Imani Pressley said that she caught the fever for being a music producer/engineer around the age of nine.
“I started with my dad’s Boss Machine. You know, when your parents are involved with music locally, it was automatic for me to be involved with music as well.
I started playing side-notes. I began playing the drums at six years old, and my mother told me that I sang on the radio with Buster Brown when I was about two years old, so it started when I was really young,” Pressley remarked.
Although confident in her abilities even at an undeveloped age, Pressley wasn’t fully aware of her musicianship skills until she was around nine.
The Greensboro native collaborated with inspirational singing groups such as “Virtue,” “Trinity 5:7,” and more recently she joined forces with dynamic songstress, Shelby J.
The late and well-known artist, Prince, took a gander at her album, and he actually added his own colorful touches to one of her tracks.
She is identified by DJ’s as "North Carolinas First Pop Princess.”
With whimsical instrumentals, in addition to her hip and saucy vocals, it's no wonder she's earned such an intriguing moniker.
Pressley headlined the Fan Fest for North Carolina A&T Univeristy's “GHOE (Only the Greatest Homecoming On Earth).
She opened the stage for Chris Brown and not to mention Pressley is a recurring featured performer at the Lincoln Theater in Raleigh, NC.
The stunning musician worked with 5-Time Grammy Winner, Brian Kennedy.
What instruments do you play?
I play the drums, keys, and guitar. I’m kinda getting the hang of the bass. I want to learn more than three instruments.
Your album is flowing with beautiful and upbeat melodies. Did you write and produce the entire album? What was your muse?
Yes, I did write. I produced. I engineered the entire EP, and I also played the guitar and did some of the base as well, with the exception of my uncle Leroy, who played on a song with me.
In my mind, made something unique and colorful, but at the same time, fun and relatable.
All the songs on the EP are real life situations, which I strive to write. I always strive to write about all my experiences.
How long did it take you to devise the perfect, popish album and not the mainstream humdrum picks?
That’s kind of a unique question. I’d have to probably say, not long. I’ll just say this, I am very careful about what I consider final versions. I will listen for days and weeks sometimes. What I’m doing is studying myself and putting my view into perspective of those who are my audience, or those that may become my audience.
For this particular project, it took a few weeks, before I considered it final.
Should you have a "Do or Die" mentality when pursuing your dreams?
I would say, “Yes, I do.” As cliché as it may sound, music is life for me, you know? Even through the cuts, bruises, and disrespect that I’ve faced before, I know myself as the individual that continues to press until I reach and see my vision.
Once I see my vision, I go even harder. It just doesn’t stop for me, even with my music career. I see myself doing other businesses that are still part of the dream. My dream is to be successful. Of course, music is first, but there are other things that will follow cause I have a lot of thoughts in my head that are all part of the dream.
When branching out as an independent artist, how important is it to have a strong team in place.
Goodness, it is vital. It’s very, very, vital. I can't do this on my own. I give a lot of respect to my team, big or small. I’ll put it to you like this, even those who are at the top, and are successful, still need a strong team. Your team, work together, and they help sustain you.
On the other side, my mom talks to me a lot about how important a team is, and being on one accord, and they can help your career.
She always reminds me of Oprah Winfrey, who’s very successful. She even says that she can't do it without a team. I’ve heard her (Oprah) say that.
Me, as an independent artist, I have to have that push and support. When I sign that major distribution deal, I still need my team. They’ll never go away.
When did you get the nod for the Grammy and the Dove Award (Win)? What were your thoughts when you heard about the nominations?
That was so cool. The Grammy nomination happened in 2012. I did a track for Trinity 5:7, and the song was called, “Bring Your Praise.”
I believe it was their second or third single. It was on 106 & Park. That was so special. When I found out about it, I was kind of in denial until I went online and typed it myself. That’s when it hit me a little more.
The next day, I heard that it was nominated for a Dove Award, so yeah, those were awesome blessings.
What did you do to set yourself apart from other independent producers and artist, that got you noticed by Prince, Ceelo Green, and Timbaland?
You know what, that’s a cool question.
I guess it was just me being me, if that makes any sense. What I mean by that is, I’ve always created music pertaining to how I feel. For them to listen to it and like it, maybe it wasn’t such a heavy commercial sound, but I’m a female doing all of my own music.
I think that might have impressed them. Just a side note, I’m very inspired by Prince, and if you look into his music, Prince is just that type of artist, who was himself.
I believe that’s what Ceelo Green, Timbaland, and even Prince saw.
When Prince heard about the song that I did with “Shelby J, "Eruption," he wanted to know all of my social media and website information—he wanted to know who I was, and that will always be something that I take with me for the rest of my life.
Speaking of productions, we learned that you recently collaborated with Shelby J; how did that happen, and when can we expect a sneak preview of that project?
Shelby and I were like sisters, but we collaborated several times before working on her upcoming project.
This is a funny story, I actually met her through a family member that went to school with her. The family member sent her my information, music, and links, and she messaged me and asked to hangout. That happened a while back.
As far as sneak peek, that should be coming up soon.
You’ve performed and headlined with notable artist. Would you like to share the stage with anyone else?
Well, I’ve been talking about Prince a lot, and if he were alive, I’d just want to be in his presence, or standing right beside him. In today’s time, I’d have to say, Bruno Mars, Pink, or Tori Kelly. That list is somewhat stretchy. I say all of them because I love and have a lot of respect for all of them.
Where do you see yourself in the next year?
I see myself going nationwide and worldwide, creating the ripple effect that I’ve envisioned. I want to see my music hit all four corners of the globe. I want to do headliner shows with major artist, and fun things like that. I’m going to continue to be involved with my music… I’m setting the mark for #2017 where things begin and never end.
Love your style! Were you always fashion conscious or is that something that you really need to change once you’ve become a musician/artist?
Thank you so much for that.
I have always been a fan of fashion. You can ask my parents, brothers, and cousins, right now. My family knows that I’ve always been a fashionista. I started at about thirteen, when I had the desire to not really match, and wear weird stuff.
I knew I loved fashion without doubts. I wanted to be weird, and I just wanted to experiment. I love exploring new styles. I would look at what’s popular around the globe and see if I can add my little twist to it. I always knew that.
It’s kind of like the icing on the cake nowadays, if an artist knows how to dress. For me, it’s natural. I naturally like fashion.
What’s your favorite song on the album?
I’d have to go with “All Night Long.” I play them all equally, and some, I play a little more because they are upbeat; however, my favorite song is “All Night Long," because of the message. I wrote the song because I’m twenty-four-years old. I still go through things. My music career is ugh (up and down), and relationships were flat. I don’t have a boyfriend and when I did try to talk to someone, it just didn’t work. I didn’t have any friends. I didn’t have anyone to text or talk to, and I decided to write a song about that (All Night Long)