Jillionaire Talks Music Industry, New Record + 2017 Plans [Interview]
Photo of Jillionaire taken by Kevin Kusatsu.
There is nothing quite like a party thrown by Major Lazer and Jillionaire. The flavorful, lavish and extremely beat-worthy extravaganza will have you dutty winding out of your knickers, while drinking all of the dranks to keep your world slapping! From Soca to Reggae to Reggaeton to Hip-Hop, the packed DJ set has gone all around the globe twice to entertain the young and old alike who just want to have a good time. Most recently, Jillionaire found himself doing what no other music act has done in over 60 years — perform in Cuba.
Yes, after President Barack Obama bridge the riff between America and Castro’s Cuba (R.I.P. Fidel) — Major Lazer were the first to hit Cuba since diplomatic ties were restored between Washington, D.C. and Havana back in July 2015. Playing for tens of thousands at the Musicabana Festival, the super-duper free concert took place at the Tribuna José Marti in front of the U.S. Embassy. In addition to setting it out for the Cuban public, Jillionaire + Major Lazer also met and greeted Cuban music students and shared the stage with up-and-coming local DJ talent.
What a time to be alive, right? Music, now more than ever, has been a guiding force to those who believe in its power and one of the global leaders — Jillionaire — is keeping you off guard, hypnotized and encouraged to find your own creativity through his own sound. We spoke with the man born Chris Leacock, better known as Jillionaire about his thoughts on the recording industry, premiere his latest cut, “Gyal You A Party Animal” with Charly Black and get his thoughts on how Major Lazer can save us from a dull 2017. Kick back, press play and learn about this T-N-T (Trinidad and Tobago) turntablist by reading our exclusive chat with Jillionaire. Enjoy!
Okayplayer: Can you also talk about the importance of the music industry scene as how you’ve experienced it? How do you see it evolving in the next five years?
Jillionaire: There has always been this generational complaint of “Oh, the new music is trash,” or “Oh, the music that came before is whack.” Music is going to continue to evolve and there is little that we can do to stop that evolution. The most we can do is try to give a little bit of ourselves, to have a little bit of input so that we can contribute to the process.
OKP: What are some things that you’ve learned about yourself that comes out in your music?
J: I like to travel and experience new cultures and ideas that reflect itself in the work I produce. All of the tracks that I have worked on have been collaborative and have featured artists and producers from all around the globe. My next single, “Sunrise,” features Fatman Scoop from New York City and Fuse ODG from Ghana, West Africa. It was recorded in London on a beat that I worked on with a Polish producer named Worldwide.
OKP: What were some moments from your recent travels that will forever stick with you? Why?
J: This was a super busy travel year — I went to Cuba for the first time, took two trips to India, really checked out New Orleans and played a bunch of festivals. I also had the opportunity to visit Tel Aviv for the first time. I know a lot of people would say, “Don’t go to Tel Aviv! Don’t go to Cuba!” — but there are young people everywhere that are inspired by our music and just want to have a good time. Partying and feeling good are universal.
OKP: What was the first song that you ever wrote entitled? Can you talk about what it has come to symbolize since you’ve entered into the professional life?