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Interview: Jess War's "LIFE'S SHORT, LIVE BIG"


What's new since we heard from you last? How are you feeling, and how have you been?

Jesswar: I feel like I’m on a different journey where I’m experiencing things for the 1st time. I’m coming into a side of myself where I feel more calm and gentle for the 1st time in my life. I feel like before I had a lot of walls up and was really protective of myself. This is the first time I feel calm, steady and content and I don’t think I’ve ever felt this before, and I think it’s definitely comes across itself artistically in the music. I just don’t care what everyone around me is feeling or thinking and I'm just trying to centre myself and go after what I feel or need. BT: “In terms of your creative process, how has being able to feel “free” shifted your sound since the last project?

Jesswar: I feel like it’s gotten me out of my own head. Artistically I felt like I could butcher my own works and have self doubt and that wasn’t the best for getting into my flow state. I had to remind myself why I’m doing this. I made this project for myself, especially for my 16 year old self.

I just want t be comfortable with who I am.


Growing alongside the music and reflecting back is always an important thing to do in order to evolve.

. What’s different ? – The pandemic hit everyone differently. Coming out of the pandemic what are some of your goals? Jesswar: I feel like I came out of the pandemic a completely different person. It felt like it put me through a cyclone. It felt like I was tipped upside down , mentally, physically. A lot of ups and downs. I was trying to ground my feet back on the ground and make sense of my life and what was going on around the world.

"With this project my biggest thing was making something I actually enjoyed and like. I feel like that comes back into the title. “Life is short, live big”

I got to a point where I just my hands up in the air, like If I don’t do this for myself now, then I will never feel fulfilled, and happy with my art."


I had a listen to your last project and it had running time of 7 tracks and about 17min running time , whereas your new project feels like a bigger body of work.

How did you make this new project?


I made this project while I was in my bedroom. Recording tracks and writing as I was recording verses . Some songs came out at about 1:50 and then I sent it to get mixed and mastered.

There was only one song on the album that I did a lot of back and forth with the producer on, as well as the featured artist. The song is called “Sweeter” it’s an interlude and it was meant to only be a1:50, but the feature artist Donna sent me back more. So we chopped it up and made it a pop song and it took a couple months to refine.

The rest of the songs were written, bounced tested, cut, and then we were off!!

I started making the project at the end of last year.

I got to point were I had a ton of creative block before, but this project was so smooth and everything came together easier and I found a healthier way to make music.

BT: Word, If the music came together so well and you can unload that and be relieved, it must feel better for you personally and of course, for the fans receiving better music from you .

Can you tell me about Fell In Love?

Jesswar: This song is totally different than anything else I’ve ever done before. The fact that I’m even talking about love ahahh ! Generally as a person, but let alone on a track!?

We shot the video in the rainforest in Yugambeh country in Queensland. It's near the Gold Coast, deep in the rainforest. I feel like nature and the ocean are big healings that can take pressure off you and it was one of my favorite music videos I've ever done.

I made it in the summer time and I wanted it to have a real tropical feel.


Yea definitely like how it all came together with visuals and the sound. How do you then balance the grittiness and hard bars with being vulnerable and changing the pace from your traditon style?


Being vulnerable is super tough. I was trying to tap into that side of myself, but it’s still came out as bop and is enough to get lost in.


Who are some of the producers that helped out ?


Worked with 4 main producers. The main producer was Paper Toy, and he refined a lot of the songs. I recorded and tracked most of the stuff by myself in my room.

Most of it was done on dropbox and made during the pandemic. It was a long process of sending emails back and etc.

Paper Toy - Really built the songs out.

Brandon Jonack - Created a lot of the R&B sounds on the tape.

Rory - I love working with Rory and he has a ton of hard beats, and he pulled a lot of stuff together and put things in place.

BT: Oh yea they definitely did a good job. The music sounds fly. What’s your favorite song and why?


It’s probably a mix between “Fell in love” & HEFTY. HEFTY was the second single released. I was actually recording them on the same day. I had to do some bounce logic and test it out in the car and they both sounded good after I played them over and over again.

I was going through a dark time and was a bit burnt out before I made them. So having those two song brought back joy into my creation.


