Singer/songwriter Jean-Mikhael has a unique, contemporary R&B sound. Not only a BRIT School graduate, following in the footsteps of notable alumni such as Adele, Amy Winehouse, Jessie J and Ella Eyre, his first musical venture was as the young Michael Jackson in London’s West-End production of Thriller LIVE. His latest tune is ‘Rollin’ featuring Realz. We caught up with Jean-Mikhael to find out more.
‘Rollin’ is a bold song. It’s very expressive. It has two sides of my personality, representing different parts of me - the urban side and the classical side.
First up, tell us about yourself - what got you into music?
When I first initially got into music I think I thought it was more of an organic way but as time goes by it was my outlet to express my feelings for any hurt I had. From things like when my dad left us at 5 and I remember seeing him leaving while I sat on the step, or the days of getting picked on at school for being just a bit different from everyone.
I guess I grew into the music and it became apart of me to be me and it was my alter ego. My family has also been around music for years — my grandfather played saxophone in of the great American musical cities, Chicago, and my mother styled (UK bestselling group) Boney M… I think this passion passed down to me too.
Were there any particular artists you took inspiration from?
Yes… Alicia Keys. Usher. Chris Brown. Beyoncé/Destiny’s Child. Prince. And so many more…
How would you describe your musical style?
If you could collaborate with any living artist, who would it be?
For his dance performances, music versatility and longevity… Chris Brown.
Tell us about your new single ‘Rollin’. What’s it about, what’s its theme?
‘Rollin’ with me is about how it’s a different vibe, a different thing going on with me daily. If you’re in my crew, we just enjoy life and have a good time, but then we do have a serious side too. I’m just being honest about my feelings and what I’m about as a person.
When did you write it and where did you record it?
I wrote it right at the beginning of this year with Halo, a writer based in the UK and US. We just made it more a vibe when writing it, not taking ourselves too seriously. I recorded it in my main studio that I go to in Primrose Hill.
How does ‘Rollin’ represent your style? ‘Rollin’ features Realz. What did he bring to the track?
It’s a bold song. It’s very expressive. It has two sides of my personality, representing different parts of me - the urban side and the classical side.
Realz added a flavour and certain presence, an extra diverse edge. He added the UK rap sound to the song.
The video for ‘Rollin’ is directed by Luke Biggins and Gabriella Kingsley. Can you tell us about their style and what they did to bring the song to life?
They are great directors that work with many different artists in the UK rap and R&B scene. I felt that they would bring my true vision to the music video, bringing it to life. They were amazing to work with and made everything so easy.
What are your hopes for ‘Rollin’?
Lol. To be number one in the charts, haha.
What can you tell us about your plans for the rest of 2019?
I’m currently on tour with The Hara. I’m going to be on my last leg of my school tour in London. I’m also performing on the October 2nd at the Jazz Quarters in Dalston, supported by iluvlive. Then, I will be announcing my intimate tour in November, hopefully opening for some London acts, and then it’s a rest before heading back into the studio for a bit.
I’ve also done a great cover shoot for Asbo magazine.
Finally, if you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, when would it be and what would you say?
I would tell my 14 year old self that your time is coming and I should be patient with myself and the industry.
Watch the video for ‘Rollin’ on YouTube below. For the latest news and tour dates go to thejeanmikhael.com.