With mainstream pop music becoming more dumbed down every year it's no surprise that eventually there would be some sort of conflicting reaction to take things in a different direction. That reaction has come in the form of San Francisco via Oakland multi-instrumentalist, Jhameel. The up and coming artist told us he wants to create, "passionate, emotional music, with deep subjects and mix that with pop structure". He successfully does so in the vein of past greats, Prince and Michael Jackson, while channeling his tracks through a more progressive modern day sound.
It was our pleasure to talk to Jhameel about his musical background, dream collaborations, co-writes for pop stars, touring plans and his goals outside of music. You can find what the pop expert had to say along with the recently released music video for his Dance EP stand out "Shut Up", below. Jhameel's last three studio efforts are currently available for free download over at his official website.
I read that you record everything on your records yourself. How and when did you get so involved with writing and recording music?
Kind of out of necessity. I started recording music when I was twelve and I just got better stuff over the years and then worked with programs for years, just figuring it out myself. Cause of lack of money, I couldn't hire an engineer, so I had to do everything.
I noticed on Twitter that you said you would love to collaborate with Kimbra. Anyone else you would really like to work with? Either in the near future or down the line?
Right now I'm doing a lot of hip hop collaborations. I got one with Hoodie Allen. I got one with Skizzy Mars and hopefully, I'm crossing my fingers, I have some label interest, so they are trying to get me some bigger names, but I shouldn't really talk about that right now.
Kimbra would be amazing though. St. Vincent, I kind of have a crush on her.
You put out new music pretty quickly. It seems to be a growing trend today for all musicians, who, because of technology, have the means to record and release material easily. Do you ever struggle to find a balance between releasing enough content to keep people interested, yet not releasing too much, so you don't overload your fans?
I think I found a really nice balance. We've been doing it for a while now, my team and I. Marketing is just as big of a concern for me as it is for a big record label. I'm doing this series system, my last release was Waves and I like to call it a series rather than an EP cause it sounds a little more serious.
What it is, is five songs released one per week for five weeks, that way there are no songs lost in translation and it's very easy to consume because it's only five tracks. You can release that two or three times a year and I feel like that is a really good amount of content, which you can supplement with music videos, live videos and all that kind of stuff.
You were recently in L.A. for a co-write recording session. Can you reveal any details about that?
Fuck it [laughs]. Yeah, so I went down to L.A. because there is major label interest now and they are setting me up with co-writes and stuff. It's just some really, really exciting co-writes with some mainstream artists.
Even though you're a pop artist, I don't think you can be bunched up with the likes of Katy Perry, LMFAO and other mainstream pop acts. Do you see your music career staying away from the popular mediums they use, such as commercial radio and MTV or would you like to take that over with your music.
I think what I bring to the table is I feel like people feel like there should be this rift between emotional expression and pop sensibility and I feel like in this day and age we're exposed to so much and we understand so much that we listen to all the music of the past decades.
I feel like I'm trying to blend the two together. I want to make passionate, emotional music, with deep subjects and mix that with pop structure, so it's easy to take.
I'd like to be able to bring the messages that this new generation of indie artistry has going on and try and bring that to a wider audience.
Any touring plans in the works?
Yeah, summer. It's either going to be a large West Coast tour or a small nationwide tour depending on a lot of stuff in the works.
You seem to have a lot of talents. Is there anything career wise that you'd like to accomplish outside of music?
Oh yeah. I consider myself a sound engineer and one of the biggest problems I see in the music world is not only the way certain speaker systems are priced, but the way they compress, the way they shift sound.
When you mix music you do it through studio monitors and they don't do anything to the sound, it's just pure sound. Eventually I'd like to have enough influence to have this network to make universal speaker systems.
They could come in small, medium, large and stadium sizes. I want to create the perfect speaker system so the sound you hear is exactly what the musician and engineer wanted you to hear.
They should all be massed produced so it's easily affordable. We could kind of universalize high quality sound.