Everyone has a moment when they realize life is just short. Mine was nearly four years ago, when I lost my mother to cancer. Since then, I’ve been on a mission to live well—to be my best self—in every facet of my life.
Freedom. Fate. Fulfillment.
These words embody the attitude Inohs Sivad has adopted to fuel her life. They have become a declaration, expressing her newfound feelings of empowerment. In the two years since the release of No Goodbyes (2011), on which she paid tribute to and celebrated the life of her mother Deborah Orr, who passed away from cancer in 2010, Inohs experienced life in a way that made her “grow up” like never before. Fourward is the result of lessons learned put to words and music with a sound that is simultaneously edgy and smooth.
Assessing life. Choosing the next step.
Her fourth CD in 10 years as an independent artist,Fourward is the product of Inohs taking stock of her life, accessing her past—the bumps in the road and the smooth turns. Inohs feels free of the baggage she carried for years:Insecurities were released, negative relationships let go, bad habits fixed. Now she’s embracing the freedom that accompanies growth. With that freedom comes the safe space to contemplate her future, with hopes of continuing to fulfill her dreams.
She’s now walking in the second half of her life, and in making this album she’s exposed the mediations of her heart. Determining the first half of life was the set up for the second half, the result is a sense of peace with her fate, whatever it may be, which leads to fulfillment. Through the work put into making Fourward, she can look fate in the face with gratification. Her goal is to live in the most powerful way possible. This album marks her benchmark in life.
Music without limits
Inohs, who grew up listening to a variety of music from Bruce Springsteen to Metallica to Peebo Bryson, Luther Vandross, LTD, James Brown, Chaka Khan, MinnieRiperton, Stevie Wonder, Donnie Hathaway, MahaliaJackson, and James Cleveland, embraces the music she’sheard over the years with Fourward.
Fourward is a harder-hitting project than her previous three albums No Goodbyes (2011), Changes (2007), and IS (2003). It is more reminiscent of the rock slant andstrong guitar sounds of IS, thanks to the heavy metal guitar influence of Inohs’ new music director, Deus Christian, of the heavy metal band SBU (Strength Beyond Us). This latest album reflects Inohs’ early musical journey, where she began on a 12-string acoustic that is heard throughout her debut album.
As part of the renewal process that came with Fourward,Inohs boosted her creativity, adding new songwriters LaVell Williams, Dana Anderson and Tomi L (on “Glass”). Along with longtime songwriters Deus Christian, Chris Donaldson and Naomi Daniel, the team created an album that plays to her reflective/story telling lyrical nature, whilekeeping to her signature soul alternative fusion of rock, soul, and funk. The album includes “Forward,” the hard-hitting title track; “Glass” and “Pearls,” which come withharsh messages; sexy “Burn”; hopeful “Epic”; rock-infused “Drive”; “Bridge,” an honest love song; “Over,” about the end of a relationship; uplifting “Spirit”; reggae laden “Good Feeling”; and Inohs’ funky, rocked-out version of Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative.”
Rounding out the sound are musicians Deus Christian(guitars, bass), Chris Donaldson (drums, percussion, intro and backing vocals on “My Prerogative”), Duán Dawkins, Sr. (drums), LaVell Williams (lead vocals on “Burn,”backing vocals), Shinda Ewell (backing vocals), and Naomi Daniel (backing vocals on “My Prerogative”).
Growth has turned into accomplishment for Inohs as both an artist and a producer. She can be heard backing funky soul artist Amp Fiddler on Afro Strut (2006) and on Rap group SelfMeYi’s “Urban Suburban.”
Inohs continues to tap into her love for electronica. For its compilation disc, Third Ear (United Kingdom) picked up “Somewhere Else,” a track on Inohs Sivad’s self-produced partially released Mrs. Norman’s House. And on-going live performances continue to display the artist’s warm stage presence, which was nurtured early on at Detroit’s once open Camillian Café where her regular shows packed the house.
Over the years, Inohs has attracted top-notch musicians, including guitarist Randal Wilson; bassist DamonWarmack; Joe Hayden, Soul Clique bassist; Jazzhead drummer, the late Ricky Hudson; GT, bassist for Flint, Mich.-based funk band Funkilium; Lawrence Washington, bassist for R&B singer Charlie Wilson, and drummer Nate Winn, to name a few.
Over the year, she has performed at the Dally in the Alley, Noel Night, Red Ink Gallery (Flint, MI), 1515 Broadway,Ford Arts, Beats & Eats, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History’s Friday Night Music Series, Urban Organic Experience, FOX2 News Weekend Editionand the Zebra Room (Windsor, Ontario).
Inohs continues to be the driving force behind her record label SoundThought Recordings, established in 2004.Including Inohs, the label now boasts four artists: Bashiri Asad (“Living the Dream,” 2012), Drizz (“Love Sessions: Soulful Rain, Vol. 1,” 2013), and Zanye (“Don’t Let It Go To Your Head” single released in 2013, full-length album to be released in 2014). Artists on SoundThought Recordings are gaining popularity in Europe and in Japan.