Chioma Nicole Ojini is a sort of triple threat when it comes to music and art. She’s a jazz vocalist by day and a music producer by night, and also manages to be a UI/UX graphic designer somewhere in between.
Ojini has created her own Orange County based freelance career by the age of 24, switching gears between music, design, and schooling. But the first thing on her mind is always jazz. Ojini was introduced to jazz at a young age by her mother, and her passion was tangible when she spoke about it. She talked with her hands as she explained that she believes jazz needs a modern renaissance, one that will stay true to the spirit of jazz by bringing back its spontaneous creation.
“I’ve heard time and time again this idea that jazz is about the notes, the words, and the energy coming together,” Ojini said. “I agree with that to an extent, but I feel that the energy part [is something] you can’t control. Jazz is supposed to be improvisational. It’s the coming together of Europe and Africa in America, and it’s truly an American sound. When I think about jazz I think about freedom. If we’re so strict, then we’re losing what jazz really is.”
Ojini also incorporates her vocals into her own music. She uses Logic Pro to create music that has been described by listeners as spiritual and epic. Most of her songs don’t have any lyrics, which directs all focus onto the raw voice and emotion in the songs. It’s the type of music that could make its way into the soundtracks of similarly spiritual and epic movies such as “Avatar,” Ojini suggested, visibly excited by the prospect.
“I always have a mission with my music,” Ojini said. “Sometimes my music is rule-breaking and abstract. Sometimes it’s busy and overwhelming. I’m archiving my life through recorded sounds.”
Ojini is currently working on her first album, but when it is released it won’t be under her name— Chioma Nicole, the jazz vocalist, will become “Chioma the Audio Artist,” the music producer. Under this persona, Ojini is able to make experimental music beyond any standards, drawing influence from all her diverse skill sets. She incorporates the “let go” attitude of jazz and even graphic design concepts to shape her music and its hidden meanings.
“The name (Chioma the Audio Artist) reclaims music as an art form akin to painting and sculpture,” Ojini explained. “Like any contemporary artist, I use materials available to me to describe my surroundings and experiences. Silence is the canvas upon which I paint.”
As both her jazz vocals and music production develop, it may become harder and harder to distinguish the line between Chioma Nicole and Chioma the Audio Artist. But Ojini does not feel the need to put herself in a box anytime soon, and sees all her work as something uniquely her own.
“I don’t even notice the overlap anymore, and it sort of all meshes like one thing for me,” Ojini said. “I think many artists are a piece of a puzzle of [a single genre], while I’m a piece of my own puzzle.”