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"Woman's Art Gives Voice to Others"

When InnaRae Guy creates art, she does so not just as a means of self-expression, but to provide a voice for those who could not do it themselves.

Through essays, poetry and song, Guy provides the words -- and the music -- for women of the past century who had to struggle to be heard.

She speaks for women of all backgrounds who have faced poverty and degradation, putting their own dreams on the back burner. In particular, she tells the story of the black woman in America. Her late grandmother, Irene Johnson, is the focal point for her expression.
- Barbara Rothschild - Courier Post Staff


"A Moving Word"

“Every once in a while, someone comes along with an artistic work that is so original and so powerful, it defines the zeitgeist.

InnaRae has written such a piece called Rena's Moan that is part spoken word, part theater, part musical, and wholly engrossing... an oral history and celebration of her grandmother, and Sankofa - the tradition of an African diaspora returning to the deep roots of the mother-land.

To say that InnaRae has produced a work of entertainment falls far short of the mark. This is a seminal piece, an important opening out of all of the love, rage, sorrow and hope that defines the African American experience.

For a troubled nation in need of healing, and for people of all races wishing to experience the wisdom journey of this young visionary... Rena's Moan is a must see.”
- Jamey Reilly - PSALM


"Interview w/ SistersTalk Radio"

Check out the following Link:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Sisters_Talk/2008/11/23/Live-Interview-with-Artist-InnaRae - Genia Stevens


"October Artist"

Musician’s Horoscopes: You've been described as 'the artist who makes you think, a poetess, a songstress'...tell us what that means to you.

InnaRae: Something about my thoughts, writing and the sound of my voice moves readers and listeners alike to stop and consider what’s being said. So, I’ve devoted myself to using these gifts toward presenting and uplifting the human spirit. Through my art of poetry, essay, and song, one can process issues in a way that provides opportunity for safe and positive self reflection.

MH: 'Rena's Moan' is....?

I: Rena’s Moan is my latest album release, based on my grandmother’s unspoken pain, hopes, dreams, and inspiration. Along with musician Yusef Assaanof Black Cree, I’ve created this work to depict/interpret the prolonged mental suffering that she and many of our poor gifted African American Mothers endured throughout the early to mid 19th century.

Her mouth stopped speaking shortly before she passed on, but her spirit was strong. And by way of dream visitation, intuition and sound, she presented the album to me. At times, the songs were the most heart wrenching cries I had ever conceived. At other times, they were most inspiring. So, metaphysically speaking, I gave birth to her gifts as a poet/ singer/ songwriter, which never came to fruition in her lifetime.

These gifts are intrinsically related to me which is why the language provided both enlightenment and healing as I journeyed inward. I believe we will all come to a crossroad at a time in our lives when we have to look back in order to grab something useful for creating a better future (Sankofa). When I looked back, she provided the fuel for this work, a gift to me on her way home. It proves that no oppressive force – not racism, not sexism, not classism – can eradicate the human spirit. It is designed to live on and inspire…to give hope…purpose...shed light.

MH: Career high?

I: The apex of any one’s career depends upon one’s understanding of success. Relatively speaking and considering my start in life: acquiring a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree,becoming a devoted wife and mother, receiving recognition for poetry, essay sand songs were all equally great moments for me. And far as that “high” goes,I’m still reaching. A high I look forward to is to sing the song 'Taste and See' before a large/live audience.

MH: What's next?

I: Right now, I’m doing some videowork for Rena’s Moan. Also, I amcurrently working with an artist on a collaborative poetry manuscript as wellas my next album release.

MH: If you could sit down with anyone, past, present, future, who would it be and what's for dinner?

I: I’ve been inspired and taught by so many folks and icons in the industry that it’s hard to pick just one. From the past, I’d love to sit with my great, great, grandmother who died when my great grandmother was just a baby. Presently, I’d love to sit and talk with Jill Scott. The future....? I will love having dinner with my first grandchild. For each meeting, we would sip green tea to wash down fresh kale salad, toasted wheat biscuits, and smoked sturgeon.
- Duane Huff


"Interview with Junior's Cave online Magazine"

She has an amazing presence, soulful voice, meaningful lyrics, and endless beauty; who is she? She is InnaRae who is perhaps one of the most talented singer/songwriter /poets that I have had the pleasure to meet. InnaRae recently agreed to complete an online interview with our magazine. We are delighted to present to you what formulated for that online meeting.

Isaac: Welcome to our music page of Junior's Cave Online Magazine. We are excited to feature you for the month of December. Let's start off with describing your musical background and your upbringing.

InnaRae: My background in music ranges from growing up in a house filled with sounds of R&B, Jazz, Hip-Hop, and Popular Music -- to formal classical studies at the Settlement Music School. I participated in choir and studied voice in grammar school. I was the director and a soloist for my church young adult choir. I also sang solo for a community choir as a teenager. I studied "voice" through the writing and poetry as a college student and began singing again after graduating. Shortly after I began recording, I decided that I wanted to express my most authentic voice through lyrics and mesh them with sound.

Isaac: Music has always been in your blood. Your great grandfather was a singer/guitarist while your great grandmother was a recording preacher. How did growing up with those types of influences helped you decide to do your own thing?

