Jovan Landry’s new album is called Synergy, an all-women produced and performed hip hop LP. Jovan has said defined the release as “the interaction or cooperation of two or more organisations, substances” or “other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.” We caught up with Jovan to get more of an understanding about the album and recent singles ‘Synergy Cypher’ parts one and two.
There’s so much beauty in working with new folks for the first time and allowing the album to develop on its own.
First up, tell us a bit about yourself - what first got you into music?
I’m a interdisciplinary artist focused in film, photography and hip-hop music. I was born in San Jose, California, but was raised mostly in Chicago. I was always musically inclined growing up, but it was really my cousin who introduced me to music production which led me to rapping.
Before I didn’t think it was possible to create music and create your own home studio unless I was signed to a label. It may sound crazy, but the only representation I had from music was from the mainstream.
**Were there any particular bands or artists you took inspiration from? **
For sure. I love Missy Elliott, Common, Eve, Swizz Beatz, Kendrick Lamar, Left Eye, Kanye West, and so much more. My musical inspiration is constantly evolving.
How would you describe your style?
My style musically definitely pays homage to 90s hip hop, but my performance is modern. I love to get in character and bring lots of energy on stage. I love to really tell my story through my voice and movement. I also take pride in being articulate in my words when I’m performing.
If you could collaborate with any living artist, who would it be?
Missy Elliott for sure. I feel like we’re both similar in terms of production, and even on the visual tip. I would love to be her protege sometime, or even just watch her in action.
Tell us about your new album Synergy. How did the all-women produced and performed hip hop album come about?
Yessss, Synergy started through a conversation in 2016 with my mentor who I used to work with. She was like “I want to see a female hip hop album.” She didn’t explain to me how she envisioned it, but as an MC herself who’s been in the game for over 20 years, I can see it being a wish for her for the next generation of woman MCs.
From there, I wanted to make it happen. I thought it was a great idea since there’s so many dope female MCs in Chicago. In 2017, I was selected as a recipient for the WeWork Creator Award Grant to produce the entire project. I was able to compensate our artists, filmmakers, graphic designers, engineers and more, as well as get supplies like video equipment and music production equipment to help create Synergy.
When did you write it and where did you record it?
From 2018 to 2019, we’ve been writing the record with the other eight artists involved on this album. With an exception of one song, all of the songs were recorded in my home studio in my apartment.
How did it feel making the album?
Man. It’s been interesting, it’s been hectic, it’s been up-and-down. With a collaboration album like this, we have to align our schedules together to do studio sessions, writing sessions. music video shoots, photo shoots, etc. So I would definitely say making this album brought out the leader in me since I’m more-so laid back. But there’s so much beauty in working with new folks for the first time and allowing the album to develop on its own.
Who guests on the album alongside you, and what did they bring to tracks?
The other artists involves all Chicago Artists: Jade The Ivy, Sauda Muse, Tee Spirit, Tweak’G, Sundé, JuJu MinXXX and Glitter Moneyyy. Everyone is in their own lane yet we all blend in together.
On the album you will hear a variety from love, equal pay and consent. I thought it was important to allow the artists to be themselves and to create their own concepts.
You released ‘Synergy Cypher Pt. 1’ in January as the first single from the album. What response did it get?
I felt like a lot of people were happy to see the music video! It features myself, Glitter Moneyyy, Sauda Muse and Jade The Ivy. This was the first song and video that anyone has ever seen of this project. It seems like we were developing the project for so long in the background, so to be able to put something out made me feel like, “Okay… This album is really coming out! We’re finally putting ourselves out in the world!”
Next up is ‘Synergy Cypher Pt. 2’. How does it build on part 1?
Part 2 is an extension of part 1. You get to see the next set of artists involved on the album, Sundé, Tee Spirit, JuJu MinXXX and Tweak’G. I believe the second music video had a little more excitement behind it based on the production value In January we had a private screening of the music videos before the online release and a handful of the attendees were really looking forward to this particular music video!
What are you hopes for ‘Synergy Cypher Pt. 2’?
My hopes is for the music and video to go viral. This idea is too good for it fall by the wayside. I just want the world to see this idea coming to life. I want it to inspire women and girls and even hip hop, showing them that women are able to create hip hop music by themselves as it’s a male-dominated industry.
And how would you like to see music fans respond to Synergy as an album?
If it weren’t for the fans, we wouldn’t be where we are today. All I ask is for them to tell a friend to tell a friend, share to social media. It takes “SYNERGY” to create a big effect.
Finally, if you could wish for one thing to happen for you this year, what would it be?
Aside from Synergy getting over a million streams and getting a Grammy (for 2020, lol) - I just want to be able to do what I love to do on larger scale (nationally and internationally) and full time. I’m super grateful the opportunities I’ve been given so far and we can only go up from here.
Watch the video for ‘Synergy Cypher Pt. 2’ on YouTube below. For news and tour dates go to jovanlandry.com.