The Voice of the Street: Enjoli Mitchell’s Passion Drives Sultry R&B VocalsApr 28, 2022 04:50PM ● By Sarah Wengert
Photo by Bill Sitzmann
It’s a warmer than average spring evening, and bandmates Enjoli Mitchell and Eden Butler sit elbow-to-elbow outside, laughing at inside jokes and wearing smiles as bright as the blazing, soon-to-set sun. There’s silliness but, even as the two joke and jostle, also a clear display of mutual support and a unified passion for music.
“See, this is the same vibe we give onstage,” Mitchell said. “We just really like to have fun, make noise, and make music. That passion keeps us together.”
Mitchell sings for Enjoli & Timeless, in which Butler handles drumming duties, Timothy Corbitt plays keys, and Ray Williams plays bass guitar. They affectionately call themselves “four-piece-and-a-biscuit.”
Mitchell grew up singing in church in North Omaha, alongside her organist father, vocalist mother, and other family and community members.
“Both sides of my family are musically oriented, between playing instruments and singing,” Mitchell said. “[Music] was in me before I even knew what it was. Then, when I was about 16/17, I figured out that I could sing outside of the church.”
Mitchell emphasizes strong lyrical content, citing influences including Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin, Jazmine Sullivan, Fantasia, Tyrese, and Musiq Soulchild. Her natural talent does the rest—with vocals that come in smooth and silky but also pack a spicy smack.
“To know Enjoli is to love her,” Butler said. “If you close your eyes and just listen to the music, the lyrical content is the contents of her heart, and it's pure. It draws people in, like the moth to the flame. That passion is there and that's what I appreciate. That's what keeps us together and keeps us pushing.”
After briefly living in Denver, Mitchell moved back to Omaha in 2015, due to her older sister Elissa’s death.
“I’d actually strayed away from music and, with the passing of my sister, that's what relit my fire to come back to it,” Mitchell said. “We formed the band in early 2017, and by May 2017 we were opening for Pleasure P, a world-renowned artist, as one of our first shows.”
That show was “the official birth” of Enjoli & Timeless. Since then, the group opened for acts such as CeCe Peniston, Keith Sweat, Juvenile, Angela Winebush, Lecrae, and Twista. Mitchell says the journey is humbling and she never takes it for granted, but it’s not just about big names and big stages. She and Butler agree one of their top moments was playing Omaha Performing Arts’ Music at Miller Park series in 2021.
“Growing up in North Omaha and going to Miller Park pool, then making it through the streets and being able to come back and perform in a place where you grew up is really humbling,” Mitchell said. “Omaha has such a rich music culture.”
Although Mitchell says Enjoli & Timeless’ favorite place to play is “anywhere and everywhere,” Love’s Jazz & Arts Center was a favorite venue for years. The Jewell is a current haunt for the group and Mitchell, who sometimes performs there with other musicians, including Andrew Bailie and Mitch Towne.
“I love The Jewell, it’s one of my favorite places to perform and it’s opened us up to a totally different crowd of people that really like our music. The sound guy there, Randen Foland, is hands down, A-1, one of the best sound guys, and Brian McKenna, the owner, is such a cool dude,” Mitchell said, also praising the venue’s aesthetic.
As a result of the band’s passion and hustle, people are listening. Mitchell’s been intermittently dubbed “The Voice of the City” and “The Voice of the Street.” She’s proud those monikers didn’t originate from a critic. They came from a fan who recognized her at work and said, “You’re the voice of the city.” Mitchell says it stuck, although it developed variations.
“It blew my mind because I didn't expect that. I'm just doing music because it's my passion, not to be the voice of the city or the voice of streets — it’s just what I love,” Mitchell said. “But it makes you feel like you're doing the right thing. People are seeing, hearing, and accepting [your work] … they're receptive to it and taking notice.”
In February 2022, after years of nominations in both Soul and R&B categories, Enjoli & Timeless won their first Omaha Entertainment and Arts Award, for Outstanding R&B.
Mitchell released her first solo album, Set the Mood, in 2013, working with Alfonzo Jones at Icon One Recording Studio. Enjoli & Timeless have also released multiple tracks and videos, and practice, write, create, and stay in the studio as much as possible. The group plans to release an album in summer 2022.
“People think Omaha is so small that you can't gain big wings here, but you just got to work on it. Put your head down and keep pushing. If it's supposed to be, it'll be—no matter where you are,” Mitchell said. “Singing is my passion, and that passion keeps me going.”
Mitchell is quick to credit her support system, especially bandmates and family.
“They all push me and it helps me keep going,” said Mitchell. “And so does my sister [Elissa], because she’d be so proud of me if she was here. She would have loved to go on this journey with me.”
Follow Mitchell and her bandmates at Facebook.com/EnjoliandTimeless. Enjoli & Timeless’ music is available on iTunes and Spotify.
This article originally appeared in the May 2022 issue of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.