“Terra Naomi inspires people with her music.”

By Jason Tanamor

Most people spend their lives working a number of jobs until they find a career that’s right for them. But not Terra Naomi, she’s always wanted to be a musician. “I just didn’t know which type of music,” Naomi said. However, she did have her fair share of jobs while pursuing a life in music. “I worked for a telemarketing agency, retail clothing stores, a travel agency, was a personal assistant for an actress, assisted in a plastic surgeon’s office, and worked in a jewelry store,” said Naomi. “I’ve done a little bit of everything.”

Naomi, who graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in classical voice, but did not want to be a classical musician, narrowed her style of music down. “It’s pop/rock but very soulful, kind of like if you mixed Alicia Keys and Alanis Morissette and Janis Joplin,” Naomi said.

Her style of writing has been influenced by a wide range of musical talents. “I’ve learned a lot about song structure from artists like Carole King and Elton John. The whole verse/chorus/bridge thing, the structure of a good pop song. It’s a craft that is learned and those artists are the best teachers,” said Naomi. “I learned a lot about putting words to music from listening to Joni Mitchell. She is so expressive and poetic while still writing catchy, memorable melodies.”

About her vocals, Naomi said, “I learned about singing your ass off and putting your whole soul into every note from Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin.”

Naomi, who taught herself how to play the guitar, and also plays the piano, also handles all her business affairs. “I do everything myself, the driving, loading in and out of the venue, selling the merchandise, booking the gigs, and handling the money,” Naomi said. “It’s way too much and I can’t wait to have people help me with this. I get a bit sick of doing everything myself, but I love the traveling and I love being on the road. And when I have a few people to help with all the various aspects that go into being on the road, I’ll be very happy.”

That’s not to say all the hard work isn’t worth it, unlike some of the reality shows that are on the air nowadays like “American Idol,” who offer everything for doing hardly anything. “I don’t feel much about those shows. I don’t watch them, don’t really care about the outcome,” Naomi said. “Sure, it’s kind of annoying to see people audition for a TV show and win an instant career, but I firmly believe in the whole “easy come easy go” thing. I’ve put in the work for this career and this is my life and has been for years, and I’m going to be around for a long time.”

As for the audiences that come to her shows, Naomi wants them to get everything they can out of it. “I want them to have a wonderful musical experience where they love the performance and appreciate that aspect and I also want them to get something more personal out of it. I want them to be entertained but I also want them to think,” said Naomi. “And I want them to feel inspired in their own lives. That’s what I hope for when I go to a see a show, and that’s the most that I could want for my audiences.”


Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous."

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