LargeUp Interview: Rolling with Jovi Rockwell

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Jovi Rockwell

LU: When did you come from Jamaica to Miami?

JR: I came here in 1999, and I go back and forth. My mom lives in Jamaica so I’m blessed with the privilege to say I’m going home for two weeks and I end up going for two years. I like going back there because it reminds me of who I am. It reminds me of waking up on a Sunday morning and having ackee and saltfish and breadfruit and banana and yam, and knowing that I can possibly drive out to Hellshire and eat fish and festival and bammy and hear reggae all day and listen to the radio out there and hear old time ska, and the radio personalities. Drive by and see shopping centres and malls where I used to hang out when I was 13. It’s important.

LU: And what might someone find Jovi doing in Miami?

JR: I love to go to the beach at night, at sunset, with my guitar, and go into the water. Cause I like the low tide…are you asking me my hobbies [laughs]? I like to go to the beach at night.

LU: Well, what places might people find you besides the beach at night and the Hit Factory?

JR: I don’t have one spot. I’m very unpredictable. Can not be studied. [laughs]. People have an idea of me and I’m the opposite when they meet me. I’m very private. As an artist, an important thing for me is overcoming the fact that I’m an in-the-cut type of girl. I’m not trying to be like hey, everybody look at me. A lot of people dont’ even know the things that I do because I just find it to be a little cheap in a sense when you do that. But maybe you should do that. I’m finding a balance of being myself and then changing in a way where you open yourself up so people can see I’m a raging lunatic, I’m an idiot [laughs], all these things. That’s why I call myself Jovi Rockwell. Jovi is a jovial person.

LU: How so?

JR: I’m very goofy and I like to make my friends laugh a lot. I’ll go to great extents so Jovi is based off of being jovial. I knew from an early stage that I needed to create that. Joelle Clarke is interested in serious issues of the world and serious things. I wanted to create a balance. I think I created Jovi Rockwell subconsciously because I used to like this cartoon Jem and the Holograms. She would put earrings on and turn into Jem. Jerrica cared so much about people, she had the orphanage, and then Jem was the rockstar. I’m naming my band Jovi and the Rockwells. My fans picked that. I asked them what should I name my band and they said Jovi and the Rockwells. I said you know what: I’m Jem. My life and Jem and the Holograms is parallel. Except, with me, it’s not a secret.

LU: So you’re going to put out a mixtape, then an EP and an album?
JR: I want to call the EP, The Longest Shortcut. I have so many records that I’ve cut that have never been compiled. The Longest Shortcut [means] I took really long but there it is. It’s an oxymoron. I wanted to compile all of these songs. The mixtape now I’m debuting myself as a producer. It’s called Frankenstein because I’m taking from different genres of music, from the ‘50s, ‘60s, from different sounds and putting it together, like dead body parts, like Frankenstein. It’s kind of a metaphor for myself, too, because people are wondering what’s going on with me or going “her thing’s dead.” It’s kind of like I’ve come back from the graveyard, and it’s alive. I’m debuting myself as a producer. I’m producing certain tracks. I’m working with REO from The Soundkillers on some of the tracks. I wouldn’t say I’m the only one, but definitely I’m going to be producing on it. I’ve been practicing hard. I have demos, where I do all of the chords and then I may have other musicians come in and overdub and really produce it. On some Quincy Jones swag. I am constantly changing and searching.

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