Lawyer’s music takes her out of her comfort zone
Janita Burke had just stepped back from a 22-year career in law when a song popped into her head.
Although she was not a musician, she dropped everything and wrote it down before she could forget it.
Suddenly songs meant to uplift and inspire others were coming to her every day. She wrote Mama’s Love about her feelings for her daughter, McKenzie Bean, and Stand Still about the loss of her friend.
“Since then I have probably written more than 100 songs,” the Southampton woman said.
On Friday she will release her first extended play album, This Is The Time.
“It’s only eight songs, but it still represents a lot of work,” she said.
The album title came from a sharp realisation during the pandemic that tomorrow is not promised.
“This is the time for people to really step forward,” Ms Burke said. “This is the time to come out of the shadows. A lot of people have a lot of things they have been dreaming about and have not executed.”
She produced the album with Abimbola “Bim” Bademosi, who runs a music school, The Music Institute of Bermuda.
The pair formed Kairos 22 Productions in January and opened a music studio in Devonshire.
In June they held a series of concerts featuring Ms Burke’s songs at Willowbank Resort in Sandys. A month later, they released Cup Match songs Somerset The Great and Just Believe.
The songs received play on Bermuda radio and were popular with St George’s fans, despite the pro-Somerset stance.
One of the aims of Kairos 22 is to promote Bermudian talent.
Gita Blakeney Saltus, Rickeesha Binns, Marissa Brangman, Willard Burch, Yinka Davies, Jecoa Burrows, Sarafina Durrant, Shardae Lee, Jarita Vickers and Bamike Adeyemi who performs under the stage name Oba, all sing on This Is The Time. Ms Burke can be heard in one or two of the songs, but admits the vocal side of things is not her strength.
She was excited to play a part in bringing the entertainment industry in Bermuda back to life after the long social distancing days of the last couple of years.
Producing This Is The Time took her out of her comfort zone. One of her biggest challenges was getting everyone together to record in the studio.
“I do not have any experience with this,” she said. “But I was given a gift and it would be irresponsible of me not to use it.
“Everyone is very busy. And there were probably two dozen people involved in making this album.”
She wrote one of the songs on the album, Christmas Time, in September.
Inspiration came from her Christmas tree, which she’d kept up since last year. (The goal is to get it down by Valentine’s Day, 2023.)
“I was thinking about the number of people who have not been able to celebrate Christmas with loved ones either because of Covid-19 restrictions or because their loved ones have passed away,” she said. “Although it is supposed to be the happiest time of the year for Christians, it actually can be a sad time for some.”
Mr Bademosi also has a Christmas song on the album called The Gift. He wrote it last year while thinking about what to get his two young daughters for Christmas.
“I said they have this, they have that and more of this, but they don’t have their own song,” he said. “So I wrote them a Christmas song.”
The song was first sung by Joy Barnum. Marissa Brangman sings it on the album.
“There is no limitation to how many times someone can do your song,” Mr Bademosi said. “We are hoping that with every version we do, it gets better and better. We hope to do it every year.”
A website, www.k22productions.com, promotes the album and other projects. To drive traffic to it, they are running the 11 Days of Holiday Spirit Challenge to get people in the giving spirit. The campaign ends on Friday when the album comes out.
The first challenge was writing a kind note to someone to brighten their day. Thanksgiving gave the chance to provide dinner for a friend or community member.
“The holidays are a time of reconnection,” Ms Burke said. “We want to encourage people to be kind to each other. We don’t want people to get caught up with the commercialisation of the holidays.”
She estimates 50 people have taken part in the challenge, so far. Social media is a new arena for her.
“I am challenged posting, so I do understand and we are thankful for those who have been supporting and actively participating,” she said.
She hasn’t ruled out a return to the stage next year.
“We are open to whatever opportunities this brings,” Ms Burke said. “We are hoping there will be an excitement that we are bringing original music to life, and will encourage other local artists to do the same. We would love to work with more local artists.”
This Is The Time is available for download and purchase on www.k22productions.com for $7.22