As a kid in Brazil, Jogee With a G could always be heard making some sort of musical noise with his trustee dinosaur computer. He’d always felt connected to the arts, but a life in Brazil focused on them wouldn’t have been a reality. A move to Canada at 14 was not only a “breath of fresh air” in terms of his overall life, but a new start for his dreams to become realized.
“Pursuing a career in the arts in my home country isn’t always the best option. We’re all very poor and being a singer and songwriter would never be able to pay the bills. I want to be able to provide financial comfort for my mother, you know? And here and I have the chance to do that while also following my passion.”
Following passion like a boss, Jogee with a G is captivating listeners both near and far with his latest single, “I Know How It Feels.” We talked about it, the significance of plants, and more in this exchange.
Kendra: Was music your way of connecting to your surroundings?
Jogee With a G: Music was more of an escape from my surroundings. As a child, I was bullied a lot because I’m not necessarily the most macho guy you’ll ever meet. In Brazil, machismo is a big thing even amongst children. Which seems very bizarre now that I look back on it. Not only that, I’ve always known I wasn’t 100% straight. With my family being extremely religious I heard all sorts of hurtful things that I had to tune out somehow. Listening and learning about music was a distraction from all of that nonsense, and it still is to this day.
Kendra: Your latest single, “I Know How It Feels” hits hard being about procrastinating on self-care. Why do you think many of us press pause on ourselves?
Jogee With a G: We live in a society where we’re constantly bombarded by information, good and bad but mostly bad. We tend to brush it off but that really affects the way we live our lives. My generation, especially, tends to take a lot of that to heart and that creates a sense of guilt and shame towards the state of the world, that consequently reflects on how you view your own persona.
“I Know How It Feels” was a reminder for myself that even when I feel the worst, and the world seems like it’s falling apart I’m still in control of what I choose to focus on. You can waste a lot of time looking at the negative things surrounding you because it’s very easy. However, the more you try and take a glance at the bright side things will start to feel better. Eventually, you’ll be encouraged to be better.
Kendra: We have to talk about the video, which is beautiful. Where did you shoot it and was that the first concept that came to the table?
Jogee With a G: We shot it at Brickworks at Don Valley, which was a lot of fun. The original concept was a lot more complex (I was a little over ambitious). Later I realized it was better to keep it simple to stay within budget. Which wasn’t the highest since this is my first release. My videographer and good friend Larrissa Yeung made it work in the end and so far the video has been very well received.
Kendra: All the greenery goes hand in hand with your recent release, coincidentally titled Greenery. Did you stay focused on particular themes when writing the record or did you just let the ideas flow freely?
Jogee With a G: I wrote a couple of songs before I realized it was going to be a full-length project. I soon realized what it was going to be about. If you listen back to the lyrics you’ll realize I sprinkled a lot of plant imagery in the narrative of the album. I wanted it all to be about the hardships self-development, but ultimately growing out of it and getting accustomed to the curveballs life throws at you from time to time. I decided a plant theme was going to be very suitable for the subject matter since plants are very particular on what they need to grow. The same goes to humans, but we just don’t take the time to find out what it is that we need exactly.
Kendra: Your sound falls under the nu-R&B umbrella which includes the likes of The Weeknd and SZA. Both great artists but how do you feel the new school compares to the likes of ’90s R&B?
Jogee With a G: I love ’90s R&B and a lot of the classics continue to inspire me. The likes of Badu, TLC and Mary Blige have a special place in my heart. However, I do feel like contemporary R&B is a lot more experimental, and since I produce my own music experimenting with different sounds, time signatures and chord progressions play a huge role on my songwriting, and that’s just a lot more fun to me.
Kendra: As 2018 winds down, are you already making plans for 2019?
Jogee With a G: Absolutely! As soon as I finished Greenery I already started planning the second album. It will probably take a little more than a year to finish. This time I want to create something with a bigger production value. I’ve also been co-writing two other projects with two different artists. I’m sure people are going to love them because they’re extremely talented. Both of them are going to be very different from Greenery, while still keeping my signature style. Though I may or may not be singing/rapping in them. We’ll have to wait and see!