You may have been introduced to Jvck James, like I was, from his colors show performance of extroverted lovers. That was in 2017, when Jvck was a tender 18-years-old. Since then, Jvck James has grown a lot. 22 now, he is still influenced by R&B greats such as Lauryn Hill and D’angelo, inspiration he has nurtured to create his own sound.
His latest EP Joyride is out this Friday and Jvck tells me he’s been working on the album for a while. Roll it, the first song on the EP was made in 2018, a song that had been marinating on Jvck’s hard drive until he began making the five other tracks at the end of 2019.
The second song he made for Joyride was No Drama, which is the first single released from the forthcoming EP, accompanied by a visual that really captures who Jvck James is as an artist, “it kind of all just fell into place”, Jvck tells me.
I caught up with Jvck to talk about his evolution as an artist, his process, influences and where it’s all headed.
Terna: What are some experiences that shaped you as an artist and the person you’ve become today?
Jvck James: I’d say one of them is definitely church, growing up in a Christian background, Jamaican heritage, music and gospel music are both things that have shaped me today.
My sister also playing a lot of R&B, Destiny’s child stuff, made me want to do harmonies. When I first heard Emotions by Destiny’s child that made me want to sing, how people cry out and sing [with emotion].
Also going to school as well, going to a normal school and secondary school, I found it hard to fit in, in the first year. I found it really weird, but then I kind of had this gift I felt like I needed to protect. When you’re young, singing isn’t cool like that, so that kind of turned me into more of an introverted musician. I saw my gift as something precious that I can’t expose to everyone because not everyone is going to understand it.
When I left [secondary school] I went to Brit school and met more people like me and I felt like – this is life. I’m with like-minded people, I’m with talented people, people that dream.
I’m a dreamer and a lot of the time, people will put their own insecurities on to you because they can’t see anything for themselves.
Terna: What would you describe your sound as?
Jvck James: My sound – I would describe it as magic R&B. I feel like the magic part comes from the feeling, like when you wake up and there’s like harps and rainbows and shit. That is what my music is, giving off those kind of vibes. Especially this next project – like my old project detour is very nighttime, nonchalant vibes, but at the same time, it feels like magic.
Terna: What journey are you trying to take us on with your forthcoming project Joyride?
Jvck James: A joyride is driving a car like it’s stolen, so the car is not yours. In 2021, I feel like there’s a lot of toxic relationships that are glorified and I feel like Joyride is my version of that.
I feel like everyone has kind of had a joyride in their life where someone has not necessarily wanted you for you, or you’ve not wanted someone for the right reasons, etc. I kind of take you on that journey. I start off being playful on the EP – teasing kind of vibes – then on the second song which is No Drama I go into her being my escape and getaway kind of girl.
And then on the last song, it’s like there’s no hope here, my love is somewhere else, her love is somewhere else. Then there’s a song called ‘Joyride’ on there which is basically about her wanting me to take her home to give her joy.
I don’t know if I’m pushing out a certain message but it’s just more of an insight into my world I guess, and what I feel like everyone else can relate to. It’s just a journey I’m going on and I want to make everyone else feel like they’re riding with me.
Terna: In previous interviews you’ve mentioned you’re influenced by artists such as Frank Ocean and Aaliyah. In the last couple of years have you discovered new influences, especially from other up and coming artists?
Jvck James: I recently re-discovered and delved into Prince’s discography. In quarantine I started from album one. Prince has got like 40+ albums, so I really wanted to see the artist growth and how he developed into [who he became]. It’s mad inspiring to go from the first album, second album, third album, and be like wow this guy is evolving, it’s crazy.
I’d say Summer Walker, I really love her Over It album, it’s one of my favourite albums [to come out] in the last five years. I can play that album [from] top to bottom, that’s one of my go-to albums.
Terna: Do you write your own songs?
Jvck James: I do, I do.
Terna: So you’re a singer/songwriter?
Jvck James: I guess so. Singer/songwriter just makes it sound like I’m going to pull out a guitar but yeah I am a singer/songwriter.
Terna: Is there anyone you would like to write a song for?
Jvck James: I would love to write for Bella – I would love to write with Bella as well, I think she’s dope. I would love to write for Tiana Major9 as well. Those two girls are like my favourite.
Terna: How have you forged your own lane in the music industry and in R&B. Did you try and go the traditional route or you just did your own thing?
Jvck James: I’ve always loved music and artistry and old school artists like Aaliyah and [performance artists] like Beyoncé and Michael Jackson. I feel like that artistry is kind of lost and that’s the artistry that made me want to be an artist in the first place. So now when I’m thinking about doing music videos, I’m trying to do something that will stand the test of time and I’m trying to push myself at the same time.
For the No Drama video, I was like to my team ‘Yo, I can’t lie we’ve got to dance. I know the budget isn’t crazy for this one but we’ve got to get some dancers and get them paid somehow. We’ve really got to do that’.
I just want to make music videos and experiences exciting again, I feel like there’s a lot of things that are just thrown out and [it doesn’t have that extra love].
Terna: I love a music video with choreography and the choreography [in No Drama] was so sick – and I think it was very organic. It kind of looked like you just started dancing and told everyone ‘follow what I do’.
Jvck James: (laughs) shout out to my boy Nathaniel Williams, he choreographed it. We just went in the studio on the first day and it [was] just led by feeling. I’m not the craziest dancer in the world, but there [were] certain moves I had to get out, and I was just like ‘yo, take these moves and do what you’ve got to do with them’.
Terna: How would you describe your personal style?
Jvck James: It’s definitely developed from sportswear, like tracksuits. I do love a tracksuit, I literally wear joggers every single day of my life. You’ll always see me like in a jogger, a hoodie, and some Jordan 1s. Now I’m moving more to bomber jackets, more inspired by the 90s.
I just copped a pair of jeans the other day, which are my – literally I had no jeans in my wardrobe but now I have jeans to add to my collection.
Terna: Where do you see yourself by the end of this year?
Jvck James: By the end of this year, I would love to perform at an award show. That’s one of my goals. I performed at the BET Soul Train pre-awards, which was a crazy experience. I want to do that again, that was amazing, so hopefully this time I can do it at a main show.
Even a Grammy nomination (laughs), yeah I’m putting that out there.
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