Local artist ‘I M a N I’ opens up about creativity during isolation

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“I’m like an introvert. So, I definitely stay to myself, so this is all new to me … I’m very shy, but I just love writing songs and stuff.”

2020 has been an objectively tough year for up-and-coming artists to get their foot in the music industry. Despite that, artists continue to soldier on and make the most of any and all opportunities that come their way during these tough times. In this case, Imani McCullough has faced the same struggles.

“I think the quarantine helped me and took me to my breaking points … (it) helped me go through a breakthrough … It really helped me … my mental state was not great, but at the end of the day I really appreciate that time for myself because I had to dig deep and really understand what was going on,” she said.

Imani, a junior visual communications technology major at BGSU, talked about when she decided to start making an attempt to make it in the music industry.

“I’ve always been singing when I was little. I loved to make little songs for myself. Me and my sister liked to make songs for our stuffed animals and stuff. So that was just something I was always interested in. But when I was really passionate about this … I think that was in 2018. So, I’m basically kind of new to all this, but that’s when I was like, ‘Yeah, this is what I really wanted to do.’”

She continued, “I knew that I could make lyrics like other artists, because I studied them sometimes, but yeah I knew I wanted to do music and start singing.”

A native of Detroit, Michigan, and now residing in Columbus, Ohio, she began to rattle off some of her influences that helped direct her towards music.

“Daniel Caesar, and people who have kind of the same voice as me. My tone is a little deeper, so I kind of listen to artists who have that same deeper tone like H.E.R., and Summer Walker and Jill Scott … so artists like that,” she said.

“Being by myself is a great atmosphere for me, and also just listening to other people. I’m a listener … if you have a problem you should come to me. So when they usually tell me their problems … it’s not like I’m writing their whole story, but some of what they’re saying is relatable to everybody else, so I kind of just write some lyrics that are relatable for everyone.”

Finally, Imani had some final words for anyone who might need to hear it.

“Always believe in yourself. I know that’s a little corny … just be passionate about what you’re doing and stick to that.”

You can follow Imani on all social media @manimac101, and stream her music as I M a N I on all streaming platforms.