Jamila Ford has been described in the Riverside, California press as 'a Neo-Soul singer/songwriter that has nowhere to go but up!' What could cause such high praise from an industry that practically has 'jaded' as a prerequisite? It could be her formal training in the University of California system, with a distinct emphasis on vocal performance. This meant, of course, many hours at the feet of Mozart and Gershwin, trolling for the melodies in the sonic landscapes of those geniuses. This led to national touring with two choirs, participating in a big-band during college, and later booking numerous gigs in major resorts with a jazz quartet of her own forming. That would only be half the story, however, for these ancient talents listed above were only what she learned in the classroom. It was earlier when, as a child, she was alone at home, in a stolen moment with the trove of her father's records while he was on one of his extended Air Force jaunts to Saudi Arabia, that she discovered the blossoming of this particular musical carnation. Stevie made her Wonder at the flow of his rhythm, through the revelations his voice took his lyrics. Bonnie never charged a Raitt for the pain she wailed whole. On and on it went in utter silence, for these artifacts were so guarded, she'd have caught a spanking if she was found hiding beneath the covers or underneath the bed, with the earphones tightly clinging, listening. And it is with this silence that she greets every opportunity to give something new to each enunciation of all the phrases in the songbooks that become her gigs. And gigs there have been. First, she began to incorporate her original material that was cleaving more to her original inspirations, as opposed to the covers that she sang in service to her school efforts. She accomplished this by starting her own band, JFB, which had a heavy blues influence in service to it's first EP, Traces of the Day. For the second EP, Fabulous, they upped the tempo for a '70s R&B vibe. With this arsenal of songs, and with this cadre of musicians, she made herself known in hundreds of shows around the Southwest United States. When it came time for her to pare down her sound to it's current singer-songwriter state, she found a beautiful complement in the girly form of Carol McArthur, who writes her own songs very much in the vein of Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush. Together, they still form Black Cadence, and they have been a fixture in many a club and recording hub, both as this collective, as well as a backup duo for a myriad of artists, including Bonnie Pointer and renowned producer Barry Goldberg. In 2005, Jamila made the final plunge westward, coming in from the heat of the Inland Empire to Los Angeles. She'd read many an Al Gore tome, and she knew that what she craved ecologically, as well as artistically, was sustainability. With solo artists, as well as 99% of bands, you have a shelf life. Before you can forget that you blew out that extra candle on your birthday cake, you've been forgotten in the music business. The only real longevity, besides Madonna-like world domination, is for your songs to live on in the form of other artists. You can twiddle the knobs, or stand with hand stroking chin behind the engineers, consoles and framing glass. You can tutor the next generation, or you can write songs. It was this last one that has proven to be the Holy Grail for her. All her favorites, from Sarah Vaughn to Erykah Badu to Nikka Costa, had toiled in these fields, and they still retained their artistic distinction. So, she joined the West Coast Songwriter's Association with this endeavor in mind, and it has been a fruitful linking indeed. In 2007, she won Best Performance for the song, "Easy for You", which vaulted her into a competition that produced the Song of the Year award for the track "Not Exactly Perfect". This cut has also just been chosen to appear on the WCS compilation album later this year, with more accolades sure to come. A resilient future has started, and one that her slight frame belies, because it is her bewitchingly powerful voice and inner strength that gets your attention. Or, more accurately, her smooth Mezzo-Soprano makes you turn your head to give her a second listen. She can certainly give you a history of 50 years of American popular music during one of her 45-minute sets, with her sultry voice serving as the linchpin. Soon, you'll be hearing that gutsy howl permeate throughout the genres in a blend of voices, as much as she can muster. It's good to remember that 'she has nowhere to go but up!'