I recently had the pleasure of attending an Artists’ Cafe event in
northeast Baltimore one Friday evening. I was really blown away by
the vocal skill and range of one of the performers, Freedom Imani, age 25.
Below is a subsequent interview I had with him.
Q: What is it that you do? How do you describe what you do?
A: I am a vocal coach at Hertiage High School & a music director
at The Artists’ Cafe in my hometown of Baltimore Maryland. I have
done other gospel benefit concerts outside of my church home & I
mentor & inspire young artist.
I love to perform gospel, I tried r&b and other genres but they
just didn’t fit me. I was raised up in church since I was young &
it feels like when I open my mouth to perform a gospel song
everything is right.
Q: How did you become involved in music?
A: At the age of 4 I received my first Patti Labelle CD & I
listened to her song “When You’ve Been Blessed”. That’s the song
that encouraged me to fulfill my singing career.
I first started at the age of 12. My mom entered me into a gospel
Apollo event and that’s where i released my first single called
“I’m Still Here”. which was written by Joanne Farley. Then I began
working with an R&B group called 4 Elements. We were together for
seven years. Then for some strange reason we split and went our
Q: How did you come up with the name Freedom Imani?
A: I got the name from my aunt Joann who wrote three songs that had the word freedom in it. I got confirmation from the three songs she wrote for me and then attached it to my life. God delivered me from a lot ofbad habits from my past and he has allowed me to go back and minister to those same people with whom I had the bad habits, just helping people to be free, period, in any situation.
Q: Did you receive any formal training in music?
A: No, I trained myself. I attended Douglass High School, but I did most of the training myself.
Q: Who are the people who have inspired you?
A: My mom, Treztina Wall, Ms.Patti Labelle, my uncle Raymond
Wells, my aunt Cheryl Brown, grandmother Marion Wells & my fiance
Cassandra Powers are the lovely people who inspire me to do well
in whatever I wanted to do. My family inspires me by pushing me &
never letting me give up & Ms. Labelle inspires me through her
Q: What are some of the obstacles you have faced?
A: The obstacles I faced were people telling me that I wasn’t
going to make it & having negative effects on what I wanted to pursue in
life & overcoming being abused at a young age which was trying to
stop me from pursuing my career.
Another obstacle I’ve truly overcome was getting better with my
reading, I wasn’t really a good reader, but WITH the help of my
mother and others i’ve become better with my reading skills.
Q: How were you able to overcome the obstacles?
A: I have overcome these obstacles by staying prayed up & not
letting anything bring me down & also by taking myself away from
all the negative things.
Q: How do you give back or demonstrate the principle of
A: I’ve performed several gospel concerts with my church Simmons
Memorial to give back to the public & help those who have not been
as fortunate as others.
Q: Where do you see yourself in five or ten years?
A: In five years I see myself speaking to the nation about the
word of God.
Q: How would you like to be remembered?
A: I would like to be remembered as young man who loves singing
gospel music, who worships the man above & as a young man who
Q: What advice do you have for the next generation?
A: To the young people I would recommend that if they seek & put
God first then every postive thing that they want to pursue will
just fall right into place.