Beaufort-area singer Mahoganee has a name that evokes memories of one of her earliest musical influences, Diana Ross, who starred in a movie titled "Mahogany."
The 41-year-old began singing professionally just after graduating high school and describes her music as sounding like a combination of Mini Ripperton, Janis Joplin and Lauryn Hill. She will perform during a reception for the 10th annual Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce Artist Showcase from 5 to 7 p.m. May 25 at Sea Island Best Western in Beaufort.
A native of Summerton, Mahoganee performs cover songs with a three-piece band from Savannah, but she prefers to sing the music she writes because she likes to convey her own messages, which she says are "positive and inspiring and ... empower women."
Currently her favorite song to sing is "Black Butterfly."
While she writes the lyrics, the music is composed by her husband, Cheefahdray, who describes the music as funky, organic soul.
"It is not R&B, not classic but a fusion of good feeling music and lyrics," Cheefahdray said.
The couple moved to St. Helena Island more than a year ago and said they find the Lowcountry peaceful and cathartic. "The music and lyrics come so easily."
"Our music is about helping the community, and the youth in the community," Mahoganee said.
In addition to producing three albums, Mahoganee has performed at ArtWorks, at Penn Center's Heritage Days, Relay For Life, KidFest and at the Black Expo held last fall at Technical College of the Lowcountry.
Her music can be heard on radio stations in Washington, D.C., the United Kingdom, Savannah, North Carolina and Internet stations.
She has been selected by RAW Artist, an indie arts organization, which focuses on underground talent. She will perform as a RAW Artist on Aug. 2 at The Stage in Miami.
The couple publish an online arts magazine called Responsible Artistry. The name is a nod to her mother, who died in 2005 before she could hear her daughter's original music.
"My husband and I decided that everything we put out must be something that Mom would be proud of," Mahoganee said.
She said music has had a positive effect on her life: "When I sing I feel like I'm flying. I'm free. (It's a) very authentic good feeling. It makes me feel good. Once I got older and I realized it made other people feel good, that was just icing on the cake."