Here's someone I truly admire. Not because she sings like an angel, but because her humanity shines through her music. 

For those of you who don't know Jae Franklin, it's a shame! In the honour of #cheerstolife, I've invited her over here to speak about her latest album and our creative work together.

Read on and scroll down to find more of her on the internet!

The year was 2012. I was on the tail end of a 7-month performance contract while simultaneously writing and recording songs for my new album. I had every intention of completing my album by 2013, but as the universe would have it, I had some major life changes that led me to Abu Dhabi that year. Within months of relocating, I met Nabeela Huda. Her attitude, personality and talent were refreshing. She seemed to ‘get me’ and we discovered we both had a lot in common! I decided that when the time was right, I would arrange a photo shoot with her.

Let’s fast forward to 2015…

My new album was complete and so it was finally time for the long-awaited photo shoot.


We scheduled a lunch meeting where Nabeela drew up an awesome mood board inspired by my new album’s artwork and concepts that best described ‘Cheers to Life’. It was then decided that the yellow and white in the Cheers to Life Album would play off on white walls and would be displayed on the clothing, props, and environment. We ended finalising a definite time and place for the Cheers to Life photo shoot.

We started with styling wardrobe and accessories, secured make-up looks, tossed around pose suggestions and discussed budget and length of time for the shoot. We were ready for this. 

On the day of the shoot as we entered the building, we knew exactly what we wanted and wasted no time at all! We shot at The Space in twofour54, Abu Dhabi. With floor to ceiling windows, clean white walls, a striking green plant wall, and humongous outside areas, it was the perfect spot to create the exact looks we wanted. The white walls and plant wall were specifically important to us because of the simple yet telling concept behind the Cheers to Life album artwork.

With the team comprised of Sabira as production/photography assistant and Ellaine on wardrobe and make-up, we made smooth transitions from one look to the next. Morning turned into afternoon, and we didn’t even notice because we were having so much fun! We soon went outside to take advantage of the sunshine and open air. She had me jumping on the concrete and swinging on ladders, but her instincts never steered us in the wrong direction.

The photo shoot came and passed.

I launched Cheers to Life on February 2nd, 2016. 

As a result of our time together, Nabeela’s brilliant work on the Cheers toLife photo shoot has been seen by thousands of people around the world. The selected images from our Cheers to Life photo shoot have been included in major music and lifestyle online and print publications in the US, UK, Asia and many more places. When media professionals and curious folks ask about the images, I’m so proud and happy to tell people that my “little sis” was behind the lens. She was the mastermind behind the images they want to know more about. It simply warms my heart to introduce Nabeela’s work to them. It may not mean a lot to you, but these images represent where I am today after the 3 year journey of writing and recording Cheers to Life. I could only trust Nabeela with the visual image representation for a collection of music that is so special to me.  

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