[INTERVIEW] JAZZ CARTIER

Last week, Viper Mag caught up with Canadian artist Jazz Cartier to discuss life in LA, going independent and his upcoming project…

Jazz, how you doing? How’s your life going right now with everything?

On a scale of 1-10, I would say my life is a good 8.8. 

Alright, that’s not bad! You’re in LA right now?

Yeah, I’m in LA. I just moved to a new crib. So this is my like first full month at my new spot. I’m just going with the motions right now. 

Why did you decide to move to LA from Canada?

I just felt like it was the place for me to be and get more work done. I feel like Toronto has so much talent, but a lot of talent kind of gets stuck there. You know, what I’m saying? It’s kind of easy to, and for me personally, I just didn’t want to follow suit, and I just took the risk.

I think everybody is so comfortable with the perks of being hometown heroes and hometown legends. The idea of moving somewhere else where you’re kind of starting at the bottom, that scares them. For me, it gives me an adrenaline rush. This is my third year in LA and, I mean, shit don’t happen overnight, but I’m glad with the way that things are going. 

You just moved into this new crib?

Yeah, like, towards the end of September.

We haven’t heard a project from you since ‘Fleurever’ back in 2018. What do you think has changed for you personally and musically since then?

Just like anybody else, growth. My business acumen is different now. I’ve had a lot of things to do behind the scenes and I feel like getting accustomed to the landscape out here in LA was another big part of it. It’s very easy to move to a new place and just get caught up and make new music and then put it out. I’m way more conscious about what I’m putting out into the world now that I’m like, getting older. Granted, I’m not the best activist, but I can’t be putting anything out into the world, just hoping something becomes a hit or gets a lot of views and streams. You have to be more cognisant of the energy that you put out and that you’re around. Myself as an artist, myself as a person, myself as a friend, and myself as partner, have grown tremendously since the release of ‘Fleurever’. Now, I’m just seeing where my new path takes me. 

What is something that you’re excited for right now?

I’m excited for change. I feel like we’re at the tip of it, like something’s about to happen, not just in music but in the world. I feel like this pandemic has definitely put us in different mindsets that we didn’t really expect to be in. I know, for myself as an artist, this is probably the longest I’ve been in one city. I can’t remember how long I’ve been in a city for like, eight months. You know, granted, I have left, but I’m just excited for all the new artists that are coming out that had discover a new signing, everybody that’s been working tirelessly, all this time and excited to see their contributions to the world. 

Absolutely. It seems like this pandemic, especially for artists and people on the creative side, has pushed people like us to work harder.

Yeah. It’s kind of like, we were so comfortable with the way things were going that we all kind of needed that rug to get pulled up on our feet and just throw us off balance and see how we can pivot with the way the world grows. I feel like everybody is so anxious for the world to go back to the way it was, but the normal that we knew isn’t the new normal that’s about to come, you know. 

Do you expect to be doing any virtual performances, any Instagram Live concerts during this time?

I definitely have ideas for virtual performances that I want to curate and do, not the right way because there isn’t a right way because everyone is doing it their way, but I want to do it my own way. I’ve definitely tuned in to a few and I see where I can take my artistic vision. I feel like, at first, every artist was scared to put out music because they didn’t know how long this was going to last, myself included. but I feel like it would be a disservice to yourself and your fans if you let this time pass and you didn’t contribute anything. So I’m definitely going to tap into to the virtual performances in a couple months. I’m just going to let the new music come out and let it have a life of its own and let people get drawn into the whole Jazz Cartier world again.

So you just dropped your new song ‘Disclosure’, it’s the first song off your new project. What can you tell us about your new project coming out?

I just got another crazy feature for the album last night that I’m really excited about. I’m still in limbo with the name. I have the name. I just have to carve the name out. The idea’s there. Usually the biggest piece for me is to get the name, so I would tell you, but then I don’t want to double back on it. You know what I’m saying? I think the biggest difference between this project and my last project is collaboration. I feel like I’ve just held it down myself on all my previous bodies of work, but this one I got a pretty good handful of a guest features that I think my fans and people that aren’t fans of me would be fans of.

Any producers that you can tell us will be on this album?

Ambezza is on there. Vinnyx, Coop The Truth, Halfway disclosure. My boy, Lil Rich is on there. He did a lot of stuff for YG and Bia. I’m drawing blanks right now.

What’s it been like recording this album during COVID?

A lot of it I really recorded pre-COVID and I would say there’s like two, maybe three that snuck their way on there during the pandemic.

Have you been recording in your house or go to the studios or a mix?

