DCFunemployment: Tell the people – Who are you?
My name is Loide Rosa Jorge. I am an Afro-Lusophone (Portuguese speaking African) jazz vocalist and an Immigration attorney. (DCF: Thank you for adding a new word to my vocabulary!!) I’ve been singing practically my entire life, since I was 4 or 5 years old to be exact. Whether it was musical productions, choirs, singing groups, school bands, jazz ensembles, and now as a solo artist, music (singing and/or playing an instrument) has always been a part of my life. I consider it a total blessing to be able to cultivate a life long passion into a career. (DCF: Getting paid to do what you would do for free is definitely a blessing!) Likewise, the other side of my brain has always been a-buzz. As an adult, for the last 12 years, my “day-time” career lead me into the legal arena, 10 of those years I’ve been a practicing immigration attorney. An equally rewarding field of work to be frank (DCF: It’s definitely good (and impressive) to cultivate both sides of the mind!). Although I’ve been in the US over 30 years and am now a US citizen, I too am an immigrant and it brings me absolute joy to help other immigrants navigate the oft ominous system of obtaining legal status in the US. As it were, I’ve got two running passions, and I’m determined to grow and do good things in both arenas.
DCF: What does being funemployed mean to you & what was your path to funemployment?
LRJ: Funemployed is exactly what the name says, having fun (and finding fulfillment) while earning my keep on this grand place we call earth! Funemployed is about waking up every day and even when the load gets heavy, and the tasks seem a bit too burdensome and overwhelming, finding the gusto to push forward because the reward makes the struggle all the way worth it. That reward for me ranges from that feeling when I’ve penned the lyrics and melody to a song that totally boosts my soul (honestly its my therapy), or when I find solution to a legal mind boggle, and a client gets to stay in the US and live their dreams out. Yup, that’s funemployment for me! (DCF: Sounds like a win!)
DCF: Who was your first cheerleader?
LRJ: My parents were definitely my cheerleaders from day one. It was always either my mom or dad who would drive me around as kid to rehearsals, lessons, practices, performances, you name it! Of course I had to keep my grades up to, but they never zapped the joy out of the whole experience for me. I have fun memories of my early days with the music. As time passed, I got older, moved out and far away (for college and then for work) the support from the home front never waned. I know my mom would love it it I just stuck to singing in church (smile), but with time she’s come around. After all, I get my inspiration from her. She loves to sing and she is one heck of a fierce psychologist. #igetitfrommymama (DCF: Yassss shout out to mom, and dad, for being such a great source of support and inspiration, that is some great parenting in my book!)
DCF: What experiences in your life prepared you for where you are now?
LRJ: I can’t say just one experience brought me to the space and place in my journey that I’m at now, but I will say that the passing of my father in 2003 was critical in so many ways for gearing me up for the years to come. I was just breaking into adult hood, working, applying for law school, and singing in an Afro-Cuban band called “Milagro” when I got the call in the wee hours of the night that my father had been rushed to the hospital…he died soon thereafter. I was living in Takoma Park at that time and my parents were in California. That call was earth shattering. I was a daddy’s girl, and my dad was my anchor. He had always been, and to lose him so abruptly (he died unexpectedly in his sleep) was soul rocking (DCF: I’m a daddy’s girl too so I am welling up at the idea, I can’t imagine the pain you went through, so sorry for your loss!). The years that followed were a blur, but some how I made it through law school, found a job, built a career as an attorney and immigrant advocate, recorded albums, had some heart breaks along the way, and in one way or another kept at least one foot on the ground. Honestly, looking back, it had to be my faith in God and my belief system that something bigger than all of the pain and chaos was holding me, and my life plans from falling a part (DCF: Sometimes you just have to leave it to God to carry you through).
DCF: Where do you get your inspiration and/or motivation?
LRJ: My motivation is totally rooted in the work product of my passions! Releasing my joys and pain through music and then being able to share that with the world is a total inspiration. Helping folks obtain visas, or reunite with loved ones from abroad, avoid deportation, or get a work permit….and just being a part of the process of facilitating how it all comes to be, is just as motivating for me. In the end its the process of giving and sharing that fuels my passions.
