It was August 25th, 2017 when the fashion collective called Consumer-S would throw a noteworthy event in the city to bolster the new wave of creativity breeding within Baltimore’s new artistic Renaissance. Arriving early as to be on time, I met the coordinators, one of which being an individual one could inherently sense the cool and cogent aura from, named Jael. As Baltimore’s new artistic renaissance grew in the coming months to present day, Jael became an always supportive, omnipresent, and contributing presence to other creatives giving it their all. She would altruistically supply her extensive music industry knowledge to her Baltimore peers with wonderful consistent and thorough videos for her subscribers, and continued to attend shows of many upcoming artists. Jael has become a humble power player in her own right. I had an afternoon to get to know the magician at the core of her parts.
I.) The Existence:
MV: How would you best describe your being, who you are at the core parts of your identity?
Jael: I’d like to think of my existence as intersectional in a serendipitous type of way.
A 1997 baby, Jael’s existence is as eclectic as self-described with her being a Queer Black woman and first-generation Kenyan born in the United States. Jael, in the interview, also boasts her Baltimore heritage as a large facet of her existence, stating her birth from Franklin Square Hospital as a reference point. In her youth, Jael was very much connected to the Kenyan immigrant community in Baltimore, attending the church where her father was the preacher at. If all these origins of Jael’s innate personality weren’t enough of a unique mix, imagine also attending a private school for girls that was 98% white, which she did.
Until around 10th grade, not only did she develop her agnostic and queer identity, Jael approached her parents and made a deal with them to graduate early from high school in order to start college early and leave the environment that was no longer serving her. The background that Jael told me gave me a snapshot of how she never let any part of her personality and youth nerf the fullness of who she is. This is was also a segway into our dialogue about Jael’s artistic development as well as the different facets of her being that would represent her entire being within her art.
II.) “Welcome to My [Music] World”:
MV: How did you obtain the musical knowledge that you currently possess right now? What were the origins behind that?
Jael: It’s a wild roller coaster…I got to see live music create an atmosphere.
Growing up by playing drums at 8am on Sundays for church, Jael was exposed to love music at an early age, giving her an edge in musical knowledge. Even when graduating early, she still retained her love and skills in music. After enrolling in a studio and audio engineering class at CCBC where she also happened to meet Baltimore’s Scotty Banks, a powerful producer-rapper-businessman trifecta that would also be a pivotal leader in Baltimore City’s growing musical scene through his thorough work.
The experiences, musical knowledge, and sociological nuance based on all parts of her identity spurred Jael into assisting into different movements, collectives and initiatives that allowed for her to elevate herself and her community.
III.) A Mind is a Gun:
After meeting Jael, I would watch her grow into a pillar of wisdom and support for the community, while she continued to evolve in knowledge after realizing the power of information in a generation of self-autonomy in practically every area due to the internet’s accessibility.
MV: What got you into the different, gritty parts of the music business?
Jael: I don’t want to go broke or get fucked over. That’s my intention.
Jael and I would get into a passionate and enlightening back-and-forth about the importance of spreading [helpful] information and the better ecosystems (micro or macro) that are birthed from that altruism of extra digital information for those who know what they are actually talking about. After learning the depth of information that she did, Jael began curating music industry know-how videos on her Instagram and YouTube pages.
She would speak to me about how the major social media platforms that we enjoy today respectively have over 1 billion users, so thus there are a lot of networking, community and building opportunities that can be made. Jael would express how taking in a lot of content helps her own quality in regards to editing, subject matter, and the deeper intricacies of providing quality information in video content. Church and Facebook were good influences she stated, before we both shared a brief laugh.
MV: How do you have so much energy for all of your indulgences.
Jael: Energy? That’s [just] me.
Another laugh occurred between us. If you know Jael’s support of her peers and her own music creation process, you can see the perpetual explosive energy focused in her mosh pit antics at city events and infectious beats.
IV.) The Future of the Music World:
The music world, definitions of the word “independent”, and the means of production/distribution are shifting before our very eyes in the music industry, sometimes in lunges faster than the world can keep up with.
MV: What it is the state of the music world to you today given your knowledge?
Jael: It’s transformative. It’s that point of the story where the Skywalker finds out how he is going to use his talents.
Jael elaborates on her George Lucas masterpiece film allusion to reiterate how technology is the greatest weapon the independent artists have IF they choose how to master it.
“An artist is not going to have the patience in the beginning. Instant gratification is going to make it dead.” -Jael
Given the speed of today’s developments, the traditional labels are working full-force. According to Jael, in the near future, the freedoms or lack thereof for the artists are going to unequivocally showcase what direction the labels should have taken. The labels themselves will have to decide between fundamentalism or conservative capitalism, making the hard decision (or not) to give artists power in their own trajectory in a gamble to produce long-lasting talent quality.
Jael knows that she is not the only talented learning powerhouse in the younger generation and she knows I am not the only one as well. It is up to ALL of us to be the true change we want to be and build better ecosystems parallel with the world of our dreams.
You can follow her on YouTube, Twitter and Instagram @jwkprod to keep up with her gems.
> Maurice Valentino