Exclusive Interview: Rising Artist Jean-Mikhael
From playing the young Michael Jackson in London’s West-End production of ‘Thriller LIVE’ to graduating the prestigious BRIT school, up and coming artist Jean-Mikhael is quickly becoming the one to watch in the music industry.
His latest project comes in the form of his EP “The Deal”. This record hit the top 10 of the R&B/Soul iTunes charts, peaking at an impressive Number 8. The first single from the EP is called “Deal”, shows off Jean-Mikhael’s impressive voice and R&B vibes perfectly. The audio received it’s premiere via Neon Music, while the lyric video premiere on Celeb Mix.
Jean-Mikhael’s soulful voice is a result of being trained by Justin Timberlake’s vocal coach, and he’s gained his share of fame by having shot numerous fashion shoots including Teen Vogue and has also performed a sold out headline at “229 The Venue” and played for Sofarsounds. After hearing his smash hit track “Deal”, I decided to chat with this singing sensation and find out more;
1.) For all our followers, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Well I go by the name of Jean-Mikhael, I’m 22. Born and raised in West London. I’ve been singing from a very young age since I was five and ever since I’ve just wanted to strive for my passion and love.
2.) How challenging was it staring as a young Michael Jackson in London’s West-End production of ‘Thriller LIVE’?
It was very challenging at first you could say, making sure I remember words, dance moves and different actions that were part of the play. I probably had to learn everything in about 1/2 weeks and then thrown right into it. It was my first West-End production I’d ever been in. At that time I also didn’t really know what I was getting myself into or what it meant to be on such a big stage. I just was happy to perform and do what I loved.
3.) Was Michael Jackson someone who inspired you growing up?
I would say before playing him not so much. I appreciated the music and thought he was super talented but I hadn’t really done a whole load of research in the way he crafted his music. But definitely after and more so now too. I just think after playing him it gave me so much great insight into what it meant to be a performer and really make a show and production. It was exhilarating and I took that and worked and worked more and more on being a showman and creating timeless music. I only want to achieve greatness each time.
4.) What would you say has been your biggest achievement?
My biggest achievement is probably signing my deal and getting to number 8 on R&B/soul charts on iTunes with my debut EP.
5.) Your latest EP is called “The Deal”, what can listeners expect from it?
Well with the EP you can expect some rawness. Honesty and power. Also empowerment. I hope people actually feel empowered by it because music is so powerful it can move people to become or feel so many things that maybe you didn’t actually expect.
6.) How much of yourself did you put into the creative process of this EP?
A LOT! Haha. I pride myself on being hands on and not letting everyone do the yes’s and no’s. I think you need to own your stuff. My mum didn’t know much about the music industry but she forced me to just learn it and own it. Write and write and at least play a small amount of an instruments because it’s important. Otherwise people will start taking over and you won’t have a say on what you think you should be singing and expressing on that stage. So yes I was very hands on with it all even down to the cover of my EP
7.) What are your favourite albums and why?
My favourite albums. Aaaah. So hard. So many good ones so I can’t even say these are my favourite but I’d say one is Alicia Keys – Songs in A Minor. It’s beautiful. And Alicia keys is just so talented. I love that album and the first song I ever started singing to people was ‘Fallin’ from that album so it always holds a special place with me.
Beyoncé – B’day Album. That album really made Beyonce shine. She came strong and with such show in her vocals and arrangement. I could imagine her performing it and that’s what it’s about. You want when someone closes their eyes they imagine what you must have been feeling and showing when you sang those songs in the studio. I could see her performing it so definitely one that I love.
Another would be Prince – Purple Rain. That album has so much passion. And the unapologetic lyrics, and vocals are what really take me. I think when your writing you want people to think about what your saying. Be captivating among all your melodies. And there’s just so many more. Like Al Green, MJ of course, Mariah and it just goes on. Just genius people.
8.) Where has been your your favourite place to perform and what makes it special to you?
I think my favourite place as me myself now probably is ‘People’s Day Festival’. It was special because I had just finished probably a month or two recording the songs I sang there. Most of them were unreleased and the response was just amazing. So I think it proved to me it’s to do with the music. What your making and to just go with it. To see people from all ages coming up saying how much they appreciated the performance and songs was what made it show it was worth it for me to be working as hard as I do on my craft, to make things perfect.
9.) If you could record a song with any artist past or present who would you choose and why?
Damn again too many people. Can I choose two? Haha well either way I’d probably choose Beyonce and Prince. I’m going to add another MJ. I just have too many but let’s say those are the three even though it’s suppose to be one haha.
10.) What advice can you give to aspiring artists?
I would say just the way my mum said to me. Own your stuff. Own the music. Write. Learn the craft. Work with people that you feel comfortable with that will teach you things to. I think people see those that are in the spotlight and assume they just knew everything, but it wasn’t the case. They just worked hard. Learnt from others. And worked and worked and also taught themselves to by fighting for what they want to. Fighting for your music, your sound, your vision of where you want to be. Also enjoy exploring ideas and creating your own lane. Make sure you are distinct from the rest. Be yourself as well.
11.) What do you like to do in your down time away from music?
I like to rest most times. Be around my family and friends. I don’t always get to be with everyone and I haven’t even become the established artist I want and need to be yet and already my time has just been taken up so I try and spend as much quality time. I also like to cook to, I love food that’s for sure and just maybe watch a few programme’s that I need to catch up on haha.
12.) What do you have planned for the rest of 2018?
For the rest of 2018 I am going to start recording my next EP. I have a few radio shows lined up. And just planning 2019. I always think ahead of time so my book is filled up already with everything I need to do so I look forward to sharing all of those things to the world when they all come together.