If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that music and the arts are valued. It’s how people can connect while diverting themselves from the endless facade of social media. “I’m not interested in being anything I’m not,” wrote London-based rapper Jeshi when announcing his debut album Universal Credit on his Instagram. Jeshi’s sound is a vehicle into his psyche. His lyricism has a realistic tone of pessimism that is nothing short of authentic. Familiarities in his work don’t arise from trends, but rather from his diary-like ability to tell the story of many disenfranchised young people in Britain today. Schön! speaks to Jeshi about his dreams of taking Glastonbury, collaborating with Fredwave and his upcoming album out on May 27th.
Hey Jeshi! Can you recall when you first fell in love with music?
I might have to pinpoint this to my love for Wheatus – Teenage Dirtbag. I’ve got this photo of me dressed up like [the lead singer] with a bucket hat, shades and a toy guitar when I was about six.
When did you decide to start pursuing music seriously?
Not long after I first started writing at about 12 or 13 years old. I never really had a clue what I could do with my life before then and it just clicked. I knew that’s where I wanted to go. I just had to figure out how to get there.
How did your many collaborations with musician Fredwave come about?
Fred is my brother. We’re together all the time so, naturally, sometimes that leads to making some great music. We’re on a pretty good track record together at the moment. Fun always. Plenty more to come.
What makes a strong creative partnership?
I think the best creative partnerships come from good friendships and feeling completely comfortable in the room together. You have to be able to feel completely open with [your] thoughts and ideas.
Why is London a great city to be an artist in?
London is so expensive and hard to get by in. You have to have the hunger to really do something great or drown in the cost of living.
Any updates on Glastonbury? Why is performing at the festival such a huge goal of yours?
Not yet! Hopefully by the time this comes out. It’s always been a bit of a dream of mine. I’ve spent so much time watching videos of people play the Pyramid stage on YouTube: Radiohead, The Verve, Jay Z – just envisioning what it would be like being me up there.
Music is a form of storytelling. What stories do you like to tell in your music?
The stories of my life which at the moment seems to mostly be a series of unfortunate events.
And how does the everyday inspire you?
My inspiration comes from everything around me: the things I’m going through and the things I see. I think it’s my duty to tell my story as it’s the only thing I can really offer that nobody else can.
Are the visuals second to the music or are visuals always in the back of your mind?
It depends. Mostly the music leads the way but after this album I’m planning on experimenting and flipping that around.
When you aren’t in the studio, how do you spend your time?
At the pub or watching 90 Day Fiancé, could go either way.
Can you tell the readers something about you that will surprise them?
That I love 90 Day Fiancé.
Your debut album comes out in May. Can you tease us with what we can expect?
Expect a one-way night bus journey into my world. I’ve spent a lot of time putting this together and obsessing about giving you a 360 degree view of who I am and I’m excited to share that. If Universal Credit is what our government gives those of us going through a hard time, here’s my flip on that. Universal Credit, from me to you.
This Schön! online exclusive has been brought to you by
words. Lucy Vipond
by Schön! Magazine /