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Jade Novah: Metamorphosis in Melody

June 08, 2024

Jade Novah: Metamorphosis in Melody

Jade Novah, the multi-talented recording artist, actress, and storyteller, has taken the music world by storm with her latest project, "Where Have I Been?" This third studio album is a departure from her previous works, weaving together music, acting, and a deeply personal narrative. In an exclusive interview with Grind Pretty Magazine, Jade opens up about the inspiration behind her new album, the incredible collaborators who joined her on this journey, and her thoughts on success, empathy, and the power of self-affirmation.

GP: Can you tell us about the inspiration behind your new album and how it differs from some of your previous work?

Jade: So "Where Have I Been?" is my third studio album. I'm really excited about this album because it was an opportunity for me to combine all my gifts together—everything that I love to do from acting, storytelling, and, of course, music. I wrote a script and told the story from beginning to end, and I call it a love language origin story because my love language is words of affirmation.

And that came because I didn't hear verbal affirmation from my father growing up. So it's a non-traditional project. I say it's like visuals through sound, and I had some really amazing features on it that were more non-traditional. Wayne Brady plays my father, Leslie Odom Jr. plays my love interest, Myles, Tabitha Brown plays my therapist, Tony Baker plays my boss on the album, Gail Bean plays my bestie, and then I have musical features from Kenyon Dixon and Tank of the Bangas. For me, it's just been a labor of love. My husband, Devin Johnson, executive produced it. And it's about self-love. I think it's something that everybody can relate to. As I've been telling my story of just getting to healing and finding myself, a lot of people have connected with it as well.

I call it "Where Have I Been?" because it goes on the journey to my childhood, how not hearing "I love you" showed up in my relationships, and ultimately, how I was able to use words of affirmation to affirm myself. It's also called "Where Have I Been?" because we are our own heroes, our own saviors—like nobody's coming to save us. When I say "where have you been all my life?" I'm saying that to myself. I've been waiting on someone to validate me when ultimately I had to be the person to do it for me. It's freeing, it's liberating, and oh girl, that's what the project's about.

GP: You have so many amazing people for this project. Are there any fun stories of how you got some of these people on the project?

Jade: That's a good question. Well, Tabitha Brown is really funny because I do comedy and created this series called "Real Divas" where I was playing all these different characters—Beyoncé, Erykah Badu, just some of your favorite divas—and I impersonated Tabitha Brown but created her evil twin sister, Tabitha Black. So, you know, like Tabitha Brown is on her vegan, like, you know, very good vibes, but Tabitha Black was like, "You know, that's my M***F*** business" vibes.

She saw it and loved it, and we've been following each other ever since. So, I reached out to her and was like, "Hey, I know you don't really know me like that, but I love what you do. I'm a fellow plant-based goddess as well." And I'm telling this story, and I know she's an actress as well. She's such an incredible, multi-faceted human actress. She was just gracious. She was like, "Yeah, but do I get to play Tabitha Black?" I'm like, "No, sis." But we actually did end up naming the character Dr. Black in a little homage to Tabitha Black. So there's a lot of crossover there. But I think that's a funny story because I didn't know how she was going to take it. It was all in love, you know, playing this character. But yeah, she loved it. I loved it.

GP: Speaking of characters, do you have a favorite out of all the characters that you do? Which one is your absolute favorite to do?

Jade: I love doing Beyoncé. Really because, first of all, I am definitely a Beehive member from day one. And I think it's just seeing the look on people's face when I impersonate her. She loves it as well, so I'm all for it. Queen B, period.

GP: You talked a little bit about your husband. Are there any tips that you have for anyone else? What helps you guys stay together?

Jade: I would say empathy. Empathy is a tool that I don't think enough people tap into. If your partner is experiencing something, no matter what it is, even if it doesn't have anything to do with you, you're taking the time to show up for them, holding space for them, and then putting yourself in that situation. A lot of times we just talk at each other, we argue towards each other, there's no solution, we don't feel seen, but empathy really allows you to put yourself in that other person's situation. Then you can know, okay, I've been there before, I know how it feels. It makes you relate to them on a deeper level, and it also makes the person who needs empathizing feel seen. Empathy and grace have been really helpful tools. Because healing can be ugly sometimes, but ultimately beautiful, you know. 

GP: Where do you draw inspiration from, and who inspires you?

Jade: I get inspiration from real life. I have a really overactive imagination, so simple situations—I see two people walking down the street, and I've already created a whole scenario of how they met, what's going on, how long they've been together, how they know each other. Just people-watching, and then going into my own personal experiences and creating works of art out of them, like I did with this last album.........



Want to read the full story? Head over to download or purchase our full magazine issue here!


Photographer: Allen Cooley

Creative Director/Makeup Artist: Mimi Johnson

Hairstylist:Kimberly Shadani 

Wardrobe Stylist: Ryan Christopher

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