By the age of 15, Imani had already written 10 songs, and began her career recording demos and hooks for various artists and projects. While majoring in Vocal Music at Washington Irving High School, a school for musically gifted and artistic youth, Ms. Gooden continued to display impressive vocal ability, as well as a knack for musical instruments. Learning to play the piano has expanded her musical genre and has made her a more versatile artist. She credits her musical ability to her vocal teachers Ms. Ednah Holt and Mr Lucas Weiss.
Like many who grew up in New York City, life for Imani was not easy. Living through harsh custodial battles, ending up in a single parent home, watching her mother become a victim of domestic violence, drug abuse and moving to 5 different places in a 3 year span, she has faced life changing milestones and overwhelming odds. However, instead of letting these experiences consume her, Imani channeled these emotions into her music, creating her own individual sound and style.
“I used to struggle with “writer’s block. I would stare at a page for hours on end simply trying to force music outward. I soon realized the moment I stopped trying and let go of expectations the music wrote itself.”
Imani has performed at many venues across New York City and the tristate area including Milk River, Billie’s Black Lounge, The Tea Lounge, The Hip-Hop Center, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Amarachi Lounge, and The Westside YMCA. In 2010, Imani’s hard work came to fruition when she was given an opportunity to record for a Sear’s commercial produced by her long-time friend and musical companion Venor Yard. The song, “Many Sides” was downloadable on the Sear’s website for six months.
Her duet with Venor Yard “More Than Friends”, which was written by the talented Elliot White, was chosen for the BET Movie 2016 “Lucky Girl” soundtrack.
Imani has also expanded her talents to musical theatre, playing the role ‘Sandy’, a television producer, in the off Broadway musical “The Michales Are Out of Control!” Directed by Bees and Butterflies Theresa Bastien. Her most recent off Broadway role was that of ‘Netta’ in Love in a Different Key musical. This Hit R&B musical, written by Essence Mason had 3 sold out shows in December 2019 and had great reviews! “Here for You” performed by Imani and fellow singer and costar fellow Norlette Nichols is available on the musical soundtrack, available on all online outlets.
After much anticipation Imani is expecting to release her debut album in Fall 2020 on all streaming platforms.