You talked about how you felt making "HEFTY" & "FELL IN LOVE." How would you expect fans to receive them?


Both are two different song and genres in itsel . I wanted to get better at writing to figure out how does a pop song work?

"FELL IN LOVE" is a driving song and is a lot slower, and "HEFTY" has no real hook it just a 1:50 of bars , and its got some hard bass heavy sounds . "FELL IN LOVE" has some guitars and is a bit more crispy.

There so many different sounds and instrumentals to it and it helped me expand my pen.


Where any artist you were listening to to pull from their skill set and lock into a certain vibe when you were curating this mixtape?


I was listening to Genisis Owusu and I loved how he did his last project, the music videos, and sound was put together wonderfully.

It had a mix of rock songs & rap song and was great mixed bag of music. Being a listener, it inspired me how free he was and it inspired me to do my own thing creatively. His artistry blow my mind.


The pandemic killed touring and live shows. Do you have any plans for touring and live shows coming up?


We're all still getting used to being out & about, and being at live shows. Everyone is a bit more cautious and it’s not the same as it used to be.

I played a few shows and they’ve been pretty chill but some have gotten pretty rowdy. I would love to see how I could work in a live band and go on a flow journey and go from light to heavy sounds. I got a few sets for festival side, in the summer time.


It’s important to move around and see how the sound hits. Speaking of moving around, do you think you’ll go over to the US and spend some time ina creative hotbeds like LA, Houston, Atlanta, or NY to create with any artists?


Yea I’m keen to go over to the US & Europe. I got a lot of friends in LA that I want to link up with, that have moved over. I'm also looking to head over to Europe and check out that fanbase. It would be great to head over to both spots once I get things in order. BT:

In terms of expanding your brand, artistry, and music how important is it to win domestically & abroad to expand your reach?

Jesswar: I think it It depends on what you want for yourself as an artist. I’ve been hustling and grinding here in Australia for about 6-7 years so I feel like it's time to do stuff in different territories because if you don’t expand - you don’t grow. I want to get better, and learn from other artists, industries, and markets. You learn so much growing at home because you're playing shows, and gradually building and it’s good to humble yourself. I’ve enjoyed slugging it out and growing slowly because it given me lots of tools and skills to progress once it's time to branch out..

BT: How much happiness do live performances bring you as an entertainer?

Jesswar: It’s a completely different vibe and energy than recording in a studio or writing. Touring and playing live shows is an experience not many people get to have. The energy exchange is euphoric. BT: Locking back into the studio now, how much do you think your pen game has developed? - You’ve admitted you’ve been more vulnerable, and tried expanding you reach.

Jesswar: Making sub-genere helped me out a lot. I tried using a formula, but then I thought"Why am I following the traditional songwriting rules?" When I was making this project I threw all the rules out the window. Having that freedom made me feel less restricted and allowed me to have more fun.


If you played this for your 16 year old self would they be proud?


If my little teenage self could see me they would be super proud. I have little sisters that are wonderful, beautiful and look up to me so I know they’re proud as well.


Could you tell me about the cover art. Color scheme, theme and creative process?


Hahah I shaved my head when I had Covid-19. On day 12 of isolation, I said fucked it and shaved my head. I found bleach and bleached my hair as well. The photo was taken on an iphone in my apartment. I was gonna do it as a plain white. But when I finished the fell in love video I had my head shaved and was wearing a pink suit, but it looked hard. Using a feminie color tied in with theme of the song and kept it the same with album cover. I took the photo and edit it in photoshop. BT: We talked aobut your artistic inspirations and influence, but the people around you in your day to day life also have an influencing effecting effect on you.

Did anyone around you play a part in your development while making this project? How have the people close to you (i.e homies, homegirls, management team) - how did they play a part in the project and your development as a process as a person and artist?


I believe that you surround yourself with people that you want to be like. I have a close group of friends. I got 5 ride or die friends that will always ride for me as I would for them. They have a really good souls and I have a good team as well . I always try to move with kindness and respect and I try to move that same way in the industry as well. Eveyrone in this industry is super stressed out and trying to work at a high level. Just like the album name it's important to remember that... "Life Is Short, Live Big. Make Sure You Do Everything You Need To Do." - JessWar



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