Spotlight: Jesi Naomi


Just two years ago, Jesi Naomi was teaching herself to play piano by sequestering herself in practice rooms in the music building at Sac State. Now the keyboardist/guitarist/singer/songwriter is a regular gigging machine. “When I tell people I just began a couple of years ago, they don’t believe me,” says the 24-year-old Naomi, who performs July 8 at Cesar Chavez Park, part of the Friday night concert series. It’s her first slot at Cesar, and she’s pumped. “It’s very exciting,” says Naomi, who frequently performs at the ZuhG Life store at Downtown Plaza, Pangaea Cafe and Capitol Garage. A Chico transplant, Naomi was raised in a musical family and knows a thing or two about music history: When asked about her influences, she casually mentions gospel great Mahalia Jackson and blues legend Billie Holiday. “There’s a mixture of things that go into my music—blues, soul, R&B, hip-hop, rock, reggae,” says Naomi. And stage fright is not an issue: She’s been performing in musical theater since she was a kid. Catch Jesi Naomi, James Cavern and The Bell Boys opening for the Gerald Pease Combo and The Nibblers on Friday, July 8 at Cesar Chavez Park, 10th and J streets in Sacramento. The show starts at 5 p.m. and is free. For more information, visit or call (916) 442-8575.