Jones County native, Kayla Dixon, nominated for music award in Washington D.C. – Kinston Free Press

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A Jones County native, Kayla Dixon, is recognized for her musical talent with a nomination under the best music video category for the 36th Annual Wammie Music Awards.

The Wammie Awards are based in the Washington Metropolitan Area, where Dixon currently resides, as a graduate of Howard University.

Dixon has been singing since she was a little girl, starting back home at her church in North Carolina. Locally, Dixon was known for singing the national anthem at Jones Senior High School basketball games.

“When I was a little kid, I think I did want to like be a music artist, but as you get older, ideas like that are fleeting, because you think it might not be realistic,” Dixon said.

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However, Dixon was afforded the opportunity to record in a studio because of a job she took at a photography and vocal studio in Maryland.

When Dixon showed up for her first day, she expected to begin training for the photography position. Since none of the photographers showed up to train Dixon, the studio owner, Projex Santana, showed Dixon around the studio and asked if she could sweep and mop the floors.

“I told him that I’d be glad to,” Dixon said. “I’m almost done mopping, and he’s in the studio listening to these random beats he forgot that he had. While he was listening to the beats, I was in another room, mopping and humming along.”

Santana heard Dixon, and offered to let her in the studio. She asked the name of the album he’s currently working on, to which he replied with the title, “SOL TIES”.

“I just started singing about soul ties,” Dixon said. “That’s how it came about, we never even wrote the words down, we just went in, and we improved the whole session.”

Santana liked the song so much that he added the song, titled “SOL TIES”, to his album. Dixon said that once the album came out, “SOL TIES” was one of the top songs from the album.

Eventually, Santana approached Dixon with a music video idea for the song, which she was all for.

“We just did it organically, you’ll see that there’s like dancing in the music video, and it was all improvised, the same way the song went,” Dixon said. “It was just like an effortless thing that we had fun with and it felt good.”

The video brings some southern soul to the Washington culture with shots captured in an open field, much like the ones in our rural communities in North Carolina. The upbeat R&B tune of the song, “SOL TIES”, talks about the power of soul ties.

“Then there’s a line in it that says, ‘I make you feel like church don’t I,’ and there are people who will see me and they’ll say that line,” Dixon said. “And it’s a joke, but at the same time it definitely reminds me of the essence of home.”

When Dixon shared the music video online, she received a lot of positive feedback. Not only is Dixon excited about more exposure for the song, she’s also hopeful that it could spark big dreams in another small town individual.

“I posted it on Facebook and I got a lot of love. I even saw people who had reshared it, they would start making posts about how there’s so much talent in these communities and they’re glad to see it,” Dixon said. “I’d be happy to spark the interest of somebody else, or a little kid somewhere.”

If “SOL TIES” is one of the top nominees from the best music video category, Dixon and Santana will get to attend the Wammie Awards Ceremony and advance to the final judging round.

“I do know that people around here think of like the Wammie Awards as like the Grammys for Washington D.C.,” Dixon said. “They’re really just trying to encourage people in the arts to continue to keep doing what it is that they’re doing, because D.C. is a very artsy place, to say the least.”

Voting ends Jan. 31, on the Wammie Awards website. Visit, click “judge”, and search “Kayla Dixon” to vote for “SOL TIES” (Projex Santana ft. Kayla Dixon).

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