Mention the name Zhané to most and a smile will cross their faces as they fondly remember the soul singing duo from the ’90s. With their laid back grooves and unique look, Jean Baylor and Renee Neufville were trendsetters in an era when girl groups were starting to pop up like weeds. But the “Jah” and the “Nay” of Zhané had a different sound and a different look that set them apart and appealed to a cross section of R&B and hip hop fans alike. When the group broke up in 1999 after releasing only two albums, a void was left in the hip hop soul arena that was sadly never filled.
Fast forward to today and both Jean and Renee have stayed busy. Although no longer recording together, they are still making music and wowing their old fans while gaining new ones. That wow factor is certainly present on Jean Baylor’s solo debut CD, Testimony: My Life Story, which was digitally released this year on her own label, Be A Light, and is available at Dajams.com. On Testimony Jean has created an album of inspirational R&B that is like chicken soup for the soul. Her positivity and purpose shines through on this disc, but this isn’t a gospel album. Jean’s intent is to lift people’s spirits in these hard times and she surely succeeds.
Jean Baylor lovers in the Washington, DC area are in for a treat when they attend the Can A Sista Rock A Mic? festival tonight. Baylor will be performing at The Republic in what is guaranteed to be a lovely show. Listen to my interview with Jean to get ready for the evening and get behind her groove to find out what she’s been up to, why she decided to return to the scene now and what’s ahead on her journey.