Young upcoming rapper J-Milla is building a big following after the release of My People which has had more than 120,000 views on YouTube. The current health crisis isn’t slowing him down either as he continues to work on new collaborations which includes new single Drop Top.
Adelaide Festival Centre is bringing together some of South Australia’s most talented musicians to celebrate original music and mark what would have been NAIDOC Week 2020. Originally scheduled for July 5 to 12, the nationwide event celebrates the heritage, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It has been postponed until November 8-15 in light of community health and safety risks posed by COVID-19.
Also, Adelaide Festival Centre is launching a virtual event featuring accomplished singer-songwriters Jessica Wishart, Nancy Bates, Corey Theatre and Nathan May — along with young upcoming rapper J-MILLA, J-Milla answers some questions for Hi Fi Way and what he hopes will be achieved in this year’s NAIDOC Week.
Congratulations on the new single Drop Top. What is the background to that song?
I’ve been really keen on collaborating with other artists as I think it’s a powerful tool to have during the pandemic and it really helps us stay relevant. It’s a good way to make connections and really try broaden the my range as a rapper and artist. Veezy contacted me and the vibe of the song really brought me back to that 90s old school energy that I really miss hearing.
Do you think your musical style has changed much compared to when you first started?
Yes, my musical style has changed over the past years. I believe when I first started I was just getting the hang of things especially being younger. I didn’t understand the music industry and how it worked. Since developing over the years I have become more confident and I am creating better music.
With the health crisis going on have you continued writing new music?
Yes, I have definitely been writing. This time has been good in terms of writing music because I haven’t had any shows, so writing is keeping me occupied. I have been searching for instrumentals a lot more and can’t wait to show the world what I have been up to.
Are you building towards an album?
At the moment I am focusing on recording quality music and releasing singles. Once I build my profile a little higher and gain more monthly listeners I will consider releasing an album. However, for the time being I’m focusing on singles.
Which artists do you look up to for inspiration?
I do have a variety of artists that play a role in my music creation. For example; when I release a party/dance vibe track, my inspiration comes from Tyga. When I am focusing on lyrical talent and want to release a political (real life talk) track, my inspiration comes from Tupac. When I feel like RAPPING and FLOWING on a mic, I’m inspired by Joyner Lucas. At the end of the day I don’t really have an artist that I look up to. I genuinely am inspired by a song itself, and once I hear a particular song I then want to recreate it in my own way.
Has it been frustrating to not be able to head out and play shows/ tour?
Yes, it has been frustrating not being able to do live shows and performing. This is because when there are no shows, there is no income. As an upcoming artist I want to be able to travel and do shows, as this is the only way that I can build my profile and get my name out there. However, on the bright side this time has been really good for me, as I’ve had time to think creatively about my shows and how I can approve on them.
NAIDOC is always a big week but do you think its importance will be even higher this year?
I believe that NAIDOC Week’s importance will always be high, however this year’s awareness may be even bigger. With what has been going on around the world with Black Lives Matter and the protests around Australia and globally, the topic has been more politically advertised this year. For me and my culture, NAIDOC Week will remain the same importance but will have more attention, and I will continue to show support.
What do you hope all people take away from NAIDOC Week this year?
I hope all people walk away with a lot more knowledge of Australia’s First Nations People as it is a time to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Follow J-Milla on Spotify…