Jhonni Blaze has always been talented. Not only does she have a powerful voice that can compete with some of today’s leading recording artists, but she’s also a musician at heart who taught herself to play multiple instruments by ear. Unfortunately, that’s probably not why you know her. You likely recognize her for salacious headlines and messy reality television-worthy antics. That’s the old Jhonni, though. These days, the Georgia native has a new lease on life and a new attitude.
“I’m in a much better space spiritually and mentally,” a bubbly and cheerful Jhonni tells MadameNoire by phone. She’s in Los Angeles and preparing for the third day of recording with Macy Gray. Tomorrow, she is slated to work with Ne-Yo.
I tell her how excited I am that her music is now at the forefront. In the past, I’ll admit that I lurked on her social media pages looking for mess, but even then, I was always captivated by her soulful singing, which will be the focus of her forthcoming EP. It’s slated for release in the spring.
“I started out with just working on an EP and I was like, ‘Okay, we’re gonna do club bangers and my team was like, ‘No. You’re going to sing,'” she recalls. “‘We’re not doing club bangers. You’re going to sing. We’ve been watching the comments and people are sick of it. They want you to sing.”
Jhonni has also returned to WE tv’s Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta. If you haven’t watched the new season, which began airing back in January, but you’re planning to binge-watch soon, Jhonni says that the biggest difference between her past reality television appearances (including Love and Hip Hop) and now is the headspace that she is in.
“It’s my mental. It’s just straight up and down. It’s just my mental,” she says before emphasizing the importance of sharing your feelings and resisting the temptation to hold things in while pretending that you’re okay.
The “Speechless” singer has been open about her struggles with anxiety and depression in addition to coping with her traumatic childhood, which included being molested by her stepfather and being forced into human trafficking after responding to a Backpage ad. Through those experiences, she realized that Black women are often pressured to put on a tough exterior and shy away from talking about their feelings. “My biggest thing with my changes, my mental is because of that and I talk about my depression and anxiety. I had to get that together by deleting some friends and keeping good people with me. It took me a little minute but I’m here now.”
In addition to carefully curating her circle, Jhonni admits that she no longer indulges in different vices, which used to help her to deal with her dark past. She’s also made some smaller but still effective changes to her lifestyle.
“I don’t drink anymore. I don’t do any type of those things at all,” she says. “I focused on me. So I just took out the things that I know didn’t belong like partying late at night.” Now, her focus is on recording great music in the studio, being an advocate for women, and humanitarian efforts. The antics and negative things she was known for are now in the rearview.
“I took those things out of my life because it did not matter,” she emphasizes. “It did not bring me any type of success.”
Catch Jhonni Blaze on “Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta” on WE tv every Thursday at 9 pm.