Jamal Steele: 'Music Is Just A Glimpse Into My Purpose'
Recently you released an album called Driving TOWARD our PURPOSE. What did you try to accomplish with the project?
With the album, I wanted to paint a picture of an individual who was shown his purpose in life that God called them to and the situations you would encounter while on the road to fulfilling your purpose. Music is just a glimpse into my purpose and with each song, it gives you a glimpse into every moment I've encountered on my road.
I love the cover art, I know the inspiration behind the album artwork. Would you mind sharing the inspiration behind the cover art in your own words?
I consider music one of my many weapons in the fight for equality and spiritual growth. The mic in the cover art is the instrument that's used similar to the picture that inspired my album cover, which is Malcolm X's AK-47 window picture. Malcolm was willing to fulfill his purpose BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY and this was my way of saying I'll do the same.
What are some challenges that you dealt with in regards to completing and promoting your project?
Initially, I was signed to an independent record label based out of Panama City. The label was actually a project for the music technology program for the local college and those who were working on my album were graduating, so my album wasn't high on the list of priorities. Eventually, I was released from my contract and back to square one on creating and releasing the album.
Fortunately, friends and family saw the work I was putting in and how dedicated I was and helped to make this a reality. Promoting is a struggle due to my lack of funds, but the knowledge I have gained from reading blogs on your site as well as studying trends in the culture has helped make this a little better.
Do you feel that Florida is misrepresented within the hip-hop world?
This state has many different styles of hip-hop, but of course mainstream media only shoes what is popular. Guys like Quest from Orlando, Big Lo from Pensacola, StessTheEmcee from Tallahassee, Mik Thomas and POPE from Panama City and others have a lyrical presence within their music. DJ's like BODYSLANGA from Pensacola, DJ Fumo and DJ AToTheL, both from Tallahassee, DJ Stutterbox from Panama City and DJ Big Boi from Panama City appreciate the culture as well as the gift of those wheels of steel. Hip-hop is respected in this state and soon that will be recognized.
What motivates you to record music?
There's a generation that's calling for change, yet doesn't know how or where to get that change. The social and spiritual awakening my generation received is attempting a revival through some in this generation. I make music still because I want to be the bridge between both generations and lead a movement that strengthens the culture and brings balance back to it.