‘I’m a black person in the western world. I have a lot of moments where I’m a victim of racial prejudice’
Rapper and artist JYellowL says he is firm believer in sharing your blessings and empowering others
I have a few things I live by that motivate me to work harder and trust the process: “You don’t hustle you don’t eat”, and “Impossible is nothing”.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your life?
I’ve faced many challenges but one of the biggest had to be integrating into Irish society as a teenager from Nigeria. I had to navigate through so many cultural nuances, colloquialisms and even the difference in humour.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Be patiently persistent, not persistently patient. Jeff Goins, who wrote the book Real Artists Don’t Starve, changed my outlook on what I do from “just art” to “art and business”.
And the worst?
Many extended family members used to say to me, “Music isn’t a real job. Get a real job and keep music as a hobby.” I’m glad I didn’t listen!
What’s the moment that changed your life?
The day a friend of mine told me he would pay for my music if I put it on sale. That gave me the confidence I needed to make music my profession.
Who do you most admire?
My mum, without a doubt. She’s a warrior. She’s had many battles to overcome in her personal life, and yet she never steered away from her responsibilities as a mother or a career-driven woman. That’s what I admire most about her.
What is the most pain you’ve ever experienced?
Not being able to see my mum and brother for most of my life, due to family issues, and not being able to do anything about it for so long.
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your career?
Chris Kabs, my producer, has been the biggest influence on my career. Working with someone with such an ear for music has allowed me to flourish creatively.
What practical thing you do to help your personal development?
I make sure I write every day, even when I don’t want to or I’m uninspired.
What location do you return to for a sense of calm and time out?
My bedroom, which doubles as my studio. It’s my safe space.
What’s your biggest flaw?
I find it difficult to soak up priceless moments or dwell on achievements because I’m afraid of inviting any complacency or contentment.
And your worst habit?
Elevating people’s opinions beyond their worth. I could have a bad couple of minutes because of someone’s negative reaction to my music or a bad comment under a video.
What aspect of yourself or your behaviour do you privately admire?
I’m very disciplined and strong-willed.
What personality trait would you anticipate your friends identifying as your most dominant?
I think they’d either say I’m very driven or very playful, depending on who you ask!
How about an unfulfilled goal you don’t tell anyone about?
Being able to better the standard of living for a sizeable amount of the world’s population, whether it be through providing education, employment or infrastructure. This is important to me because I’m a firm believer in sharing your blessings and empowering others if you have the means to do so.
Is there a particular moment in your life where you feel you were treated unfairly?
I’m a black person in the western world. I have a lot of those moments where I’m a victim of racial prejudice.
Is there a gift you tend to purchase repeatedly for different people?
After my song Ozone featured on the official FIFA 20 soundtrack, I had loads of copies of the game, so I kept giving them out as gifts. I like to think I’m quite a creative shopper under normal circumstances, but that was just too easy!
What’s the wisest thing you’ve ever heard or read?
Be impeccable with your word. It’s from a book called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. This is great advice for someone who believes in the law of attraction and positive affirmation. So often we profess negativity and subject ourselves to that energy by doing so.
What are you most proud of in your life?
Having the courage to continue to chase and reach my dreams.
What’s your life motto?I have a few things I live by that motivate me to work harder and trust the process: “You don’t hustle you don’t eat”, and “Impossible is nothing”.
JYellowL is a rapper and artist, whose latest track, No Rivals with MAC IRV, is out now..