14th April 2023
Photography & Editor-in-chief: Owen James Vincent
Interview: Amelia Kang
Make Up Artist: Rita Nieddu
Styling: Borna Prikaski
Jean-Mikhael has been surrounded with creative expression since birth, and this truly shines through in his craft. Raised in London, the striking musician draws upon influences of pop, R’n’B and more, tethered to an intimate and vulnerable reflection upon his past trials throughout his life. Today we talk to him about the upcoming single “Dreamer” and what it explores, as well as his inspirations.
Dress and Glasses: Dylan Joel, Anastasia Bull, Monozygothic
Hi, thanks for talking with ReVamp! What can you tell us about this new single?
Hi thank you for having me, it’s a pleasure. Dreamer is about me telling someone that I’m emotionally unavailable. That thinking we could be more isn’t actually possible. It’s weird because every time I listen to it, even though they’re my words I get a different perspective each time and recently one has been that I’m actually talking about mental health but didn’t realise when I was writing it. I’m partly being a villain as well because I’m gas lighting someone in the song. I’m calling them delusional in some way. It’s made me think why I came up with the words and where the deeper meaning came from, for sure, but dreamer in a simpler way is about this so called love that I and this person have, is just all a dream. It’s not real and probably never will. That this connection they’re thinking we have, it just won’t ever grow to be more.
How did growing up in such a creative household fuel your passion for music? Was this career path always definite for you?
Growing up in a creative household helped me express myself. I come from a very religious background and I never really felt like I could speak my mind without feeling there were consequences. So my way of expressing my feelings have always been in a form of art whether that’s drawing, making clothes, dressing up, writing songs. It all would come out in some form of creativity.
As for music I knew I wanted to sing. I loved singing from when I was young, but making something a career is so different than just singing. I had to learn what it meant to make something that was recreational into a job essentially. I never want to look at it like that but when you become a brand and something that makes money then that’s what you are doing is a job just a job I love but I knew I wanted to sing. How and where was all something I had to figure out along the way.
Aside from the musicians you have looked up to, were any of your family and friends an inspiration as well?
I would say the person that inspires me the most from when I started my career really has been my manager and friend Kem. He taught me to just be myself and unapologetic with everything I done. We started this journey at the same time. He didn’t know the business and neither did I. We’ve grown together and every day the work that he puts in just pushes me more and more. We both have come so far from where we started. He truly is a blessing when it comes to managers and being there for my well-being.
Your lyrics really tell a rich story every single time – would you say that song-writing lays the foundations for your songs, or does the production and sound itself come first?
It really depends. It’s all important to me but I would say lyrics are probably at the top of the list. I like to sing about things that are thought provoking. That make people take a different meaning from it than the next person. In the studio the producer might start with chords, or a drum pattern and based on the sound, it then evokes the type of direction I’m going in, sad or happy, mid-tempo. Then I would probably start freestyling melodies to put words to.
Outfit: Dyaln Joel, Kim Tiziana
Your lyrics are also really honest and true to your experiences of love and other things. Why do you believe it’s important to be so vulnerable with your music?
I think it’s important because I want people to relate to what I’m saying. I want them to listen and feel inspired. To feel like they aren’t alone. That life is what you make it. That when you cry it’s okay, to feel happy and accomplished is fine. To love is human. To want to be seen is normal. That all these feelings and more are not abnormal, that they are not the only one in this world to feel the way they feel.
Can we anticipate an album this year?
I wouldn’t say an album, but more songs and hopefully an EP. I’ve been recording a lot and have so much to share. I can’t wait to give it to the world and hopefully do a mini tour performing them as well.
Stream 'Dreamer' here.