Artists Work :: Jamaal Collier

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Three Sheds for Three Sites

Rebecca Juliette Interviews Performance Artist Jamaal Collier

Artists Work is a BmoreArt interview series that explores the work that artists do to make a living while they work on their ‘real work’ – their art.

Jamaal ‘Black Root’ Collier is a multidisciplinary performance artist and teaching artist who channels his art form through theatre, vocal percussion, emceeing (Rapping), singing, spoken word poetry and hosting events. His mission is always to communicate, entertain, enlighten, and grow with his audience. Root knows he has as much to learn from his performances as those who witness them.


Name: Jamaal ‘Mr. Root’ Collier
Age: I’m in my prime =)
Website: Hit me on the Instagram! @Blackroot1

Description of Art You Make:

I’m a professional multidisciplinary performance artist. My focus is in the culture of hip-hop, rap, and beatboxing/vocal percussion specifically. I play the didgeridoo. I’m also a spoken word artist and actor. My improv ability proves gainful in the attributes mentioned above.

Day Job:

Full-Time Musician/Artist. Self-Employed Teaching Artist. Rapper/Emcee. Daddy. Chocolate Man Stallion.

YAMD Roster Artist
YAMD Artist of the Year!! 2016
MSAC Roster Artist


Hours per week at work:

Pretty much everything outside of eating, sleeping, and family is work so it’s variable. If I were to include travel time, planning, and daily business meetings and calls, I could easily average 70+ hours weekly.

Hours per week in studio:

This also varies. I haven’t consistently been in recording studio in the past month but that will pick up next month for sure! I’m a performance artist so even when I’m not performing regularly at night or weekends, I still get to share with the young scholars and professors.

Duties or tasks performed at day job:

Working with children.
Working with Administrators, Professors, and other Teaching Artists.
Cultivating and inspiring a creative outlet, spark, model, intangible other random greatness for students. The students do the SAME for me.
Learning from students and professors in real time.
Crafting arts integrated lesson plans that tie in to academic needs of grade levels from K-12.
Professional Development that provides additional connections between young scholars and professors as well as myself.
Writing really great raps/rhyming couplets.
Teaching students rapidity raps.

Best thing about your day job:

Being at an event and the person on the microphone asks, “How many of you all hate/can’t stand your job?!” and I’m one of the only people who doesn’t raise their hand, lol.

I actually have several jobs but they are a part of one career choice. I am a full time artist/creative. The cool thing about my Clark Kent day job is when I’m there, I’m still Superman… So really, I’m more like T’Challa aka The Black Panther. I’m not really hiding my identity. Know who I am all the time, my clothing is just different sometimes.

How does your day job enhance or detract from your studio practice?

I’m always applying new concepts and skill sets and remembering old ones. They both aid each other

Favorite job ever:

Current. See ‘Best Thing About Your Day Job.’ Young Audiences of Maryland and the City of Baltimore have helped a great deal in making this a reality for me.

Job you couldn’t wait to leave:

Burlington Coat Factory. However, they were more than great coats (rimshot).

Is it your goal to become a full-time artist? Why or why not?

Yea. I’m following my heART and providing for my family. I really like shelter and don’t starve literally or figuratively. It is truly a blessing

What advice do you have for young artists just out of school, in terms of balancing your work and studio practice?

Make sure you have a mentor because nothing is new under the sun. You are unique, but you can always improve upon a path that already exists while forging new ones. Don’t wait for a big break. Create your own.

What’s coming up next for you as an artist? What projects are you working on or looking forward to?

On August 5th, Young Audiences of Maryland is having a final student performance:

9:30am-11:15am at Thomas Jefferson Elementary/Middle School (605 Dryden Drive)
1:15pm-2:45pm at Gardenville Elementary School (5300 Belair Road)

What’s coming up next for you as an artist? What projects are you working on or looking forward to?
On August 5th, Young Audiences of Maryland is having a final student performance:

On August 12th I have a really fantastic band show (18 & up) at the WindUp Space on 12 W. North Av, Baltimore.

I have an AWESOME collaboration with Max Bent and we have created Baby Beats! with Max and Root ( We are working on an album.

My band the Black Root Underground is also gearing/saving up for studio work as well ( the site is currently under construction.

I also have projects with, Wordslave ( & J Pope ( on deck as well.

a2003741664_16 jamaal1 jamaal5
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