There’s something very warm, inviting, and uplifting about Kelissa McDonald’s music. You can’t help but listen to the truth that resides within her lyrics and it encourages you to make a change. Well, that’s the kind of feeling I get. Born and raised on the island of Jamaica, Kelissa is a diverse artist whose sound has evolved into an expression of her background as well her stimulating living experiences in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Ghana. Check out her thought-provoking song and viral, “Afrika,” and discover more about this conscious woman by continuing below:
Tell us about the moment when you realized you wanted to pursue music.
I don’t think there was a particular moment, it more feels like a calling.
What led you into the Rastafarian movement?
My heart and soul led me to Rastafari… Rastafari is love, positive livity (harmony in a natural world and living faith) and consciousness.
Who are some of your influences and how did you get your start?
My earliest influence is my family. My first musical experiences are at home watching my parents Chakula and Goldilocks rehearsing, recording and performing. I also remember creating songs and plays with my sisters and brother.
What separates you from the rest, in regards to your sound and lyrics?
Everyone has their own unique expression of music, but I believe inspiration comes from the same place. A person’s culture and personal experiences is what makes us unique.
Aside from growing up in Jamaica, I’ve read that you have been to Ghana, Ethiopia, and Tanzania. How has traveling to impacted you as an artist and as a human being?
I grew up in Jamaica and had living and travelling experiences in Africa among other places. This opened up my horizons musically as well as personally. I discovered new ways of understanding and expression.
What was the direction you were going with your EP “Rebel in Disguise?”
The direction I was going with was to the heart and souls of listeners.
Your single, “Afrika,” is initially what pulled me to your music. Give us your interpretation of what this song means.
Well, this song can mean something else for anyone that listens to it. And that’s the beauty of music and art, its open to interpretation. For me, living in Africa was a very profound experience. It gave me a new overstanding of not just the continent and its people, but the whole world. I couldn’t understand why this place was seen as insignificant in the west when it contributes so much to the world. The song ‘Afrika’ is like a wake up call for Africans on the continent and the diaspora to realize the wealth of their own culture. It is also a message to the world that there is so much more about Africa than we are taught in the media, in schools. We must begin to tell our own story.
Tell us about your latest, “Tomorrow Never Comes.”
Tomorrow Never Comes is a song produced by ‘Rocksteady Fred’ from Sweden as part of the ‘Bob Locko Riddim.’ The lyrics of the song are playing with our concept of time. As soon as tomorrow comes, its already today.. So just live in the moment and give thanks for life. The music video was fun, and very creative. Directed by 2 greats – Birdy Shaw and Ezra Tafari.
When can we expect a full length album? What’s next for you? Tours, traveling, etc.?
Whats next? Just more evolution of the music, of the mind, of the soul, personally and universally!
What do you hope listeners will take from your music?
Anything that they can get to uplift their minds, hearts and/or souls.
Thank you for taking the time. Please leave a message to your fans, and any tips to aspiring musicians out there.
Nuff love and blessings to all ones and ones who support I N I music. Music is a great tool for influencing humanity. So keep trodding the positive path and stay true to yourself.
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