Jovi Rockwell is a name that’s well-known to those who follow Jamaican music–and a voice that’s well-known to the rest of us. As a key contributor to both the first Major Lazer album and Snoop Lion‘s new reggae project, the Diplo-produced Reincarnated she has sung some of catchiest reggae tunes you never knew the name of (for record, the names are “Can’t Stop Now” with Mr. Vegas and “La La La” with Snoop, just to name two…). LargeUp caught with the elusive Jovi at Miami’s Hit Factory for an exclusive and in-depth interview (not to mention a hell of a photo shoot from LU visual director Martei Korley). Get a quote about Jovi’s transition from singer and songwriter to full-fledged musician below, then hit the link at bottom to read more about her work with Diplo on those 2 landmark crossover projects, as well as a forthcoming EP (The Longest Shortcut) and mixtape (Frankenstein) not to mention the early influence of Jem & The Holograms on the development of her musical persona.
Jovi Rockwell: Well, I recently discovered that I am a musician. Last year, I had a revelation. You could say I had a personal low. And I just found comfort in instruments. Every human being goes through this: You try to find the meaning of things, and why they happen. I’m a believer that things happen for a reason. Life is trying to show you something. And I felt it was showing me I needed to push my greatness and become what I felt I wasn’t capable of doing.
When I would work with producers, I would write lyrics without music a lot. I’d always say, “I wish I could play,” and they’d tell me if you can write without music, you can play. I’m always being compared to artists who are out. The comparison doesn’t offend me [but] I wanted to set myself apart. There’s other people who can write, there are beautiful women out there, so I thought what can I do to set myself apart? I decided to become a musician. I started playing the piano. I could always kind of play the bass but I play it better now, and I fell in love with the guitar. [From] doing that, I produced my first track. In a moment of things being unclear, it became clear to me what life was showing me. Ever since then I have found a lot of peace. I don’t need people to make me happy, once I found and built a relationship with music. I taught myself theory as well. I just went down into the rabbit hole, and just kept falling, and I really loved it. While I was teaching myself the practical, I was teaching myself the theory. Now I’m a musician.