DCF: What does balance mean to you and how do find balance?
LRJ: For me balance is finding an equilibrium in all that I do, and balance has always been important to me. I totally believe in working hard, but not at the expense of living and experiencing life. After all, we only have one life to live, and tomorrow is not promised! So for me balance means knowing when to push pause and close files and just leave the office. Or, knowing when to say “no” because today its time to spend with my loved ones. Or, some times I’ll say to myself “in these hours I carve out time just for me.” I love to run solo, and if the weather permits, I’ll run through the park and trails and just soak up God’s handy work and let my mind be still for a second. I also started going back to church every Saturday, it totally helps me reset every week! It’s critical.
DCF: What sacrifices did you have to make to get here?
LRJ: A sacrifice to me implies something I’ve had to give up, something that suffered, or something that took a back seat because of my passions. I honestly cannot say I’ve experienced any major sacrifices in that context. However, I can say having two passions (music and law) that I’ve tried to cultivate simultaneously has proven to be a challenge that I’ve had to balance…and at times one has definitely taken a back seat to the other. Who’s to say that either my legal or music career couldn’t be that much more progressed if I only had one that I poured myself into? So perhaps, the “sacrifice” is that I am not at the top of my game at either…yet. But you know what, I’m OK with that. This isn’t a race for me….I’m comfortable that in due time all that should, will manifest naturally. (DCF: All about having faith and knowing that God has sometime great in store for you if you allow him to build you up to be ready to receive it! You are definitely on your way!)
DCF: What struggles have you faced as a women in your industry?
LRJ: Hmmm, invariably the biggest struggle (in both the legal and music arena) is when folks underestimate me when I walk in the door. Whether it’s me trying to book a gig or entering the court room…it’s usually the same push back. I have actually turned that obstacle around in my mind though, and I see it as a challenge that I will over come. Period. That means I have to be that much more prepared, or that much more thick skinned to not take the hesitations and 2nd glances as an insult. It’s that much more satisfying when in the end I can prove the other person’s perspective or expectations wrong.
DCF: What is the early advice you didn’t listen to that you wish you had?
LRJ: To PLAN for tomorrow. Living in the moment is awesome, and I totally encourage and promote it! However, living in the moment does NOT mean that you do not need to set things up for a smoother ride down the road. There are building blocks I could and should have set up when I was just starting out as an attorney and as a solo artist, that I didn’t. Lucky for me, nothing I cannot sort out in the here and now, but I totally added layers to my every day living that could have been avoided. Yes, mom…you were right, I should have xyz!
DCF: What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from it?
LRJ: Ouch! Failure? Hmmm. I’ll call them life lessons. Not a fan of calling experiences, not matter how heart breaking or disappointing, as “failures.” (DCF: I agree with that, I think failure has gotten a bad connotation because none of us would be successful if we had never “failed”). I’ve had many life lessons though. I’d say that ignoring the early advise from my mom (about planning for the future) would be the greatest lesson I’ve had to learn…the hard way. It’s OK though, I’m rebooting and pushing forward.
DCF: What is your proudest moment?
LRJ: Man oh man, I’d say my proudest moment was when I passed the bar and when I recorded my first full length album of all original compositions, In Time. It’s a beautiful thing to see all your blood sweat and come to fruition. Nobody can take that away from you when it’s all said and done because it’s the sum of that journey that makes the victory so sweet! (DCF: Yes sweet victory after the struggle is the best reward).
DCF: What’s next?
LRJ: Right now, it’s about taking my music to the next level. I have a CD release concert at Blues Alley coming up on June 6th. I cannot WAIT for that performance. I’ll be joined on stage by some of DC’s best musicians. Janelle Gill on piano, Mongezi Ntaka on guitar, Kris Funn on upright bass, and a few guest artists who recorded on the album with me.
In the legal arena, I was just taped for a segment on Voice of America, discussing African immigrants and how the upcoming elections may impact us. Keep an eye out for that!
DCF: So how can people follow you and what you are doing??
LRJ: For the music, follow me on facebook, instagram, and twitter at @loidemusica or click on my website. Oh and need if you need help sorting out your immigration status, go to my site (links to my facebook are on my website).