Hair: Tina Coluccio & Toni Schafer
Photos: Whitney Fields
Creative Director: Barry Brandon
Clothing: Pulled from WildFlag ATL
Berlin Sylvestre, Staff Writer
When party monster/promoter extraordinaire Barry Brandon challenged all songbirds of Atlanta to a sing-off at Jungle, the response was overwhelming. More than a thousand applicants sent in video submissions to the “Sing For Your Life” talent show and the narrowing process began. After months of paring down the incredibly talented performers, the long list of guest judges (including FENUXE’s own Tyler Calkins) had their winner: the beautiful, soulful Josette Pimenta. She lent her voice to Atlanta once again to answer a few questions and to give us some insight into what moves her (apart from James Franco and Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Check it out.
Getting into the contest was a process in itself! Can you tell our readers what it took just to get your name on the list of final contestants?
Well, it took a rocking horse, an Indian headdress, and a bottle of wine! I really wanted to set myself apart from the other contestants with my video submission, so I sang “Half Breed” by Cher in my living room on a rocking horse while my mother filmed it. Luckily, they loved it and gave me a shot at the live auditions! That night I sang “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse … well kind of: The judges stopped me during the middle of the first verse and asked me to sing a standard. I sang the first song that popped into my head: “Almost Like Being in Love” by Ella Fitzgerald. I thought to myself, “Thank God I love old jazz music. That could have been a disaster!
It’s important (naturally) to put your own spin on the songs you’re covering, but when you perform certain artists’ music, do you “channel” them at all?
Absolutely! The reason people cover songs in the first place is generally because the artist or the song has inspired or influenced them, so I definitely channel artists when I cover their music. My main goal when covering a song, though, is to make people think of my performance when they hear that song whether they want to or not. I really want people to remember my performances!
How do you work around a shaky voice as a result of stage-fright … or are you one of the blessed who don’t get nervous?
I honestly feel very at home on stage. I always get little butterflies before I go on, but I don’t really get stage-fright. I know it sounds corny, but it really is my favorite place to be.
If you could cut an album with anyone (dead or alive), who would it be?
That’s easy: Amy Winehouse. She was amazing! Hands down one of the best songwriters and singers of all time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to her albums. I’m sad that I never got the chance to see her live before she passed. That girl had soul.
Do you write your own music and if so, what’s the first verse in the very first song you ever wrote? (Even if it’s embarrassing, homegirl! Actually, especially if it is, lol.)
I actually just wrote my first original the other day! I’m very excited to finally get to perform an original at my next show, but at the same time I could pee my pants I’m so nervous. It’s extremely personal, so I hope people can connect to it like I do. The first verse goes like this:
will you love me in the morning?
will you hold me close and tell me
that I’m your baby,
that I’m that one,
or were all these late nights just you having fun?
Eeeek! my palms got sweaty just saying that!
What’re three albums you will never get tired of?
Hmmmmmm … any Lady Gaga album — that bitch is fierce! — any Amy Winehouse album, and the “Now and Then” soundtrack. That is my jam in the car!
But it’s not over for Josette, oh no. Apart from rockin’ venues with her band Davina and the Harlots, she’ll be drowning us in soul during a performance at Pride. Given the chance — and some industry talent scouts in the audience — she could possibly be discovered as the next best thing out of Atlanta to hit the charts. Good luck to you, Ms. Pimenta!