Bronx, NY born R&B artist Jazzy Amra (real name Jazmine Pena) burst onto the scene by collaborating with Dave East on “Jazzy’s Interlude” from his Paranoia EP as well as “Slow Down” from the project which received over 1 million YouTube views for the video. Catching the attention of international superstar Wyclef Jean, Jazzy has been signed to his label, Heads Music, and is featured on Wyclef’s album, Carnival III: Fall and Rise of a Refugee. Jazzy’s musical drive is inspired by the memory of her mother as well as many artists, new and old. She recently released her new single, “You Got Me,” and is currently touring with her mentor, Wyclef. Get to Know Jazzy!
Singersroom: Hi Jazzy! This is a pretty exciting time for you! Before we get into the music, tell me about your upbringing and when you started singing and recording?
Jazzy: I started when I was 17, but I have been singing since I was a little girl. I was inspired to sing by my mother. When I was three, I lived at a rehab with her and because she relapsed and was unable to complete treatment I was taken away, placed in foster care and later adopted. My dearest memory was of my mother singing and dancing, and I would imitate her. Later on, I people told me that I didn’t sound that bad, so I just took it and ran with it. Now, when I sing, it makes me feel good, and it is therapeutic for me.
Singersroom: That’s a crazy story! In coming to terms with your struggles and finding your voice, how has it helped your artistry?
Jazzy: It helps me a lot because I know I’m not the only one person that has been through that and there are a lot of girls and people that are going through it right now. I just want to be transparent in my music because I want the people to relate to it. My purpose as an artist is to uplift people and to tell my story. I just want to be the voice for them to know that they are not alone and that they can persevere and be strong a stronger person, and if you I can do it, you can do it too.
Singersroom: That’s Dope! As a new artist and in the process of solidifying yourself, what goes into your sound and how would you describe your music?
Jazzy: I would describe my music as Hip Hop and RnB, and I am very soulful with it. You can say R&B-Soul with a Hip Hop feel to it. All of it is mixed into one.
Singersroom: You are currently working with Wyclef; how did this working relationship formulate?
Jazzy: I met my current manager three years ago. She is well connected and has been in the industry for a long time. She managed Black Street, worked with Michael Jackson and other legends. I met her, and I sang for her; she loved it, and she told me she wanted me to meet somebody. She said she showed Wyclef my YouTube videos and that was a big surprise for me. I then met with Wyclef, sang for him, and he loved me. Since that time, we have been working together. It’s funny because my mother loves the Fugees; She loved Wyclef, Lauryn Hill, and Pras. So, it came around full circle, and I am blessed to be working with a legend like him.
Singersroom: It’s funny how life works? As far as collaboration, how is the working relationship with Wyclef being that he’s a great musician, producer, and writer and how has it influenced your music?
Jazzy: It has been great! It’s been smooth. He is more like a mentor to me. He taught me there is no wrong way to write a song. People tend to sit down in the studio and people will start writing, and they may say “this is wack,” but there isn’t a wrong way its whatever you feel in the moment; it is a vibe. He has taught me about stage presence when performing. I’m still learning; I’m just a student of the game.
Singersroom: You have your mother’s motivation, you have Wyclef’s support, what other artists inspire or motivate you musically?
Jazzy: I love Aaliyah, Mary J. Blige, who is a super inspiration for me, Monica, 112, Boyz II Men. I’m also extremely inspired by new artist H.E.R., Gabby Wilson is the greatest, and I look up to her. Her music is super dope, and it’s just a vibe.
Singersroom: As you mention H.E.R., who leads the new-age of R&B with other acts like BJ The Chicago Kid, Ella Mai; How do you fit into this mix?
Jazzy: I’m true to myself. Being authentic is number one, and that’s a strong trait of all the artists you mentioned. They’re real, they’re pouring their heart and soul into their art, and that’s what’s really import. They’re not going with the trends, they’re not trying to be popular, they’re just making good music, and that’s what I do. With that formula, I feel like I can last in this industry while relating to so many people.
Singersroom: What’s next on the agenda for you?
Jazzy: Currently, I am on tour with Wyclef, opening for him. My EP, Amra, is done. It’s my first body of work ever. It’s about six songs; I’m working on visuals now. People will finally get to hear when I bring to the table and get to know me as a person and here my story. I still don’t have a release date.
Singersroom: What other things do you like to do outside of your love for music?
Jazzy: Besides music, I actually went to college for Human Services. Since I lived at a rehab with my mom, I feel like it’s my duty to try to help others who are dealing with addiction.