Interview: J J ARV

Sep 02 2022

Australian Alternative Indi-Folk singer/songwriter J J ARV has released a new single titled 'No Gravity', written in collaboration with Farouk Jr. from Trinidad and Tobago. Louder Than The Music caught up with the artist to find out more about her music and how she hopes to bring a message of hope to others.

For those who haven't heard of you before, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got involved in making music?

I have grown up in a musical family of 5 with everyone being able to sing and play instruments. As a teen, my father and eldest brother were a part of bands and wrote their own songs. This kind of passion for music was only encouraged and nurtured further within kids church, youth and church bands. I have gone from being the quiet one, supporting the team to now worship leading and heading up one of our campus’ teams, as well as writing my own songs. I have written songs off and on throughout my life, mostly in times where I have been processing life’s struggles. Over the years I have had a desire and felt led to use my abilities with music and writing in a greater way, I just wasn’t sure how, In 2020 I had my first encounter with Kingdom Music Academy which both stretched me and motivated me to make steps toward recording and releasing. The teaching in this community and the incredible connections I have made in that space have gotten me to where I am and continue to push me forward.

Tell us about your new single 'No Gravity' and what the inspiration behind it was?

No Gravity went from being a great opportunity to stretch and grow myself by writing something a little different in style and feel to something super close to my heart and that has had an incredibly healing and motivating impact on me. I was a part of the Kingdom Music Academy on Facebook, growing in my craft as an artist. Every so often a song-writing challenge would be put out there for us to try, and this time the challenge was to write a “summer song.” The first thing that came to mind was “joy breaking out.” I threw this idea out in the group and said “maybe a collaboration opportunity?” To which Farouk Jr. responded and we soon met on zoom and began writing. We ended up writing No Gravity completely from our own experiences and the conversations about stories we told each other. The heart of it is about letting go of fears etc that can hold us down/back from doing and being all that God has created us to be and grabbing hold of our identity and worth in Him and living out of that. We both have found that when we do this we feel a freedom that otherwise feels unheard of... like we’re living in a space of “no gravity."

Do you have any plans to release more music in the near future?

I am currently in the process of recording a new single that is a part of a series of singles that I felt God laid on my heart. It is a cinematic single looking at the encounter between Mary Magdalene and Jesus and what this might have been like for her. We should see this release live in the coming month or so.

After this single I will be working on an EP of which “no gravity” is the anthem of. So back to some indie-folk songs that speak from my own life experiences and how I came through them. Writing of one of the songs on the EP was started in 2005 not long after my father died from a battle with cancer, but was added to in 2019 and speaks of how grief doesn’t have an end, but also that there is hope, peace and joy that can be found throughout this.

What message would you like people to take from your music?

My hope and prayer is that people will find moments of hope, joy and peace in the music I create. That they will connect with the difficult times sung about but also hear the messages of hope and revelations of truth I have come to know and grow in.

Hope that life won’t always be hard but that even in the difficult we can hold peace and joy.

How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?

I have always been quite eclectic in taste in all areas of life so defining a style has been so hard for me. But in saying this, I have found that the alternative, contemporary cinematic styling has grown on me and been influenced by artists such as Ruelle, Fleurie and Lauren Daigle. On the other end of my eclectic styling scale I hit the indie-folk, especially when playing solo live gigs. This has been largely influenced by a artist local to South Australia called Tim Moore and a Sweden duo Smith and Thell.

If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?

I honestly don’t think a lot about this kind of thing so it’s definitely a difficult one for me to answer. But I do sometimes wonder if having the opportunity to write with someone who’s music influences mine (like those mentioned above) would help me to explore different things and grow within those styles further. In all honesty, I loved working with Farouk Jr. and hope to work with him again in the future.

How would you define success in your career as an artist?

For me personally, I believe success in my career as an artist is simply making steps and achieving them and stewarding the gift as best as I can. For instance, the first time I released a song felt like a success, and releasing No Gravity, has felt like a success to me. Hearing peoples feedback of how these songs impact them, that is what it’s about... impacting peoples lives for the better, not the being “big” having lots of fans kinda gig (but this could be another form of success if that’s what we’re called to), but simply doing what I feel called to do, which is release what is on my heart, and well, I’m doing that. So every step feels like I am succeeding in my purpose as an artist.

What is your favourite album of all time?

I honestly have never really been one to have “favourites,” which may sound strange, but it’s true, you could ask anyone who knows me haha. I have wondered if my eclectic view and feel for life effects this and also my counselling role embeds a need for objectivity so... possibly all impacting on my ability to pick a “favourite."

You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your phone. What track is it?

At the moment, it would probably be “I Speak Jesus” by Charity Gayle, Steven Musso... but you could ask me the same question a day or a week from now and it could be different haha. But, this song is powerful in what it calls out and speaks over people and really speaks to my heart for people to feel a freedom in their life from mental health, temptations, shame, guilt, fear etc.

What does the next year hold for you?

I am a very ‘go with the flow’ kinda girl and so, all I KNOW is that I will continue to write, record and release music as I feel led to. As for anything larger than that, I am open and willing to take steps of opportunity if and when they arise as I am lead.

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