After Zhane', Jean Baylor Continues to Evolve
When a singing group hits the scene and delivers a string of explosive hits that causes you to move your head side to side, turn your radio up as loud as possible or hypnotically snap your fingers at the slightest sound of your favorite song, you have questions when the group splits. Will the sound be dramatically different? Can an artist formally part of a duo stay creative and survive in the music industry? Will fans follow?
On her independently produced CD “Testimony: My Life Story”, Norris-Baylor delivers the energy and authentic sound, fans of the group miss, embrace and associate with Zhane'. However, her lyrics, over eclectic beats push mental buttons more than butts and hips to a dance floor. “I have to establish myself as a solo artist,” says Baylor. Her music is motivational, fun and inspiring, produced on the “Be a Light” record label.
Zhane’s approach was to project sexy with an alternative mixture of talent and class. The group’s name was a salute to themselves. “We just put together our names and put the French connection together,” says Baylor. On their first CD both women rocked short and nearly bald haircuts. “We weren’t really trying to make a statement. We just had short hair,” says Bailey. They shunned tight, short, revealing outfits and flashy looks, to define their sexual appeal.
They entered and won enough talent shows to get a buzz going in the entertainment industry. “We’d been to five different record labels in New York,” says Bailey. A chance meeting with Kay Gee of the group Naughty by Nature, sprung open a door of opportunity that would change their lives.“We sang acappella for him. He liked us and he was looking for a female group,” says Baylor.
Baylor’s solo project and her longevity in the music is a testament to her preparation, education and desire to learn everything about the industry, from marketing to branding and sales. Those skills, she says, are essential to succeeding in the male-dominated business. “You should have a vision and not just run through the door looking to make hit records,” says Baylor.
Baylor says the record industry is all about business and the more informed you are about other people’s mistakes, the less you’ll make. Her advice to anyone considering the entertainment business is blunt. “Get a good accountant that understands the industry,” says Baylor. “Be organized and conscious of your budget because every dime the label spends on the artist is charged to the artist.”
Her music gives you a sophisticated blend of neo-Soul, jazz and a sprinkle of rhythm and blues. She fits in perfectly with the style of artists like Jill Scott, India.Arie and Ledisi. All of the women are well-respected artists and are confirmation that there is room for a break from the norm.
Jean Baylor’s story is part of the “She Rocks” series on Newsheels.blogspot.com. For more information and to listen to samples of tracks on Baylor’s independently produced CD, “Testimony: My Life Story,” log on to www.jeanbaylor.com. Please forward all comments about this story to Maniko Barthelemy at firstname.lastname@example.org.