For those who keep saying that talent is lacking in this city, check out Ihsan Bilal. I was fortunate enough to catch her at an artist showcase in downtown D.C. last night…hopefully we’ll have an interview from her in the near future. In the meantime, check out the music below and her bio (as well as contact info) after the jump.
Ihsan credits her parents as her first musical inspirations. â€œThey played music all the time. My Mom blasted Prince, Al Jerreau, Chaka Khan and many others while we cleaned the house. My dad played the keyboard while we danced and sang. He played â€œthese gamesâ€ on family road trips. Heâ€™d say â€œWhoever can tell me who sings this song gets a dollarâ€, we would all be into it and thatâ€™s why Iâ€™m so fluent in all genres of music. On the 12 hour road trips from D.C. and 12 hours back from my parentâ€™s home town of Gary, Indiana we listened to every type of music.â€
– Ihsan on her first radio interview @ WPFW 89.3 January 2009
How many people wake up every day from the tender age of six until forever and know why they were put on this earth. Not many at all. But, the few that are blessed to know- succeed and prevail. Ihsan Bilal is one of the very few that knows that sheâ€™s different for a reason. â€œEmpowermentâ€ is a key priority in her life. Born in Moreno Valley, California February 22nd 1985 to Lyndon and Rhonda Bilal, they were fully aware that their first born child embodied something special and possessed innate qualities to lead and be successful in every endeavor. Being as though Ihsanâ€™s father was in the military, the Bilalâ€™s moved around often from the west coast to eastern Asia. They settled in Washington ,DC when Ihsan was nine.
Ihsan expressed her love of music at the age of six by writing and singing songs in her room while no one could see or hear her doing so. One day she got her four younger siblings together and performed in front of their parents the songs she wrote. Her father, a singer and keyboardist himself, realized Ihsanâ€™s talent and the two of them began performing together. Her and her siblings began performing together in talent shows as well. They were often called the modern day â€œJackson 5â€.
At age 10 Ihsanâ€™s parents enrolled her in piano lessons. Being as though she developed her own style she decided to branch off from the group and performed by herself. She won many talent shows, put together an all girl group in the 7th grade, and was the creative force behind a lot of events. Not only artistically talented Ihsan was very much involved in all academic activities. She won numerous spelling bees, science fairs, invention conventions, and was valedictorian of her 8th grade class.
In 1999, Ihsan auditioned for the prestigious Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Not only was she accepted but she accomplished many things that sheâ€™s still proud of up to this day. It wasnâ€™t an easy road but she won best vocalist and most improved student overall in her graduating class. She wrote, arranged, and composed her senior class song as well as the vocal departmentâ€™s moving up ceremony song. She was a member of the first ever jazz workshop course and opera workshop where she played the lead role in Madame Butterfly. She was also a member of show choir, gospel choir, and all-school choir.
During her senior year Ihsan was accepted to the prestigious Berklee School of Music but she declined to pursue her music career. At age 19, Ihsan joined the D.C. based â€œBlack Alley Bandâ€. They opened up for Kanye West, Jadakiss, Lissen Band and many other local artists. In 2007, Ihsan was a finalist in mega super star Ne-Yoâ€™s search for a superstar competition. Along with singing, songwriting, and production Ihsan also models, acts, and does make-up. In 2007 Ihsan was also an NYC-modeling finalist, had a role in the street dancing box office favorite â€œStep up 2â€, and in 2008 was the make-up artist for the Grammy award winning singer/rapper Estelle.
Ihsanâ€™s first music video was independently produced, creatively directed and managed to pull off what she describes as â€œthe most perfect first time ever music video experienceâ€. The crew and cast included over 50 people. It was a very packed two day shoot. The video took place in Washington DC.
Currently, Ihsan is working on her highly anticipated album â€œBiG red BoXâ€ due for release in 2010. She is also a lead singer with the Va. Based band The Danvilles. In 2010 they performed in Austin, Tx. for the sxsw festivities. She has and is currently working with and writing for local and international artists. In July 2010 Ihsan had the opportunity to perform at the U.S. Capital in Washington, D.C. Ihsan explains that as a very profound moment in not only her life but for her people as well! Ihsan hopes to inspire, motivate, lead, and empower everyone with her experiences and her own personal sound of music. She hopes to be a respected and successful artist and achieve what the greatest inspirations have accomplished.