by Ruby Veridiano

Raised in California, Based in Paris, and just wrapping her tour of the Congo, Jamaican-American singer Shola Adisa-Farrar is the kind of artist that traverses cultures with a special kind of versatility comes from being a citizen of the world.

She spent time in Congo’s capital city of Brazzaville, performing a series of concerts and leading master classes with the local community as part of the U.S. Embassy’s cultural initiative. This trip marks her fifth performance series with the Embassy in the past three years.

“I am interested in education through cultural exchange, music, arts, and travel. They are the best ways for me to educate myself, and also others. I really get to know people and leave with a sense of community. It’s also important for me to be intentional about bringing Black American musicians with me to Africa, so there could be other images of Americans going to Africa other than the usual white American missionary projects. I think it’s important to show Black Americans traveling to and being interested in exchanging with Africa, to educate ourselves about its diversity,” Adisa-Farrar tells NBC News.

Having performed internationally in countries such as Botswana, Mauritius, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, and her mother’s homeland of Jamaica, Adisa-Farrar is accustomed to unifying borders through music. Her international life, along with her travels, helps her to access a global sound.

“Even though I lived in NYC for 8 years, living in Paris exposes me to different kinds of music, which are more diverse. Here, I am more directly exposed to Africa, and to all the different countries in Europe. I am able to embrace all of these types of music, and incorporate it into my own,” Adisa-Farrar says.

Her first album, 2016’s “Lost Myself,” is reflective of Adisa-Farrar’s worldly view. In collaboration with Parisian pianist Florian Pellissier, the album combines modern jazz, New York’s hard-bop aesthetics, and reggae-inspired elements together to refresh classic songs while bringing original compositions to life.

A week into the album’s launch, “Lost Myself” was named the #1 selling jazz album on iTunes France. Her single, “Evolution,” has recently been handpicked by Director Spike Lee to appear on his Netflix series, “She’s Gotta Have It,” which debuts this Fall.

Read the entire story here.

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