Jhelisa was born in Jackson, Mississippi (USA), as a daughter of a Gospel Radio DJ, but grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. Started her career of singing as a small child at church, recorded a single with her family (mother, father and sister Pamela). Has moved to Los Angeles at the age of 16 and worked on various projects, before moving to London (United Kingdom) in 1989. There she met Johnny Male and Guy Batson of UK band Soul Family Sensation, labelmates of Björk and The Shamen on One Little Indian Records. Jhelisa contributed with vocals on SFS' 1990 debut album "New Wave". She also guested on Björk's "Debut" album and recorded two Top 10 hit singles "Love Sex Intelligence", and "Phorever People" earning Jhelisa a platinum album with The Shamen ("Boss Drum") in 1992 while recording her first solo single "Sally's Knocking" originally for Marlboro Music.
The history of Jhelisa's third album is a bit complicated. In the late 90ies first it was rumoured that Jhelisa wants to cover tracks by artists such as Crosby Stills & Nash to Prince but rather traveled extensively in both Africa and Brazil and took inspiration from the rich musical cultures there. In 2004 Jhelisa moved to New Orleans, Louisiana (USA) to record the album finally, now titled "Discovery of Amazing", for the German label INFRACom!. Due to partial loss of mastertapes and destruction of her house and studio by the hurricane "Katrina", she completed the recordings in Atlanta in late 2005 and re-named the album title into "A primitive guide to being there". Released in 2006, the CD came out with a bonus DVD called "One week with Jhelisa - Rediscovering America", which has become a rare and precious testimony of the sunken musical capital of New Orleans. On this DVD Jhelisa introduces to the diversity of New Orleans, from the slave plantations to the city's boiling nightlife, always from a very personal and critical perspective, moulded by her long-term stay outside the U.S. Not at least by her courageous statement about the circumstances of the evavcuation and rescues at New Orleans after the flood caused by the hurricane "Katrina" in August 2005, Jhelisa is known for her clear political attitude, often found in her song lyrics too.
Jhelisa emerged as one of the most striking voices with her tribute to Nina Simone during recent shows honoring the great diva without merely mimicking her. The throaty low notes and soaring high tones, the hisses, snarls and rumbles that Jhelisa slathered on "I Put a Spell on You" and various songs of liberation proved that Cassandra Wilson isnít the only contemporary female singer who can walk a perilously fine line between pop and jazz.
Jhelisa is the cousin of singer Carleen Anderson, who is also known for her collaborations with Young Disciples ("Apparantly Nothing") and Brand New Heavies ("Saturday Nite").
www.jhelisa.com Official site
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