Add to Queue: Joell’s artistic expressions
A selection of curated media lists from our global community
words – joell
location – edinburgh, uk
Joell is a Scottish Zimbabwean alt R’n’B artist who began circling the underground scene before making his way to actualising his dreams as an artist. His cure to the everyday battle with one’s self is music. It’s a battle he’s been dealing with his whole life, where music serves as the gateway to a place where he can unpack and communicate his experiences, wins and losses.
From playing The Creative Riot in 2017 to supporting French the Kid and Berwyn, Joell has been growing into new spaces as an artist. This growth comes with the trials of an anguished creator and visionary who is grappling with inner turmoil and pressure felt through seeing love, hate and joy in a polarising world.
He says, “I live a fast paced life and I have to admit, being an artist, I’m quite self absorbed; not disrespectfully, but I stay tunnel vision for the mission. I don’t read, however I do a lot of driving so if you recommend a good book that fits into my mission I’ll play the Audible version when I’m driving. I rarely watch films that don’t spark the fire inside me. I listen to music for mood.
Any down time I have, I’ll spend on YouTube. I love to learn about history, geography, philosophy; any famous characters, warriors, artists, aliens that I can learn from. We can learn a lot from history. We don’t get a lot of time in the day so I want to spend every second I can putting the work in and one day I can give back to the people that gave to me.
So I am going to share with you the daily creative arty bits that I have been taking in recently and adding in to my vision, ahead of my next single, ‘Safe Outside.’ Below, I share a glimpse into the everyday battles many creatives face within themselves; what follows is a mixed media list of creative and artistic recommendations which serve as a pure expression of the Artist.”
01_Joell – Ignorance
I have a big release coming early 2024. In preparation, I’ve been watching a lot of old me to remind me where I come from, what I am about and the message I still carry. Ignorance was a three track EP and short film I created as my first ever release. It’s a story of me and how I want to break free from societal rules. I want to be free and unique, different. Don’t follow rules, be you. Five years on I’m just a bigger, badder version of myself with a lot more confidence. The mission remains. Listen and learn everyday. Work your ass off every single day while we’re young and have the ability to do so. Don’t be scared to take risks. Stop letting others dictate your moves. I hope my art inspires someone. We are just some kids from Scotland who made it all out of a bedroom.
02_Christopher Nolan’s Batman 1, 2 and 3
These films are insane. Batman is a sort of anti-villain. He is seen as the bad guy, a villain in question, when really he’s saving the world. I think my art and brand identity comes across as quite dark and reserved; I keep myself to myself. My brand can’t save everyone. It’s really about focusing on yourself until you’re in a position to give back. But until you make that positive change and lead by example, nobody can buy into your story.
My manager Mobo showed me this film. It’s sort of silent art – this stuff I can sit and watch for hours. I love to travel. I love to people-watch. I don’t like holidays. I like to immerse myself in how people live and move when I visit anywhere new; get involved in the culture, the people, the food. I can watch ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ for hours and just create my own meaning. It’s hypnotic to watch, and the viewer is allowed to create their own idea of what’s going on. You can zone out and let it take you away.
Rest in peace. It’s quite difficult for me to explain my connection to Alan Watts. I came across his work while I was watching loads of YouTube during lockdown. I’m a writer. He’s a writer. I love his message. I love the way he speaks. I’m too filled up with testosterone and getting money in the bank right now to slow down and chill out a bit, but the way he speaks resonates with my soul. It’s as if he simplifies the rules to life. The simple methods of respecting people and respecting yourself. I struggle to sleep so I listen to him regularly. I quote him in a lot of my visual work, such as ‘NO ONE.’
05_No flowers without rain – a poem by Joell
So much to lose
So much to gain
Don’t sell your soul
For short term fame
Enjoy the fruits
Don’t fall to greed
For what you want
Is not a need
Your mistakes may damage internally
But your actions can change eternity
Don’t settle for less
Blame others for mess
You must take the weight on your shoulders
Share the knowledge
Pay your homage
For the youth are not ready to hold us
We come and go
That will never change
But the impact you make
Will keep you engraved
Your body will rot
Though never your name
The nights get dark
But be your flame
Why not take the risk
If life is a game
Take pride in your journey
In who you became
You won’t find glory
without facing pain
There will be no flowers
without falling rain
You’re a guest in this world.
Respect life and life will give back.
My mum let me watch Al Pacino’s ‘Scarface’ at six or seven years old; could be bad parenting. I didn’t really understand it at the time but I was hooked on this fearless warrior, an immigrant sick of being labelled as desperate to feed on scraps. He went above and beyond to make a point, to fuck the system and take over. Definitely in the wrong way, but it was the overarching messaging that has stuck with me. “The world is yours.” You choose how to live your life. Just respect the Earth and make a positive impact. Be cool with people and don’t end up like Tony Montana. It’s a beautiful film, made before CGI and AI etc, and I very much doubt we will ever see something like that again. One of the greats.
07_Lil Baby – My Turn
This is my get up and go every morning. Lil Baby may be not for everyone reading this but I’m big on pushing myself. I love a challenge. I was brought up doing a lot of martial arts and boxing. I’m not scared to speak my mind. Rap music plays a big role in my everyday life. It pumps me up and really, really gets me going. It’s not something I can explain; some people just get it. Others will have different music to fire them up. This album got me through lockdown and I still play it every day.
Also, big shoutout to Future. Much of the same as Lil Baby. Wake up, play Future, nobody can stop you. Trust me.
09_Stop war, stop killing people, be cool and believe in yourself from Joell
Tbh I’m quite a deep person when you get past my Instagram. So this is a message from me.
If you’re reading this, be a good person. I know life gets hard but don’t let dark days affect your decisions. Be cool. Keep your soul in check. You turn on the news, it’s wild. How can we not learn from the past and still be wiping countries out? Killing families, kids, innocent people. What’s that even about? So just be cool. You might not go out your way to do something that will directly save lives. Growing up in the west we’re all guilty of that “someone else will deal with it” or it’s “too far to be my problem” mentality. All you have to do is understand right from wrong. Respect people. And know that no matter how big or small someone’s battle is, they are really going through it. If you’re alive and breathing and using your mobile phone and have WiFi and access to clean water out a tap, you can go to work, you are free to drive around and go on holiday – you’re in a really good position. Yeah, we all want more and that’s completely fine. But just know to be here right now, no matter what, is a real privilege in life. So please take care of yourself. Not everyday, but now and then just appreciate yourself, where you are at and that you’re growing and learning everyday. Be grateful. Life is short. Really make the most of it. Don’t look back and regret things because you were scared of what people might think. I’m like that but I’m changing everyday. Be open minded. Try stuff. Try new foods. Go learn something. Build your own Add to Queue to channel and confront your own emotions. Any little ideas you thought about starting, just try it out and see if you like it, you don’t have to tell anyone. But it’s life. It keeps moving and it does not stop. My motto. Life is a privilege. Death is a certainty. So go out and make every second you can, count. Not everyone has that blessing but you do right now. You’re as free as you can be right now so it’s only you stopping yourself
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