MEM + Qodesh: The Path of Life & The Last to be Consumed
water; womb; life; massive power; water with no boundaries; chaos.
the inconceivable journey and path of life. the breaking down and the building back-up; and ultimately, one of the highest forms of duality.
This week we will be featuring two amazing artists to finish of our coverage from Fox Fest. Kindred souls Twin Jude and Machell André are steadily building their place in music. Armed with an empowering and liberating message for the culture, these two artists are only getting started. Keep on reading for our two-part coverage.
Jode-Leigh: So we used to live on the same floor freshman year, so crazy! I didn’t even know you sang. When did you come to terms with your gift?
Twin Jude: I've been born into a long line of musicians; my great grandfather who was an orchestra instructor, my dad who plays all these different instruments and he learned from his father who was an instructor as well. So I kind of just grew up in a musical family. I kind of created my gift a little bit at Oakwood, just because of this huge influx of talent and I feel like what I had to bring was a lot different from what a lot of people were doing at the time. So now that everything is kind of done, or my time there is done I feel like I can truly be myself and flourish in what I believe in.
J: We know you as Chanesse, but the world will know you as “Twin Jude” or “Jude” What was the inspiration behind your stage name?
T: Basically all my life, I look just like my mom. I've grown up with everyone saying I look like a little Judy and I said if anything I'm definitely not like her at all, even I sound like her. I would definitely be a Jude more than a Judy. So that's why the name twin Jude.
J: So the Journey you take us on with the album is so enlightening. I felt every song and understood every part of the journey. “A place of my own” is my song! It really spoke to me. Now what was the message you wanted us to get from that song?
T: There's like a plethora of messages. One at that time, I made it I was really sad because I feel like there was not a space that I could be myself in, and I felt really lonely even though I was among so many people. And then two, I just thought that this might be a wide experience that a lot of women of color feel. Especially black women you know? Being in a world that kind of rejects your existence, and you have to create your own spaces. We’re a completely different beauty standard that has been set by the euro-centric beauty standard. It's basically acknowledging the fact that I want a place for myself and I want a place for women of color that we can thrive and feel included.
J: So you’ve dedicated the album in a way, to Dre. I quote from your album credit, “I have seen the deepest questions of love and acceptance asked and answered with you.” That is so deep! What does it mean to you to have a creative partner through this process?
T: It’s been really freeing to be with a creative person because they understand certain parts of me that I don't really have to explain. Whereas sometimes in the past where I’ve been with a partner that wasn't as creative or they didn't understand certain aspects of me we had like a lot of communication blocks whereas now we can communicate openly and he supports me incredibly like he's my best friend yo.
J: Awww, I love that.
J: I'm so excited to see where you go. This is so lit. Where do you see yourself in the next year? What can we expect next?
T: I definitely see myself touring. A couple of shows here or there—East Coast, West Coast. Definitely making some more music. We’ve already started making so many projects, definitely collaborating with a lot of people. Meeting people, traveling that's what you can expect.
J: Who inspires you
T: Woooo! Too many people! Black women inspire me, Lauryn Hill, Nina Simone, my mom, U2. The stars. The moon. The atmosphere, the earth you know everything inspires me, the ancients inspire me. Just real genuine connection and love really inspire me, and that's what I really want to cultivate in my work.
the last to be consumed.
Rachael: Dré you have many talent's, you're very artistic and creative. How do you make room for all the creative outlets that you have been blessed with?
Machell André: I'm still learning. I honestly don't have a full answer for that, but I'm learning a lot about focus and how you can guide yourself into a meditative mindset and really consider everything you're doing. Whether it is with the collages or the song writing, I'm really trying to focus on that. It’s just there's so much to do, that’s the problem that's the hard part.
R: So what does Qodesh (Pronounced: Codesh) refer to?
D: Oh I'm so glad you asked this question! So Qodesh is Hebrew, and it has multiple meanings depending on how you spell it. But the one that I referred to, in plain English it means "sacred." But in the depth of the language of Hebrew it can mean other things but it really means, "to be set apart from everything else." It means to be devoted to a certain thing. If you break down the letters [meaning] it will be, "the last to be consumed." So it's a very unique thing to be Qodesh and that's what I'm trying to speak into my life and speak into the work because I want it to last.
And you know, there are so many things that hurt my heart and my spirit. When I hear art, when I hear music half the time it's the oppressor’s language. It's not the language of love; it's not the language of understanding. I pray often to be this thing [Qodesh], and honestly I really did it because I heard Twin Jude's music. I heard her music, I was friends with Echelon the Seeker, I heard his music, and I was like there's something unique here. I'm around a lot of rappers, I'm around a lot of bands, but what they were doing was something that touched me a particular way. I was like Man let me investigate what that is.
...I came across Qodesh in my spiritual walk and I've been trying to maintain that. Don't even really think it's about the art anymore. It really manifests from Spirit, and everything just aligns that way. It's not easy, but it's really enjoyable.
R: Would you say Qodesh has more to do with a lifestyle?
Q: Yes definitely, and everything is really the lifestyle. Everything is a culmination of how you're living, and how you're thinking, eating, and breathing. I've been learning that there really is no separation, it is all supposed to work cohesively. So that's what we're really trying to do with that idea. On top of that, I'm really interested in black art and the art of brown people, people of color. That's why I really made Qodesh. I feel like there were so many avenues that were great, but they weren't ran by people of color. It's always somebody white who's behind it. That isn't a problem, but representation is very necessary. I can't get away from that idea. So I was like, "let's just do it ourselves." So the tapes [on sale] we had tonight, we pressed ourselves. We had a friend doing the shirts, and we had another friend doing the design that I sketched up. Twin Jude printed out all her stuff—she did all of that. So that’s the idea.
R: I love that I'm hearing some parallels between you and Twin Jude and the whole idea of just basically having something owned by us, by black people. She mentioned something about black women and just doing it for colored girls. I appreciate that about the both of you guys, thank you!
Q: That's dope, thank you.
R: I am so excited to see the fusion of art and music and where that takes you. Where do you see yourself in the next year? What can we expect from you?
Q: I'm moving to a bigger city soon. So there's that, and I honestly would really like to have a space. A space that cultivates the idea I speak about continually. I would like to be doing my music and my art, not even full time but I want to continually do it. I want to learn more. I actually want to get into learning about physics and more about electricity because I'm getting deeper into electronic music.
I also recently picked up guitar. I listen to a lot of East African Blues, so I'm trying to tap into those little cultural veins and then extend that to everywhere else. I often say this sometimes in my handle, "farmer and a garden.” I want to cultivate continually. I really want to farm and I want to be able to feed people.
I don't have a concrete trajectory. I have three projects in the chamber and I'd like to drop those. So maybe I’ll finally drop those. [laughs]