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Columbus Makes Art Presents: HighBall Halloween Performers Amber Knicole & Isis Yasmeen on Columbus, Artistic Inspiration & 90s Divas

Michelle Gibson Michelle Gibson Columbus Makes Art Presents: HighBall Halloween Performers Amber Knicole & Isis Yasmeen on Columbus, Artistic Inspiration & 90s DivasMojoFlo's Amber Knicole presents Divas of the '90s at HighBall Halloween. Photo by Dave-Toth-Photography.
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On Friday, Oct. 26, HighBall Halloween celebrates costumes and creativity for HB: On The Rocks as local bands pay tribute to 90s music and style icons and the decade they defined. Amber Knicole will present Divas of the 90s, a mixed set of originals and covers, featuring Jenny Flory, Isis Yasmeen, Zhané Dawlingz and Rachel Maxann, along with local favorites Souther and headliner Wannabe, a top Spice Girls tribute band. Amber and Isis sat down to talk about their upcoming performance.

HighBall Halloween in Short North

MojoFlo’s Amber Knicole presents Divas of the ’90s at HighBall Halloween. Photo by Dave-Toth-Photography.

Michelle: Your performance at HB: On The Rocks is paying tribute to 90s Divas. Can you tell us a little bit more about how their legacies inspire your music?
Amber:
Music of the 90s gave me a glimpse into the complexities of womanhood. There are countless facets to being a woman and navigating that existence. Overall, I feel like the music left a legacy of female empowerment. We were told to make noise, demand respect, be bosses, love yourself, love others, question the status quo and above all, to follow your heart. Anytime I hear music from the 90s, I am instantly lifted. As a military kid, often times the only thing I had in common with other kids was music. Because I always knew Top 40, I could at least relate to new people on a musical level. Music is such a powerful connector and that is what I aim to do through my music: empower, connect and uplift!

Isis: I am a 90s girl all the way; I grew up listening to Spice Girls, Destiny’s Child, TLC, Aaliyah. If not for them, I wouldn’t have wanted to become a singer/songwriter. They have inspired my fashion, style of music and music videos — my whole career.

Michelle: What other artists or musicians inspire you?
Amber:
My all-time favorite musicians are Chaka Khan, Tina Turner, Beyoncé and Erykah Badu, but I draw inspiration from various mediums. Art is all around us. I feel very fortunate to live in a city that not only values art and artistic endeavors, but supports artists as well.

 Isis Yasmeen

Isis Yasmeen will perform at HB: On The Rocks. Photo courtesy Isis Yasmeen.

Isis: Beyoncé, Sinead Harnett, Sade.

Michelle: What do you love about the creative community in Columbus?
Amber:
I love the ‘just do it – ness’ of the community. There are so many creators in the city. It’s encouraging to see people with a passion work to make it a reality. Columbus is a city where you can build your dreams from the ground up and people will support you.

Isis: I love how Columbus celebrates the music and art community, and I love the local music scene. You can watch live music almost any night!

Michelle: How would you describe your stage shows to someone that hasn’t seen you
before?
Amber:
I would describe MojoFlo’s stage shows as an experience. The show is high energy and connected. We interact with our audiences a lot, from dancing to clapping to singing. We have incorporated a cirque aspect to our show as well, so there is also this concept of wonder to our stage shows. When you come to a MojoFlo show, you are a PART of the MojoFlo show!

Isis: Sexy and high performance.

Michelle: HighBall Halloween celebrates fashion, costumes and creativity, especially in regard to the Battelle Costume Couture Fashion Show on Saturday night. Will fashion and costuming play into your performance at HB: On The Rocks, and if so, how?
Amber:
Fashion will ABSOLUTELY play a part in our performance on both nights! MojoFlo has really enjoyed embracing HighBall Halloween themes over the years and it’s something we take seriously. We will be rocking our best 90s looks for Highball!

Isis: I will be making my own Aaliyah costume from one of her iconic videos!

Michelle: Without giving too much away, what can we look forward to for your performance at HB: On The Rocks?
Amber: You can look forward to a totally rad time with the music of the 90s through the voices you remember! We’re bringing you good times, happy feelings and all the nostalgia you didn’t know you missed!

Isis: Singing and maybe a little dancing!

Michelle: Amber, you have been described as “a voice that is a medley of power, finesse and control.” In the past year, you starred in the Short North Stage’s production of Dreamgirls as Effie White and performed a packed schedule of shows with your band, MojoFlo, at both beloved local venues and festivals as well as in Athens, Dayton, Lexington, Louisville and New Orleans. What can we look forward to seeing in the coming months from you?
Amber:
We have an exciting 2019 planned! MojoFlo will be performing at Woodland’s Tavern for New Year’s Eve, releasing new music and videos, and returning to a lot of our favorite cities and venturing to some new ones. I will be returning to Short North Stage during their 2019 season as well!

HighBall Halloween culminates on Saturday, Oct. 27 with HB: High Fashion, featuring the Battelle Costume Couture Fashion Show and performances by Effee, Funk Worthy, Mojoflo, and Nina West & Friends. Both nights feature over-the-top public costume contests and hosts Nina West and NBC4’s Monica Day and Matt Barnes. HighBall Halloween takes place outside the Greater Columbus Convention Center in the Short North Arts District. Tickets are available online until Oct. 25, or at any entry gate at the event; early bird pricing ends Oct. 12. For more information, visit highballcolumbus.org.

Columbus Makes Art Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting art and advancing culture in Columbus. The column is a project of the Art Makes Columbus campaign, telling the inspiring stories of the people and organizations who create Columbus art and sharing information about exhibitions, performances, concerts and more at ColumbusMakesArt.com. Each column will be written by a different local arts organization to give you an insiders look at how #artmakescbus.

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