Q&A with Mississippi based singer/performer Jureesa McBride, classy, soulful artist befitting the name “The Duchess”

"I feel that it is all connected. You get out what you put in to anything that you’re doing. That is the same for music and life. I let my faith and passion for music drive me. It is guidance. Life is the most precious gift of them all. Without it, there is nothing. We have to be spiritually connected to our beliefs, our surroundings and thoughts. It helps to keep you focused, balanced and grounded. Life has challenges, but it is beautiful."

Jureesa McBride: “The Duchess” Time

“The Duchess” Jureesa McBride born February 20, 1982 in Port Gibson/Pattison, Mississippi area is one of the sexiest, sassy, classy, soulful artist befitting the name “The Duchess”. Jureesa, as many call her, is a small town country girl with big dreams, big heart, full of talent, strong ambitions, drive and blessed with an unbelievable, soulful voice. She becomes Royalty with a microphone in her hand an innocent smile, and a voice of pure soul. Jureesa has always been inspired by music as long as she can remember. The art of music always played a major impact in her life. She grew up listening mainly to Blues, R&B, Gospel, and Soul music in her home and always on the eight tracks while her dad fumbled around under the hood of his old car. She began around 9 years old writing poetry, singing her own penned songs and acting in Peanut Butter Jelly Theater, (a children’s theatrical company) throughout Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee. These adventures allowed her, at a young age, the opportunity to sing, write poetry, and act; while promoting reading among young disadvantaged youth.  “The Duchess” Jureesa continues to push her interest and skills in drawing, writing poetry, spoken word, singing and photography.               (Photo: “The Duchess” Jureesa McBride)

“The Duchess” is personally grateful and humbled by the great artist she has listened and learned from. There are many such as Tyrone Davis, Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Benny Latimore, Bobby Blue Bland, Big Mama Thornton, Johnny Taylor, KoKo Taylor, Z.Z. Hill, Bobby Rush, Denise LaSalle, Peggy Scott-Adams, Etta James, and many others. She recorded her first album, “I’m A Woman First, tales of The Duchess” in 2013 under the independent label J.S.S Records formed by Jureesa and her mother manager. Her new Blues album with 10 amazing songs, "My Time to Shine" (feat. Paul Nelson), released by J.S.S Records, September 2022.

Interview by Michael Limnios           Jureesa McBride, 2014 interview @ blues.gr

How has the Blues & Soul music influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

Blues and Soul music has influenced my views of the world because it constantly has told a story that many people rather not talk about with everything that goes on in the world. It helps build that connection and creates art that many people can relate to. Blues music has taken me on many journeys. When I create music, I look for expressions and moments of ‘wow, she gets it too’ on all of my fans faces. Blues music touches my soul, and the older I get the more relatable it is for me, and it shapes the direction in which my musical journey is going in.

How do you think that you have grown as an artist since you first started making music?

I have grown tremendously since I started making music. I am no longer the 20+ year old girl trying to find my way. Now I am the 40 year old young woman that knows what she wants and how she wants to tell the stories. I now realize that my music is no longer just about me and how I want it to sound. It’s about reaching the many fans, and people that need my music in their lives. It’s about growth, learning, and responding to the different things that are happening in the world today. It is about bring people together through the blues. I am grateful for growth and understanding. The only thing that has not changed is my ability to be myself and remain humble on my journey.

What has remained the same about your music-making process?

I feel that my passion to create music has remained the same. Being authentic and putting my all into my vocals, my writing and emotion has remained the same.

"Blues and Soul music has influenced my views of the world because it constantly has told a story that many people rather not talk about with everything that goes on in the world. It helps build that connection and creates art that many people can relate to." (Photo: “The Duchess” Jureesa McBride)

How do you prepare for your recordings and performances to help you maintain both spiritual and musical stamina?

I like to really focus only on the music and nothing else when preparing to record. I like to be extra careful with my vocal chords by drinking tea daily leading up to recordings. I pray and talk to God to put me in the right mindset before stepping into the studio. I find peace during my creativity.

Do you have any interesting stories about the making of the new album My Time To Shine?

This album was very exciting to make. It took the musicians and I two days two record the album of 10 songs. We all spent long hours and dedication on this amazing album. This album is my first complete Blues album and I felt so comfortable creating it, because I finally had people working with me that heard the music that I had been hearing in my head. Sometimes that can be difficult to explain to producers to get the sound that you actually want. This group of guys was definitely God-sent for this project that I had longed to create. I will like to give a special thanks to my producer and featured musician, Paul Nelson (lead guitarist/acoustic guitarist, the musicians, Tommie Green (drummer), Calvin Johnson (bassist), Buzz Pickens (pianist/organist), also the engineer and responsible for mixing and mastering, Kimble Slaton, which is the owner of Hummingbird Studios where we recorded, and my manager Silver Shirley. Without any of these people, this project wouldn’t have happened.

What moment changed your life the most? What´s been the highlights in your life and career so far?

The moment that changed my life the most was just believing in myself fully. As a mother of two daughters, Ramerian and Alana, I have learned through the years that in order for them to be great, I must show them what greatness looks and feels like. I believe that once a person fully believes in themselves and what they are capable of, life begins to shift in different directions that are really more positive. Some of the highlights in my life have been sending my oldest daughter off to college, writing three books in less than two years, receiving my bachelors in music business, becoming a history teacher, and completing my masters in December of this year. This point in my life in music has been a major highlight in my life, especially with this new album. I am finally creating music that I am proud of and that I believe in. I feel that this album will be talked about from years to come.

"I feel that my passion to create music has remained the same. Being authentic and putting my all into my vocals, my writing and emotion has remained the same." (Photo: “The Duchess” Jureesa McBride)

What is the impact of the Blues/Soul on the racial and socio-cultural implications? How do you want the music to affect people?

I feel that the blues is telling the stories as it did in the past, but presently. So much is going on in society, and we have to use our platforms to have the discussions. I feel that blues brings us together and it’s a way for others to hear us out about troubles or issues in our society. I have a particular song on the album entitled, I Just Wanna Wake Up, and it talks about how people really need to learn how to love to save themselves and come together as one. It’s too much separation, and we all need each other. I want my music to make people feel good, dance, think, relate, love, cry, and feel joy. I want them to see themselves through my music.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

I have learned to always trust your instincts, remain humble and true to yourself. Don’t let other people lead you to destruction, and create music that you are proud of. I have learned if its truly your passion, ad your God-given gift, then joy, love, positive vibes will all align with it. Most of all I have learned patience on my journey, because everything doesn’t happen when I want it to, but I have faith that it will happen for me.

John Coltrane said "My music is the spiritual expression of what I am...". How do you understand the spirit, music, and the meaning of life?

I feel that it is all connected. You get out what you put in to anything that you’re doing. That is the same for music and life. I let my faith and passion for music drive me. It is guidance. Life is the most precious gift of them all. Without it, there is nothing. We have to be spiritually connected to our beliefs, our surroundings and thoughts. It helps to keep you focused, balanced and grounded. Life has challenges, but it is beautiful.

'The Duchess' Jureesa McBride - Home

(Photo: “The Duchess” Jureesa McBride)

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