Something snapped inside the mind of CJ Temple one day to where she noticed something was not right. She took inventory on what her life was consumed by: working the vigorous, extended hours that encompass those in corporate America. Self-doubt along with her mental health was waging in heavy combat with one another and the end wasn’t in sight.
Cue in TikTok. The intrigue and creativity that social media platform provides curators gave Temple the push to post some lighthearted videos. She started off posting covers, followed by some originals. Having done this provided the strength for Temple to discover the passion of music. Temple’s audience grew to one million followers and soon thereafter Nashville artist manager Erin Anderson encouraged the singer-songwriter to record an album.
Set for release on January 28, 2022, Temple’s debut Smoke signifies an individual that has emerged from the darkness and is ready to soar. Representing what clouds the good in one’s life (depression, trauma, anxiety), Temple’s vulnerability is on full display which allows listeners to embrace the songs fully.
Today, Temple has shared the album title’s single. Temple’s vocals are encompassed with serenity while the instrumentals float gracefully from beginning to end. Here’s Temple on the track: “Before ‘Smoke’ was written, I had spent many years battling my own mind, struggling with pain and anger I didn’t understand and was too afraid to confront. When I finally did, however, I realized how much relief there is in doing so, and my journey to healing began. ‘Smoke’ is about seeing relief in the distance and making the choice to suffer through the pain and discomfort of healing in order to get to there.”
Produced in Nashville by Josh Kaler (Marc Scibilia, William Fitzsimmons, Frances Cone), the album feels intricately polished yet somehow raw. Temple has the chops of a seasoned a capella singer paired with a vulnerable, self-aware lyrical style and a knack for lush, well-placed harmonies. Her smooth voice seems to float over themix, creating a compelling style that feels both expansive and pure (think Imogen Heap meets Depeche Mode). With elegant, thoughtful lyrics drawn from personal experience, the songs explore themes of love and sadness with characteristic authenticity. “It’s the culmination of everything, right? Love and sadness. Put ’em together and that’s life.”
Photo Courtesy: Shawnee Custalow