Jomama Jones is a legendary performer. She made her triumphant comeback to recording and the stage in 2010, after having left the USA in the mid-1980s for personal and political reasons to live abroad. She lives between Switzerland and the USA (NYC and LA) and raises goats. Here, she reflects on Prince, nature and her new album, FLOWERING, forthcoming Summer 2016.
What would constitute a perfect day for you?
Rising with the Dawn. Walking in nature. Stillness. Then the capacity to move through the day’s activities unfettered by others’ or my own fear, lack of imagination, or cruelty. Followed by an evening of singing to others—communing through vibration and presence.
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
I am most grateful for the capacity to release the old and embrace the now and the new. I am most grateful for a technology of presence found through art. I am most grateful for kindness. I am most grateful for endurance and wisdom. I am most grateful for the testimonies of those who have gone before, and the evidence of their resilience. I am most grateful for unexpected epiphany. I am most grateful for the elements.
What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
What is your biggest regret?
There are certain people who I wish I had called or written to one last time before they died.
What are you really bad at?
Who are your role models and why?
Josephine Baker—for skillfully inverting all expectations in order to blaze a space for a nuclear fusion of radical imagination and civil rights. Lena Horne—for her understanding of the necessity of deep personal liberation as an intimate sister to civic liberation. Malcolm X—for his willingness to transform. Helga Davis—for her impeccable artistry and fearless embodiment of her freedom, let alone her fashion. Many young people I meet lately—those who are uninterested in collapse and invested in the work of building some new and inclusive social fabric.
I am a light, constant eater. I prefer small meals throughout the day. I love almonds, walnuts, sliced cucumber, yoghurt, dates, green olives, sparkling water with lemon, and avocado. And I must have the perfect cup of dark, rich, black coffee to greet me in the morning before I speak to a living soul.
What are you reading these days?
I’ve been reading poetry. Returning to the work of Gwendolyn Brooks. And enjoying the work of the gifted Deborah Paredez, Phillip B. Williams, and a writer my friend Kyla introduced me to, Aracelis Girmay. Also, the work of Normandi Ellis, which is informing my new project, is halcyon.
Who is your celebrity crush?
I do not currently have one.
What is your greatest fear?
Running out of time.
Which living person do you most admire?
Tie: Harry Belafonte and Vinie Burrows.
What do you most value in people?
Integrity. Kindness. Risk taking. Transformation. Courage.
When was the last moment you felt happiness?
The moment that just passed. Although, I will say, many of my happiest experiences have been in the studio with my collaborator, Bobby Halvorson. There is an alchemy in our song-making that is impossible to describe, but constitutes pure joy, for me.
I live in love. Romantically, however, it has been a while since someone was bold enough to step to me with flowers, shall I say…
What is your most treasured possession(s)?
The dress I wore for my first comeback appearance in the USA. It has magenta and silver sequins and looks as though it were poured on me.
What does the future look like?
Look in the mirror, then over your shoulder.
What are the consequences of silence?
When did you last feel hopeful? Disappointed?
I’ve been crushed by Prince’s death. My reflections upon his life and artistry have brought a range of emotion, including hope and disappointment.
What is your spirit animal? If you have one, when was the last time you had a visit?
Ravens. When last I was hiking in Griffith Park I saw a number of them in a grove of trees. I wrote a song about the experience for my new album.
If your life was a movie and you had a soundtrack what would it be?
Why, my new album, Flowering is precisely that soundtrack.
What and who should we be paying attention to?
Me. 🙂 And, the natural world.
Words to live by:
Replace complaint with action rooted in the courage of your convictions.