Her charismatic smile lit up the room as we entered the studio. With pig tailed-braids, nude heels, and a bright red 50’s styled dress, Imaj Thomas wasn’t the quintessential country artist archetype that had walked through the studio doors many times before her. As a non-traditional radio show for the established culture on campus, Red Dirt Radio’s co-hosts, Brooke & Pat, were anticipating an artist that fit their wide-ranging music taste. The interview with Imaj pulled obligatory questions such as her country music inspirations as well as the antiquated question “UT, Texas Tech, or Texas A&M?” With a large listening audience including Imaj’s fan base and patrons of RadioUTD, this interview hit the visual waves of Facebook Live for the first time in Red Dirt Radio’s history (links to these videos can be found for Part I here and for Part II here).
As the interview began, Imaj opened with a greeting of “peace and love” to her viewing fans whom she distinguished as her “fan-mily”. This hosted a discussion based upon her philosophical practice of perpetual optimism. Mid-way through the first portion of our discussion, a viewer had left a comment on our feed referring to Imaj as a suburbanite with little experience. It was with this unfortunate circumstance that Imaj portrayed tranquility and composure even in the face of discrimination. As an artist who discussed her trials and tribulations related to discriminatory remarks such as the one that arose during our interview, Imaj pushed for acceptance and kindness to all people, as signified in her artistry such as the songs Colorblind, a song dedicated to racial adversity, and Hallelujah, a song she performs in five different languages. She also displayed a notable passion for mental health and the practice of accepting those who have been identified by a hidden ability difference.
As the in-studio sit-down continued, Imaj soon expressed her musical inspiration to fall upon older Red Dirt artists such as Hank Williams, Sr., Johnny Cash, and Willie Nelson. Our love for Texas Country artists incited the regularly-asked question on whether she was a supporter of the University of Texas, Texas Tech University, or Texas A&M University as a long-standing guest tally established by former Red Dirt Radio co-host Josh Baltzell. In astonishment, she was the first guest artist to give kudos to every university listed and did not hold a support for any specific school. She then shared that she was born in Miami Beach, Florida (side note: her father is Philip Michael Thomas, Tubbs from Miami Vice) and later moved to Dallas, Texas while in high school. With this, she was still adjusting to the renowned “Texas culture” that every Lone Star citizen prides themselves on. It was a shock to listeners when she provided insight on her first experience performing at the State Fair of Texas this past Fall. Imaj noted the gallery of various fried foods to be the most outrageous part of the fair even in recognition that she had performed on the Chevrolet Stage, the largest performance arena at the annual state-wide event.
By the end of the interview, Imaj still maintained fans who watched the entire duration of the interview on Facebook Live totaling an eye-opening two and a half hours. In closing, she shared new landmark information that she will be debuting a five-track album in the foreseeable future. We want to thank Imaj for joining Red Dirt Radio this past week. For more information on future guest appearances, upcoming concerts, and ticket giveaways, follow @UTDRedDirtRadio as well as @RadioUTD on Twitter.