, so it’s just taken from my name. Plus people called me that growing up.
You began your entertainment career at a young age, can you tell be about that experience?
Mila J: An early experienceâ¦well let’s see. When I was younger I booked a Prince video for “Diamonds and Pearls.” At that time I was like nine, so that was pretty young to be in the music industry. Another experience would probably be booking Immature’s tour; I actually used to dance for them when I was about twelve, until around fifteen, that’s actually how I met Chris Stokes. At the time, he was their manager and they were signed to his production company. Fast forward to now I ended up signing to his company, which is T.U.G and here we are.
What was it like working with Prince?
Mila J: It was pretty cool but weird at the same time. Growing up my father would make us listen to Prince and he would say we should respect a guy like that who could play so many instruments. My first concert was actually a Prince concert. And then getting to work with someone we’ve been basically learning about our whole life was just a cool experience.
Besides Prince and your father, what other artist influence your music?
Mila J: Definitely, I would have to say Brandy. I listen to all her albums even to this day. Her first and second album was really dope. Janet Jackson definitely, I feel that she’s just an all around great entertainer and that’s definitely what I want to be. TLC is also on my list because they had the whole package, the rapper, the singer, the clothes, plus they were fun and fresh.
What would you say made Chris Stokes interested enough to sign you?
Mila J: See when I was younger, even though I was used to dancing behind somebody, I was kind of shy, so I was cool with dancing in the background and not necessarily being in the spotlight. I was kind of in a shell and all of a sudden I broke out of it and he found out that I could sing and rap, so that was definitely a plus for him because he felt like that was different compared to all the female artist out there. Of course I dance as well, so he thought that was a nice little package.
So you’re like a quadruple threat!
Mila J: Yeah yeah, I’m trying (laughter).
How did you stay in contact and build a relationship with Chris Stokes?
Mila J: Since we first met, we just really clicked; we ended up being on the same home study program, so we were like friends. It just kind of happened, I think it was destiny.
Thank god for destiny.
Mila J: Yeah to that (laughter).
Did you always feel that Entertainment was your calling?
Mila J: Yes, even though that sounds weird. My father introduced us to music at a very young age. He was a musician himself; he had a studio in the garage so we would always play around with it. Also, being able to meet people in the music industry at such a young age opened doors, so I knew early on this is what I wanted to do.
Were you always a solo artist?
Mila J: Actually when I first started out I was in a group with my sister and my cousin. My younger sister also sings as well.
So, tell me about your album, Split Personalities. How did you come up with that title?
Mila J: We went with that title because I rap and I sing. And also just being a woman and you know we women go through our different moods. One day we feel like this and the next day we feel a totally different way. Sometimes we can’t control it and most men don’t understand that.
Did you write any of your songs?
Mila J: Yes, I actually co-wrote a lot of the songs on the album and I’m very excited about that.
What about instruments? You stated that your father was a musician, do you play any instruments?
Mila J: No, not really. That’s one thing I do regret. However, I have been taking guitar lessons and I can play three good songs so far (laughter).
Did you record any songs with your sister on this album?
Mila J: Actually I didn’t, but maybe next album. That would be a cool flip.
Your first single “Complete,” is it about a man or someone making your life complete?
Mila J: Yeah it was from a past experience. It’s pretty much about him making me complete but at the same time there was a message in the song to guys letting them know that we as women don’t want a yes man, we don’t want someone that’s too sweat and just says ‘yes’ for everything. We want a strong man who can hold their own ground.
What other producers did you work with besides the T.U.G camp?
Mila J: I worked with Cory Bold, who is a seventeen year old producer from Florida, he’s pretty dope. I also worked with Rufus Blaq, The Track Masters, The Underdogs, and a new group of guys that just did Omarion’s first single Entourage.
Which do you like better, singing, dancing or rapping?
Mila J: Honestly, I love them all. My favorite movie growing up was “Krush Groove,” so I definitely knew about rap at a young age. Again, I love Prince and all that he does. I was also in a dance academy, we danced Monday thru Saturday. My main goal is to mature in all three areas.
—— By: Interview By Tiffanie Simone