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Angell Davis

March 26, 2013

Overcoming Self-Reflections

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Written by: Angell Davis

John 16:33 states: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Overcoming the world despite life’s struggles is a mission that Jacksonville’s own MJ Baker sets out to do every time she plays her music. Raised in a Christian environment, MJ grew up singing praise and worship in choirs and never really considered the possibility of concentrating on her musical talents professionally.

It wasn’t until the last 3 years that MJ Baker decided to indulge in her talents, which includes but not limited to playing acoustic guitar, singing, poetry and song writing. MJ frequently attended the open mic venues around town but one particular night at The Cypher, MJ just wanted to sing. She felt broken and just wanted to get on stage and sing a “God I need you now” type of song. Afterwards, several of the spoken word artists, including producer Ill Clinton, came up to her complimenting her on her performance. She was surprised at the response because she often struggles with her confidence level.

Meeting local producer Ill Clinton was the epiphany she unknowingly waited for all of her life. “I was at the tail-end of an emotionally abusive relationship and feeling overwhelmed with my life. I was working two jobs to support two households, dealing with people telling me what I should do and how I should do it and feeling the pressures of everyday life so much that I became suicidal. The day Ill Clinton called me asking if I wanted to get together with him to write and perform was a day I was at my lowest. I don’t think he realizes that God used him to save my life.”

MJ and Ill Clinton formed a collaboration group called Reflections in the Room, along with releasing an EP with the same title on June 10, 2012. Working on the EP and performing changed her life because she now had an outlet to express all the feelings she kept inside. Most of the songs on the EP were about being in toxic situations and realizing there’s more to life than the connections you feel with someone else. Her favorite song on the EP is called “What’s Left of Me,” because it allowed her to pour out her heart.

One of their first feature events was at Artistree, an open mic venue in Jacksonville, FL. At this event, Reflections in the Room captured the audience and had them wanting more! “They wanted us to do more songs but we had performed every song on the EP. Ill Clinton jokingly stated to just make up a song, and so I did.” During this make-up song, MJ asked the audience to give her several words. Once the words were obtained, she freestyled a make-up song using the words given. The “make-up” song quickly became her signature piece and often requested whenever she performs.

NtoU_3984502644899_2095408335_nReflections in the Room is still considered a collaboration group, however both Ill Clinton and MJ have ventured off to work on other projects. Currently MJ is working on a solo project where she will be able to display her own type of music and play the guitar more.  She is also working on her first mixtape due to release before the solo album. Both of these projects are being executive produced by Mr. Al Pete; who is a Hip Hop Artist, DJ, Songwriter, Poet, and Producer.  “Al Pete is a great friend and I consider him a role model for me. His work ethic is top notch and he is one of the hardest working artists that I’ve ever met.”

When asked who inspires this talented artist, she immediately credits her mother and briefly mentions well known artists such as India Arie and Jill Scott because of the honesty in their music, but then she ponders. “Some of my greatest heroes are my friends; Taryn Wharwood is an inspiration to me because I was there when everyone told her she couldn’t do it, and I see where she is now in life. To name a few more, Yolanda Webster, Cyntoria Thomas, Maria Threat, and Kia Flow all inspires me, but really anyone that I encounter on an everyday basis serve as inspirations in my life.”

MJ sees herself as her biggest obstacle when it comes to prospering in her music career. Although the audience is captivated each time she touches the mic, she struggles with wondering if she’s good enough and if she’s able to open completely up to her listeners. With a mission to want to touch lives, MJ understands the importance of allowing God to use her experiences to bless others. Therefore, she is constantly working to overcome her obstacles so she can continue to be a blessing to everyone who hears her music.

MJ advises anyone aspiring to follow their dreams to never give up. “Don’t be fearful and afraid of the process. Your process may not be the same as the next person’s but keep on trying and going after what you dream of doing…and always be yourself.”

To learn more about MJ Baker, visit www.mjbakermusic.com. You can also order a copy of the Reflections in the Room EP on www.bandcamp.com by searching MJ Baker

About the Author

Angell Davis
Angell Davis
Angell Marcella Davis is a Cleveland, OH native who has always had a passion for writing. Poetic, thoughtful, opinionated, and driven; she has been determined to get NtoU to greater summits for the last seven years. So far on her quest for excellence, Angell has yet to fail. Her constant smile would lead many to believe that making NtoU happen is easy, hence many have tried and few endured. In her most honest moments, Angell has revealed that doing this on her own is exhausting to say the least. Virtuous, sensitive, empathetic, and compassionate; still she perseveres, because in her own words, “I want to be that light in their (the readers) dark place.” Click NT logo below to read more.

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