If You Go

Who: Enjoli and Timeless with Edem Soul Music

Where: Miller Park 

When: July 8th at 7:30PM 

Tickets: Free 

On the day I started writing this piece, I walked by Steelhouse Omaha and saw R&B band Enjoli & Timeless listed on the marquee. They were scheduled to be one of the first Omaha acts to put their stamp on that stage the following day. A short time
later, driving down Saddle Creek, I saw them on a billboard promoting their performance at the Omaha Freedom Festival on June 17, at the Malcolm X Outside Event Plaza, alongside 13-time Grammy nominee Musiq Soulchild and gold-certified recording artist Lyfe Jennings. Billboards will pop up any day now promoting
their show as part of the Omaha Performing Arts Music at Miller Park series on July 8.

Enjoli & Timeless took time during one of their weekly practices to talk about their upcoming performances, their influences, and the process for putting out music. I was led through the house to their basement rehearsal space by a relative as the band was
listening to a song it had laid down. They were listening to it so intently they did not notice I was there, listening along with them. “We needed new material for Black Friday (an event at the Holland Center) last year,” songwriter and vocalist Enjoli Mitchell
said about the song, “Instead Of Me,” we had just listened to.

“Not that my wife is loving anybody instead of me, but you have to feel the groove of the music. When the vibe hits you, you have to know what type of song to put to it, and that is what came out of that track. Basically, who are you out here loving instead of
me? I am not blind. I can see. But it has a really good feel, and it just came out way better than I thought it would be.”

Enjoli & Timeless are a contemporary R&B band, but when asked about their influences, the answer was “the church” from all band members. “I like to think of us as three PK kids and a sinner,” bassist Ray Williams said. “I am the only one who is not a preacher’s kid.”

“I grew up in the church,” Mitchell said. “I always sang. My mom was a lead singer, and my dad was an organ player. Music was always around me. I always went to choir rehearsal with them, but as far as the group, we came together in 2017. I had the opportunity to open for Pleasure P at the Bourbon Theater in Lincoln. I didn’t even have a band, and I asked, ‘Can I bring a band? and they were like yeah. So a serious fluke, we came together. We met one day, I saw her (drummer Eden Butler), I saw both of them (also keyboardist Timothy Corbitt) playing, and that was that.”

When it comes to writing songs, Mitchell said, “Tim or Ray will come up with the melody and the music. Eden and I along with our other people will sit down and feel the track out first. You have to feel what type of song it is. Is it a love song? Is it a
breakup song? Is it an I hate you song? It has to have a feeling, so you follow that feeling, and we just run with it. We critique each other. We are not afraid to say no, that sucks or however it goes. We have been doing this long enough to know that
constructive criticism is not a problem for us.”

“It is a thought process,” Williams said. “We all think it out. We go through every situation, everything that everyone has been through, problems they have been through, and different relationships, and we like to play that through music.”
Besides the church, Mitchell says she is influenced by her parents, Aretha Franklin, Patti Labelle, and other artists “who really sang with feeling and emotion and belted it out.” She also mentions Omaha artist Dani Cleveland: “I haven’t seen anyone in the city as unique. She is just so versatile, and I want to be versatile just like that. I really lean into people like her.”

Corbitt, a self-taught musician and composer, mentions artists such as Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, and Corey Henry as his influences. “These are just musicians that I wanted to play likeand feel what they feel like when they play music,” he said. “I told
myself that I want to be just like that.” Williams mentions gospel singer and bassist Fred Hammond and Omaha bassist Greg Bowie as influences. He says he loves
everything around music, whether it be classical, rock, or even *NSYNC. Butler names Snarky Puppy, Nicki Glaspie, and Omaha drummer Curly Martin, who recently died. “I was able to sit in under him for six months,” she said, “and that was life-changing
for me. He had so much knowledge, and that man is going to really be sorely missed. I just remember long and hot sessions and talks in the garage about the history of Omaha.”

Besides the upcoming single, the band is working toward a
second full-length album. “The game has changed,” Mitchell said.
“It is no longer about the album; it’s about throwing singles out
or maybe three or four songs on an EP. It’s all about social-media
presence, and the singles and the visuals.

“I like the feeling of selling CDs out of the trunk, but I like the option of uploading the video in one place and it is going to go everywhere. Either way works, but you have to stick with the way, and right now the way is social media.”

The band has been getting gigs over the past few years with Omaha Performing Arts. The show on July 8 will be their third time performing at Music At Miller Park. Mitchell said OPA is crushing on them a little bit, and they are crushing back. “It is a blessing to be back three times,” Mitchell said. “I have said it before: There are so many other artists in this city who haven’t had that opportunity, and we have been there twice before. It is great to see the community come out, and they really come out. Even when it rained that one year, we still had a huge turnout. It lets you know who really supports you, that the city is really behind you, and that OPA really does support Enjoli & Timeless. Who else would you want to be associated with?”

It’s an opportunity, and we don’t take any for granted. We are grateful.” What would she like to see the audience come away with? “Every single word, every single beat, every single key that Tim plays, every string that Ray plays, every kick, snare, and high hat that Eden plays, every note, every word, feel everything that we do because that is what music is about. Why have music if you can’t feel it?”

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