Liz Anderson, wtop.com
WASHINGTON -- First of all, have you ever heard of Afro-Lusophone Jazz? If you haven't, don't feel too bad.
"I just made that up," D.C.-based singer Loide (loy-deh') Rosa Jorge says of the descriptor she uses to encapsulate her music's stylistic origins: She's of African descent with roots in Mozambique and Guinea Bissau and is also fluent in Portuguese.
"The jazz is the American influence of what I'm doing. I literally just merged the two, put it in a name, and am introducing that to the world."
Her first studio project, "In Time," is a reflection of those influences, which include singers such as Cape Verde's Cesária Évora, South Africa's Miriam Makeba, Nigerian/English singer Sade and African-American artists Sarah Vaughan and Leontyne Price.
Born in France and raised in Southern California, Loide was steeped in various cultures "by virtue of where my parents decided to live, in a very global situation."
Music, mostly church music, was an integral part of her upbringing. During those days, she decided that singing would be part of her life no matter what else happened.
These days she works as an immigration attorney, but she started as a medical technologist.
"It was fascinating, but I hated it," Loide says of her first career - she craved more interaction at work, and wanted to tap into her natural skill set.
"In high school and in college, I was always very verbose, and I liked to pull things apart and find the rationale behind things," she says.
"I think a part of me always wanted to be a lawyer."
Loide didn't seek to practice immigration law, but fell into it because of scheduling conflicts. While in school, she was still working full-time as a medical technologist while attending law school part-time at The American University Washington College of Law.
"I had ideas of either working for the Department of State or the UN, but there's no way I could get a clerkship or an internship with my crazy schedule. So the one firm I could find was an immigration firm and they worked with my loopy schedule, and from day one, literally, I loved it."
But Loide stayed true to her choice to keep singing an integral part of her life. She honed her craft through the years by sitting in at gigs of local jazz musicians who sometimes let her on the microphone.
Eventually she joined an Afro-Cuban band called Milagro as a vocalist. From there, she landed her own engagements around the District, all while working full-time and attending law school.
"But I wasn't doing this every night. A full-time musician has way more time and energy to invest than I did. So, I would probably be singing about once a month."
Singing traditional jazz was an enjoyable outlet, but eventually Loide wanted to find her own voice.
"As much as I identify as African-American, because I am African and grew up in America, I'm not. There's a distinct sound and identity that comes from the music that I listened to that was separate and distinct from jazz. And so at some point it was about finding a way to merge the two worlds."
Enter Afro-Lusophone jazz, followed by local performances at Blues Alley, Bohemian Caverns and Zanzibar. She's also opened for Hugh Masekela and Oliver Mtukudzi and was one of several artists to perform at a tribute concert after her heroine Makeba passed away.
"I was one of many that opened for Paul Simon, but that night was about Miriam Makeba," Loide says.
Following her passion for music, she's also released two CDs - "Loide, Live at Bohemian Caverns" and "In Time" which consists of original songs.
While the title cut is about regaining your center after tragedy, Loide says "In Time" also reflects the path she's taken to make her first studio CD.
"I have been singing all my life," Loide says. She's been singing professionally about 12 years. Even though it's taken this long to release a studio project, Loide says "when things are supposed to happen, they happen in time."
It'll be time for Loide to perform at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave., in Northwest D.C., on Saturday, July 5. Show times are 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
© 2014 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.