When it came to recording her solo debut In Search of Me, polished R&B singer-songwriter Jade Novah set out to compose an album with an attention-grabbing storyline listeners could follow from start to finish. “I wanted to do something different from just putting a bunch of songs together that don’t connect,” says Novah, pointing out that “each song is part of a bigger picture.”

Novah and producer Devin Johnson actually penned a movie script, then gave birth to the soulful soundtrack. Novah describes the result as “visuals through sound.” In Search of Me chronicles a girl’s journey of self-discovery as she learns there’s more to life than fame. “This is a fictional character, but I’ve definitely experienced some of these things in my personal life,” she says.

Novah’s unorthodox big-screen approach to songwriting stems from her passion for acting and a love of musical theater, which she picked up from her mom growing up in Cleveland. She started singing as a little girl in the church, and later graduated to singing in girl groups. “In the earlier stages of my music exploration, I did not have a voice. I did not have any creative control, and it turned into a situation where I didn’t want to be an artist anymore,” says Novah, who at 21 transitioned to writing songs for artists like Melanie Fiona and Christina Milian. “What I got from writing for other artists was my love of acting. I got to play these different characters by writing for other singers,” she explains.

She returned to her first love, singing, in 2012.

“Now that I get to do it on my own terms, I am very excited about showing the world what I can do,” says Novah, who made a name for herself and caught Rolling Stone magazine’s attention last year with her astounding YouTube cover of Rihanna’s “Diamonds,” which garnered 11 million views.

Infusing a touch of theatrics to her commanding voice also extends to Novah’s unique stage performance. “The show is set up like a mini play. We have acting elements and even skits,” she describes. Jade Novah’s In Search of Me will be released soon. Until then, you can get a taste of her Broadway infused R&B with her first single, “Show Out.”—Alexandra Phanor-Faury

Follow Jade Novah on Twitter @JadeNovah and check out her website, JadeNovah.com.

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