Studios mostly, but since I moved into my new spot. We have a studio here that we’ve been setting up and starting to cushion a bit. With packing and moving and unpacking and getting the feng shui of the house right. We just find little spurts of getting back to the music, but now that we’re like fully settled in, I feel like it’s definitely time to lock in.

So you recently dropped your label and are now an independent artist. What made you decide to drop your label and do you have any advice for any artists thinking of doing the same thing?

There’s just a lot of creative and personal differences that have built up over the years. Granted, they’re based in Canada and I’ve moved to LA, so there’s only so much that you can do while I’m on the ground in LA. I’m shaking hands, kissing babies and doing all this by myself. So it’s kind of hard doing everything by yourself. Your team is based in an office in Canada, it’s just, there’s no real grasp of what’s really going on. 

So I just took the backseat for a bit and just decided to get that situation handled, just so going forward, I can just be in a better position to curate everything myself. And if things go left, I’m the one that takes accountability and there’s no one to blame but myself. I think that was one of the biggest issues before. I used to have so much control, but then when I didn’t, I don’t like placing blame on anybody else but myself. But granted, things happen. You have to just move accordingly. 

And I think now everybody, glamorises the independent grind. It’s not as easy as I make it seem. I think the biggest issue that artists have, especially independent artists have, is stay with the label and the label gives you an advance. You’re going to blow half that money on things that you don’t really need to be blowing it on. A lot of artists don’t like spending their money on themselves, so that’s why they sign deals. 

But I think, being independent, you have to be cognisant that, yes, there’s a title of independent, but you’re also an independent business owner. So you have to go in with that mindset, that it’s not just you. Whatever you have is what you have to give to the people that you’re working with. You have to allocate funds properly, and making sure everyone’s paid at the end of the day. If everyone’s paid properly, then alright, look the album is done, going forward to the next album since I don’t have any issues, we can just do it again, because they know that the business is in order. So that’s all that I’m running right now. I’ve been doing a lot of research, talking to a lot of people about what they went through and how they did it. I think I’m off to a great start. Granted, I have a distributor with PIVTL Projects and they’ve been super, super, super, super helpful with the whole process as well. 

Are there any producers or artists that you would like to do a full collab project with from Canada or America?

I would do one with Ambezza, who’s like a producer from Europe. He did ‘Life is Good’ for Drake and Future, but he’s also done a lot for me as well. He sends me a new beat pack every week and I definitely have more than enough songs for a tape with him at the moment. So he’s definitely up there. I would definitely do a tape with T-Minus, WondaGurl, and Mike Hector. Cousin Stizz would be a good collab tape. I really fuck with Stizz. I’ll do a collab with Lil Keed, I like Lil Keed a lot. I’ll even do one with Mick Jenkins too, Mick Jenkins is tight. Very, very, very, very, very, very, very slept on.

What artists are you excited about? Are there any new and upcoming artists that you’re listening to right now?

Right now, I like Redveil a lot. He’s been doing his thing. Flee Ghosts, Lil Keed has been on my playlist a lot, River Tiber, who’s from Toronto. I was just telling him that he needs to put out his album last week. I love that guy. There’s actually too many new artists and just music coming out for me to give you something off the top of my head. 

That’s all good. It’s good that you’re staying up to date and you’re listening to new artists. Not every artist is doing that. 

I mean, you kind of have to. As a fan before even getting too deep into the music, I would always be up on the new shit, so I just don’t see why it would change now that I am who I am. Also, I think Kenny Mason’s tight too. Kenny Mason is super tight.

What’s something that you are afraid to do that you did recently, anything that you did that took you out of your comfort zone?

I feel like I live life outside my comfort zone. I don’t even know, maybe like asking one of the homies for photo even though we’ve been friends for years. I live life on the edge. Actually, I think I know what brought me out my comfort zone, I voted. That made me uncomfortable, I’m not going to lie to you.

Is there a message that you have for your fans, for the world – anything from Jazz Cartier that you want the world to hear right now?

We live in very trying times right now, and I think the most important thing for everybody is to tap into yourself. You know what I’m saying? Love yourself, understand your wants and your needs, don’t look for confirmation on the Internet for every single thing. Alter your perception, make your own perception and have your own stance on things. I think that’s super important. 

Especially in 2020, I think if there’s an issue with something, first thing that we all do is run to the Internet to see what everyone else thinks and then we base an opinion on that. I think that isn’t healthy, because then, are you really feeling that way or are you feeling that way because the majority feels that way and you don’t want to be the odd man out? I think that’s super important. Check in on your family, make sure they’re good. Check in on your strong friends, make sure they’re good, and just be kind to people.

@jazzcartier

Interview by Calvin Schneider