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Meet Jessey Jansen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessey Jansen.

Hi Jessey, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
Creating has always been a companion for me, allowing me to make sense of seemingly uncontrolled situations through controlled mediums. Most of my work is inspired by my childhood and being raised in a household constantly challenged with material and health hardships. My late mother, a tender and complex soul, has had the single most influence on my work.

In 2006, upon recommendation from a former college professor, I was nominated as an emerging artist at the Peninsula Art School in Door County, Wisconsin. I began to use art as a purpose-driven awareness tool to help encourage civic dialogue and action on the challenges of poverty and social mobility; the work led to a volunteer sponsorship. In 2011 I journeyed to the Serengeti of Tanzania.

While in Maasailand volunteering with a women’s collective, I was extended an invitation to see a choir performance. After the moving performance, the Maasai women started a dialogue about their plight and asked for my help sharing their stories. Intensely energized by the discussion but boarding my flight home the next day, I was consumed by the idea of recording and producing a music CD of the choir. I returned to the US and, for the next year, diligently researched logistics and fundraising ideas to accomplish the goal of producing an album. In the summer of 2012, I set off for Tanzania for the recording.

The original album has since evolved into the official independent label. It has a talent roster of over 45 artists and content creators, featuring original music, podcasts, articles, and competitions for emerging talent in Maasailand. My vision has always been to advance opportunities, crack stereotypes and build bridges for creative talent. The Voice of Maasai music label has allowed me and my team to stretch the boundaries of possibilities and usher individual creative potential.

In my current role as Owner of Little Lady Studio Publishing and Executive Producer of Voice of Maasai music label, I focus on empowering individual creativity in and around Maasailand by using our platform for expression and professional growth for emerging talent in the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania. By connecting a global audience with emerging Maasai talent, we seek to provide an authentic and nuanced view of the Savannahs of East Africa and create unique opportunities for our artists to succeed.

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
(Delete -In my humble experience, I used art and design as my tool to navigate through the dysfunctional cycles of having grown up poor. To my advantage, my parents fostered a strong commitment to education, support, and rallying for the mutual benefit of the family, and this is what shaped my professional goals and business acumen.)

As a social entrepreneur, I strongly believe that the arts are a profession of insight, rigor, and practicality that can be used as an agent for positive social change. Guided by what I call the C-Factor: Creativity builds Confidence, Confidence shapes Character, and Character strengthens Communities, helps my team, and I keep an open mind to obstacles and challenges. The pandemic years were a true testament to the resilience and sustainability of our international label as we just launched our celebratory 10yr anniversary choir album, Upendo.

Like any creative career, the biggest challenge is not to be hindered by rules and convention, as only unconventional thought will result in a project’s potential to be more. Bumps along the way are inevitable but make for better-informed decisions moving forward.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
As lead creator and owner of Little Lady Studio publishing company, my combined skills in arts, graphic design, marketing, and project management forms my strong creative business foundation. Still, my true passion lies in unleashing the creativity and empowerment goals of others. This unique focus and evolution of business goals allow me to continuously flex my imagination in developing this truly unique social impact media brand that defies odds, expands worldviews and slices through cultural barriers. We hope you’ll get involved and join us as a new fan.

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
Listening is the key to genuinely valuing others and the ability to lead from the back is critical; understanding that illuminating the work of my team and the importance of sharing information is a win for all.

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