Female rockers are a rare and underrated breed of musicians in the music space today. I am talking about the ladies who understand the craft and have been a part of various aspects of it in their career. Very few can breach the musical divide that is flooded with pop and solo female vocalists. However, the women who conquer rock and roll or rhythm and blues may not be the wealthiest or as recognizable as any of the stars we see bombarded on television. These women are the ones I love to hear about and talk to as they have some great and valuable insight into the ever-changing music scene. They even have a bit more sass and vigor, which is also unheard of. As luck would have it, I had the chance to meet up with a BMG US songwriter who actually fits in perfectly into what I am attempting to explain.
Last week I met with Imani Coppola who is one of those free musicians who truly loves her craft. We planned to meet at Gregory’s Coffee in midtown, right near my office. Guiding her to the café, I went out to catch her at Bryant Park as we directed one another on the phone. Spotting her clearly across the street wearing a groovy blue tie-dye one-suit, I waved and we hugged hello. I quickly admired her stunning wealth of tattoos flowing all over her body. Our first exchange was actually initiated by Imani herself! “Do you consider yourself to be an honest person?” I replied with a yes and gave an example. With her approval asked me a question that I found quite silly yet her openness was appealing. “Do I look pregnant in this?” With a chuckle I said, with all honestly, “no, not at all!” Imani did not look pregnant in the least and her figure was perfect in her outfit. After that great introductory moment, I was relaxed and ready to learn more about this woman. We walked over to the café and sat down as Imani grabbed some waters for us, it was one of those humid evenings. Hydration was important that night. After a brief adjustment of her amazing wild hair she was ready.
Imani and I were actually supposed to talk to each other early in the month of August, but being the busy lady she is we had to keep pushing it back. I was able to learn more about the delay and was happy to hear that this NYC girl was going to attempt the challenge of the LA music scene. Unfortunately, she did not seem as enthused over the prospect. “LA sucks, I am going over there to try something new. My concern with LA is that there is no inspiration there. People just want to look pretty and be cool. There is simply nothing ever going on.” I interjected with a point that she may find some inspiration in the wealth of nature available at her disposal. Take for example, the access to the Redwood forests, endless beaches and the amazing coastal drive that is astounding along Big Sur. Imani replied, “I do admit that I will not miss the crazy winters here. It will be nice to be in a place where you are guaranteed good weather.” I think she will do well out there in that regard. The only thing she may have to worry about is the lack of fresh water, but all that could change in the coming years.
It seems that Imani is seeking a constant flow of new experiences. One thing she will miss is the ability to travel from neighborhood to neighborhood discovering new stimulation. This LA experiment will be one where she will have to find a new outlet to sate her artistic stream of passion. However, this drive has unleashed a new power of change within her. “It would be great to find a way to neutralize LA music. That will require stripping the craft to the barebones of it all. I hope to focus more on the piano with my vocals. I want to get sidetracked by sounds and totally ignore all the rest of it. You are in control. A great melody is my thing and I would love to bring that power back. There is nothing like a beautiful melody. Its funny, I was avoiding all of these things for a long time and now I am starting to do it more. My life revolves around writing all day every day.” Could this woman change the western music beat? Her spirit and dedication to the craft, plus an appreciation for her old work has placed my confidence high on Imani.
Happy music is what makes Imani Coppola instantly likeable. She is constantly writing for other aspiring musicians and helps them with her vocals from time to time. “I love writing songs and going through the direction of where they take me.” She definitely harbors that happy nature well. Throughout our conversation that evening, her bright wide smile warmed up the room and her laugh was heavenly. She has been in the music world for a long time and her ambitions remain strong. With a smile on her face she shared her thoughts. “I want three songs in the Top Ten with a song also being number one! A Grammy would be nice too!” Um, someone please pay attention to the girl. She deserves a Grammy in my book.
Imani’s work in the space is credit enough. She elaborated a bit on her nastiest stint in music. “The worst thing I have ever done is be a backup singer. I regret the experience because I remember telling myself that being a backup singer was something I would never do. I do not want to fall back into that pattern of doing something I do not want to do again.” Hence her concerns with the LA move. However, she seems a bit more realistic in her path as she sets some possible time limits there. I am sure she will be fine and discover something exciting!
Her best work, in my opinion, has been from her wonderful record, ‘The Black & White Album.’ In high school, that album was a jewel in my collection, still is today actually. Usually, my iTunes was kept on shuffle but when one of Imani’s songs from that album came on, most notably Raindrops from the Sun (Hey Hey Hey), it made me close my eyes and grin. Imani’s quick beat of her voice resonates quickly with a smooth groove that lingers all the way through. The chorus unleashes a congregation of joyful souls all singing together. It really is a perfect song for feeling good. “I would like to go back to a similar style of ‘The Black & White Album’ and do more happy stuff. I want a chance to show my crazy side. Also, I never have really written for piano/keys and have enjoyed the flexibility, instead of sticking to every song that has the same three chords.”
Having a place in the music world in this day and age is a tough one. “No one will sign me because I am too old!” (Couldn’t believe that comment, she looks amazing and young) “Most people say goodbye to their ideals and stick with what resonates with a specific audience. They play towards that group. Luckily, I am still doing what I do and always will keep writing music. I am more like a handyman of music.”
When asked about what she likes to do in her free time, other than music, Imani promptly stated, “drink!” We then both high fived and I invited her to join me at my company’s happy hour following our talk. She graciously declined after much consideration. She was actually heading off to a castle this weekend in the Hamptons, something she was not looking forward to. However, with her relaxed swagger in the chair that night and her pure confidence, Imani is a woman who knows her power. Fueled by her jovial and brutally open nature, I could tell why people could be drawn to her. Simply put, she is a woman who likes to have fun and explore her medium. Her expressive demeanor is only rivaled by her unusual passion. With everything she wished to say, her hands were out and about leading the charge of her comments. Even her face, focused and alive created a sense of originality. She keeps a level head in everything she does.
Imani is the epitome of what it means to be an artist. Her passion and dedication to music is something to marvel at. I can honestly say I have not met a more exciting and entertaining musical woman like her. For all readers, I suggest a thorough exploration of her discography to become just as inspired as I am. Listeners will enter a place that is one of a kind. The world needs more music like Imani’s and her joyful messages need to flow free. Please give this rock star a listen and smile!