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J.P. Bimeni & the Blackbelts

Burundi-born J.P. Bimeni inspires with a voice that connects Otis Redding with the soul of Africa.

Jul 2, 2019 5 min read

LEWITT Content Team
Enthusiasts at work

J.P. Bimeni using the MTP 940 CM handheld condenser mic live on stage

Burundi-born J.P. Bimeni inspires with a voice that connects Otis Redding with the soul of Africa.

Along with the Black Belts, it's reminiscent of Motown's classic 60s sound and the grooves of Stax Records. True deep soul, hard funk jams alternate with deep ballads full of emotion combined with a very own vibe.

We had a blast watching J.P. Bimeni's performance at the WDR Rockpalast where his vocals where captured with the MTP 940 CM. One of the most magnificent live sounds we've heard this year, check it out, and read the interview below the video: 

[LEWITT] Your debut "Free Me" is out, you're in the middle of your tour, and it seems like your career has really taken off? How did you reach that point and what three pieces of advice would you give young musicians that are just starting?

[J.P. Bimeni] It's waaaayy surreal right now hahaha... How I reached here, I cannot put it all into words. In a nutshell, hard work, persistence, faith, resistance & a lot of grace, so you don't lose your mind going through it. Some parts of it I can logically think through it and describe it. And other aspects of it is indescribable (if you catch my drift ?). I guess I have stayed faithful, I am def, not work-shy and try to stay as optimistic no matter what or however long it may take. With that personal mantra, I have noticed over the years, the Universe listens to your heart desires and keeps watch at what you are doing to help yourself. And all that universe does, is unfold what you have been busy trying to get to. 

To any dreamer out there, connect everything you wanna achieve to the world inside you and around you. With hard but beautiful endeavor, the universe always times it right when in tune or try to be in tune (as it's a continuous work). How will you know if it's the true path? It's when your mind, heart, and gut feeling vibrate in a synchronized manner. 

[LEWITT] When we saw your live performance at the WDR Rockpalast, we had goosebumps, because that show sounded so spectacular. What role does the microphone play in your life, and what qualities do you like about your MTP 940 CM? Please tell us a little bit about your experiences.

[J.P. Bimeni] Thank you for appreciating what we tried to share on stage with the world. It means a whole world to us. Well, we sounded on point because we had two things in our bag/favor helping us. We had YOUR MICS, and a total genius & legend, our road manager Sam Clayton, who is our sound engineer too. He has managed to give us back, while on stage, the same sound of the record live. It's a total luxury. He once played back what he recorded, and we got confused if it was the record or not - hahaha. That's how are things with the combination right now & we are so grateful to have that situation. 

About me and the mics, it's been a long battle and sheer dread to ever find something suitable for me and something suitable for my stage dynamic as a singer-performer. And that being said, it's always been a nightmare for sound engineers with my vocals through monitors, etc. I MOVE A LOT. And I don't have that discipline to stay directly on the mic. And somehow the MTP 940 CM seems to do the trick for me right now and I can hear a fullness in my voice coming back through monitors. It's been a long road to get here, and I am so grateful & thankful for the craft behind what you do. 

[LEWITT] How do you get yourself in shape to be able to sing every night without throwing out your voice? Are you taking voice lessons, or do you do special warm-ups? If so, what kind of warm-ups?

[J.P. Bimeni] At the moment, the pace is very new for me, and currently, I am fast developing a coping mechanism, but most definitely regular body & voice exercises do majorly help. Enough rest whenever you can as it can get tricky on the road with constant moving, traveling, etc. 

Over the years, I have had multiple bits of advice and exercises for voice and personal research online. I have tried all kinds, and I know I am not there at all that it's a constant search and trying. I have my own go-to exercises, and I use it depending on what is the state of my voice or the work at hand ( performance). I use Dena Murray's vocal technique's & very recently Jacobs Vocal Academy vocal warm-up exercises available on YouTube. And I feel I need to find more to push a bit more in learning about what my voice can do. 

[LEWITT] What are your plans for the rest of 2019?

[J.P. Bimeni] Waaaaoo the rest of this year is simply touring the album, mostly Europe for now (Italy, Spain, France, Sweden, Portugal, Switzerland, Germany, United Kingdom, Monaco & Greece. It's incredible the reception we have been getting. It's simply surreal and now & then we pinch ourselves. While we are touring the rest of the year, we are trying, at the back of all that, to record the next album to be released in the next half of 2020. It's a pretty busy kitchen, and we are grateful for all that's happening to us & the project. 

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