JameirKGolden isn’t afraid to show his vulnerable side in his work, and in a sort of a contrast, it’s what makes his songs stronger. People respond to his lyrics because they can find their own pain in his poetry. As he said himself: “It’s okay not to be okay.”
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you ended up in the music business?
I’m from Louisville, Kentucky, and the middle child of two siblings. I was 14 when I got interested in the music business. I recorded my first single and released it to SoundCloud when I was 17. I ended up in the music industry mainly because I felt that I really wanted to become someone who would make an impact on Hip Hop culture. I also hated everything that was out when I was younger. I thought it all sounded the same, but when I heard Kanye West's “Yeezus” album at 13, I knew I wanted to write and create music. Though I wouldn’t start taking it serious until nearly a year later.
A couple years passed, and it all just felt like it was falling into place. At 17, I met a producer (Rosé) and I dropped my first single in 2017, “Gucci”, which was recorded in my bedroom on an iPhone 5. And then later that year I dropped “Losing My Mind”, the single that changed my life and my entire outlook on my music forever, because the song blew up over the course of two months.
What would you like your fans to take away from your music?
It’s okay not to be okay, and I want anyone who listens to my music to be able to find comfort in it, because if you take how you’re feeling, no matter if it’s sad, angry, happy, and you just keep it bottled up, you’ll go insane, and nobody deserves that. So, when listening to my music, I want my fans to feel validated, because anyone telling you to hide how you feel doesn’t care about you, they’re just doing you a disservice, so I just want you to be you and never hide your feelings.
“X's death hit me hard. Part of the reason is because I didn't believe that it was real.”
You’ve said that Kanye West is one of your biggest inspirations. Why Kanye, and are there any others who influenced your work?
Kanye West inspired me to be confident in myself and go after whatever I want, no matter what, and stand by how I feel, especially when I was at my lowest. I viewed Kanye as more than a rapper, I saw him as a true artist. He was really creative. So that's why I chose Kanye, I’ve just seen him as the person I wanted to be.
“I think the reason why I'm popular on Spotify is honestly because of a few things like timing. I choose very carefully when dropping certain songs, so they match the seasonal moods well.”
Another influence would be late rapper XXXTentacion, because of how diverse he was as an artist. He really showed me not to let myself get put inside a box, and how to give myself the maximum amount of freedom when it comes to creating, I also got a big tip from him about less being more in term of song lengths.
You’ve made a tribute song to XXXTentacion. How did his tragic death impact you?
X's death hit me hard. Part of the reason is because I didn't believe that it was real. I was working on some music and then decided to take a break. I checked Instagram and everyone is like "X is dead", "X has been shot" and I'm like it's probably for a music video, because this isn't the first time they thought he got killed. So I tell my brother and I'm joking around like "nah they ain't killed the SoundCloud boss“ etc. Then I saw the tragic footage, but still I'm thinking it's a music video, until Ski Mask the Slump God gets on live crying saying "X got shot, X is dead". Then it hit me and everything came crashing down and it hurt because earlier in my career, I had a conversation with X. It was before he really blew up. I was trying to get music advice and he told me: “Pursue it, and if you want it, make it a reality.” So, looking back, it just destroyed me. I couldn't even listen to his music for a while without getting upset. I was in denial, hoping that when I wake up in the morning, it'll all just be a joke, but unfortunately that just wasn't the reality we were in.
“It’s okay not to be okay, and I want anyone who listens to my music to be able to find comfort.”
Any artists you’d like to work, do a collab, with?
Which artists are you listening to right now?
Right now, it's been a lot of Dominic Fike, IDK, Oliver Tree, and whatever is suggested to me on Spotify. I've also been listening to a bunch of old records to sample or get inspired by for some Lo-fi singles.
You’re very popular on Spotify. Why do you think that is, or better yet, what did you do to get to over 100k streams on the platform?
I think the reason why I'm popular on Spotify is honestly because of a few things like timing. I choose very carefully when dropping certain songs, so they match the seasonal moods well. Also, because I dropped “Losing My Mind”, a song that spills my mindset in one of my most painful expressions. I think that hurt really resonated with a huge group of people, because of all the relatable themes and how I deliver the narrative of the song.
From the song Losing my Mind:
And I don't understand the madness
Cause I don't think it's meant for me
Cause every time I try
It just feels like it blows up on me
I'm the problem I don't know maybe
Feeling lonely, all this money don't make me happy
All this money just bought me problems, uh
Rosé, told me get my shit together
Cause this been messing up head space
Lost, in outer space hoping my spaceship Blast off
While hopping to save the rest
With my last breath
Cause 16 that's the family don't play with us
Can you take us inside your mind when you wrote those lines?