InnaRae: Strangely enough, I was never told this part of my history until I began to take recording my work seriously. I have no doubt; however, that this is part of my legacy and I found my way to it because of what was planted by my great grandparents.

Isaac: When I am listening to your music, I am feeling all types of emotions. How do you begin to construct the lyrics for your music and poetry? What is your inspiration?

InnaRae: Actually, I hear sounds before I compose the lyrics. This makes it easy for me to create from an already composed track. Without a track, I can hear music in my head as the lyrics come together. My poetry typically gives voice to an emotion which is what you hear in the songs.

Isaac: What is truly inspiring about your story is that you rose from poverty and told your tale through your music and poetry. How has music also shaped your life?

InnaRae: For me, music has always provided an escape from the stresses of life. No matter where I am or what I'm doing, music has a way of taking me to a better place. When I realized that I wanted to sing, it provided an opportunity to express myself and feel a sense of purpose in life.

Isaac: I read in your bio that teaching writing and poetry is your first love. What does it mean to you to be an African-American female poet in the 21st century?
InnaRae: To me, it means I am one of millions of other women of color who have something to say about how we are seen and how we see ourselves with regard to our skin color. It means that the negative issues that have clouded and quieted our inner struggles can now be expressed without devastating consequences.

Isaac: How do you prepare to perform live in front of an audience? What are some of the thoughts going through your head before the performance?

InnaRae: Before I perform, I take some time to be quiet - away from music. It gives my throat a break from practicing and helps me relax. The thoughts running through my head vary from hoping to please the audience to what I have to do when I get home. I'm always a little nervous.

Isaac: What has been the biggest challenge for you as an artist?

InnaRae: Searching for the aspects of my voice that bring the most meaning to potential listeners. A tribute to my grandmother, this last project, Rena's Moan, honed my inner voice in a way that I never thought was possible. The research alone answered so many questions for me and altered how I see myself as a woman and a mother.

Isaac: Let's talk about your five-piece Demo CD entitled InnaRae: A Demonstration. What has been the feedback from your family, friends, and fans about this project.

InnaRae: (laughing)...This was my second recording, but the first I put out there. From family and friends, the feedback was mediocre. It was the first time they saw me in this light, so I think they were nervous for me. Professionally, I was still searching for sounds that felt like 'home'. Personally, I wrote of the intimate human struggle with our relationship to God. This is what hit home for listeners who did not know me. The fans encouraged me to keep creating. And so, I did.

Isaac: What do you think about the current state of our economy? Have you tackled any current issues through your music or poetry?

InnaRae: Oh boy...the current state of affairs is very sad. I have a song that I've written regarding how whether times are good or bad, those at the top of this capitalistic tier will continue to search for treasures to exploit. I hope to record it some time next year.

Isaac: How important has having an official website been for you as an artist?

InnaRae: The website is important for me, since it provides a visual presentation of my artistic vision and written work to the public. It takes my message and music to places I never imagined.

Isaac: What are some current projects that fans new and old can look forward from you?

InnaRae: I am currently taking some time to write poetry both personally and for an artist who is compiling his works for a coffee table book. I am also working on a new album which I'm hoping will be finished sometime next summer.

Isaac: Please five shout outs to your family, friends, and fans!

InnaRae: George, George III, Joshua, Hasheme, Yusef!

Isaac: Final words from InnaRae.......

InnaRae: Make or take time to listen to what's around you.

- Issaac Davis


Discography

InnaRae: A Demonstration (2005)

Abundant Life (streaming on TSR)
Prayer Closet (streaming on TSR)
Abba Father (streaming on TSR)
Get It Right
Silence

Rena's Moan (2008)

Borrowed Suga
Rena's Stage
What Can I Do?
Unchurched
I'll Never Know
Playin'
Sex In The Dark
Eye Candy
Wake-Up
Charisma
Taste and See
Born to Dance

Photos

Bio

Hailed as the artist who makes you think, InnaRae started writing poems at the age of ten…songs, by fifteen. All of which follow her through the ills of poverty and into the appreciation of the human spirit, knowledge of purpose, and love of beauty. Through her writings, InnaRae returns “home” and delivers a reconstructive power that encourages others to discover that absolutely no circumstance can diminish the life and light that shines within each soul.

Currently, this effort is embedded within the African concept Sankofa, which defines the process of going back to our roots, searching out, and acquiring what would be helpful to move forward in life. In InnaRae’s case, she reached back into the lives of her elders to ferret out the missing voice of her grandmother, Irene Johnson. Shortly before she died in July 2006, InnaRae wrote 15 songs inspired by the conversations she had with her grandmother while growing up. She recorded twelve of them for her latest release, Rena’s Moan.

Created to enjoy in one sitting, it is an intimate and deep-seated portrayal of what she believes sums up only a portion of her grandmother’s experiences in human form. Each song tells a story that strikes a delicate balance between facing her demons and transforming them into something that can be of great value to others. Generally speaking, this work covers many a woman’s struggle with being in the mid –1900s. It is InnaRae’s hope that those who share in her battles, her disappointments, her spirit, her joys… will listen with a sense that they are not alone in the undertaking of authentic self-expression.