Alright, so I was talking to this girl at the time who I was really feeling and vibing with and I was already dealing with friends kinda switching up because of my newfound success in the rap industry. So, I was kinda in a bad mindset and had writer’s block, so I started writing this song and thought it would be cool to rap about the girl I was communicating with at the time. And I kid you not that same day me and her stop talking due to us having different end goals, I guess you could say. Long story short, it kinda broke my heart, because it felt like she was the female version of me and we could have been so much more.
Some of your lyrics touch on the occult – devil, demons. Can you tell us more about the use of such metaphors?
“Losing My Mind” has some interesting metaphors and references because of me having a shaky relationship with God or “Faith”. When I started writing this song, I just felt like it was gonna be big, and this was the song that made me realize I wanted to do music for the rest of my life. In the second verse, I talk about selling my soul to the devil because basically after this song, I felt completely committed to the music industry. So much that I felt it became my new identity.
Before the completion of “Losing My Mind”, I was also plagued with a series of odd dreams for about a week straight. I dreamt of me and some man standing side by side, floating over what looked like the city of Louisville. We had a conversation about devoting myself to my music wholeheartedly, and then I woke up and wrote the lines “Anima Vestra (your soul) I spoke to the Devil in Louisville, he told me if I listen closely, he would give me everything I pleaded”. Also, there was a big reference to “I spoke to the Devil in Miami he said everything would be fine” by XXXTentacion.
You’re known for using many different flows and styles in your music. Tell us more about your creative process.
It starts from me hearing a beat. Ninety percent of the time I never know what I'm gonna write about and I let the beat choose my flow and how I'm gonna deliver. After that, I'll write the song and choose a title, or I'll choose a title, then listen to the beat and try out a couple different flows before I find the perfect one that just sits into the pockets of the beat. Or I just freestyle a bunch of random shit and then go back and write in what I think sounds good.
“I think a record deal should be more of a partnership, rather than the artist being held hostage, because you want them to deviate far from their roots to keep up with fast food rap trends that’ll die out in a couple months.”
Being an independent artist means that you have total control of your music. Labels can give you financial stability, among other things, but can also push you to make music you might not want to do. What are your thoughts on that?
I love being an independent artist at times, because I have all the creative say so when it comes to my music. There are also cons to being independent, and finding financial stability is the first one. For more instant gratification, signing with a label can really speed things up and make you a lot more money. Well, if you sign a good deal, but I hate the fact that sometimes they can tell you what you can and can’t release. I mean I get it, they’re investing a great deal of money in you, and I do believe they should have some say in what you create, but they should also trust their own artist who made it this far. I mean, you did get signed for a reason.
I think part of the reason why artists who signed to labels fall off is because of labels not giving them enough creative control. I think a record deal should be more of a partnership, rather than the artist being held hostage, because you want them to deviate far from their roots to keep up with fast food rap trends that’ll die out in a couple months. I think that’s where they go wrong and fans start to change and stop supporting the artist, because the artist they once knew is just so different compared to when they were independent, dropping the “underground music” that built their cult-like fan bases and united them.
“I also address fans/supporters of mine as my 16s, because I feel they’re such a big part of my life and I think they’re all their own gods and goddesses.”
Tell us more about the number 16?
Okay, so, 16 is a very important number in my life, mainly because it always surrounds me, kinda like a sign from the universe. I'm born on January 16th at 8:16am, and whenever I need a sign or am having doubts, I see that number appear, no matter if it's on a billboard, car, building etc., and then I know what to do.
To me, 16 also means that your thoughts create your reality, so it relates to some more universal stuff I believe in. I also address fans/supporters of mine as my 16s, because I feel they’re such a big part of my life and I think they’re all their own gods and goddesses.
What has been the biggest challenge you've faced as an independent artist so far, and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge I've faced as an independent artist is finding financial stability, because everything I do, I pay directly out of my pocket. One way I started to overcome that is by finding sponsors who really believe enough in me as an artist to even invest their money in me.
What are your plans for the future?
I really wanna get some performances under my belt after I start creating music more consistently for the first quarter of 2020. Then I wanna focus on developing some small projects like EPs, and hopefully negotiate my way around some music offers that are on the table right now. So far, I haven’t chosen to pursue anything, because I’m still debating on what feels like it really could be home for me. I do wanna launch my career to the next level and hopefully build some bigger connections that could possibly lead to bigger opportunities.
We see a great future for this young rapper, and if you haven’t listened to his songs yet, you should definitely check him out. His tunes are filled with uncensored emotions, he’s true to himself, and it’s not hard to see why his 16s love him and why his songs go viral on streaming services. And of course, check out his profile on Viberate.com.
Cover photo source: Artist's archive
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