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Meet Jaylen Newman of J Nu in Pacoima

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jaylen Newman.

Jaylen, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I always had this affinity for music, even though I wasn’t allowed, I’d fall asleep to these gangsta records playing in my ear and that was my first real exposure to the art form. Ready to Die was the first album I fell in love with. The first time I remember actively listening to rap, I was three, and by the time I was six, I was downloading stuff on my own. From there, I started paying attention to all the records my parents would play, real old school stuff, and I’d ask all about the history and environment that this art came from. I noticed right away that the lives I’d listen to in these songs weren’t that far off from my own. I found my identity through music and movies, I was always consuming media. Eventually, I realized I’d be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t add my own voice into this echo chamber. I started out on an Xbox Live microphone (LOL), I didn’t know anything about engineering, producing, or song structure. I approach everything as an amateur because of this. I never assume I know everything, and every breakthrough teaches me I know nothing. It’s been a very fun journey so far. I’ve made a lot of really good friends and learned a lot about myself.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I’d be disappointed if it was easy. One obstacle would be getting good shows consistently and marketing yourself to new listeners in an oversaturated market. The thing that helps me the most is that the market isn’t oversaturated with people that sound like me. My first goal as an artist is to always be self-sustaining when I can’t get booked, I book my own shows, when I can’t find beats, I’ll make some. Booking your own shows, shooting your own videos, and producing your own music is not only energy-consuming but a lot of people are going to overlook you and cast doubt on your name because they can’t use you or gain anything by showing your love. At the same time, wearing multiple hats is a great way to meet and help out other artists, the more selfish I feel the “industry” gets, the more giving I try to be to counteract it. That being said, the biggest enemy of the creative is doubt, it’s going to come from others, from yourself, and sometimes it’ll feel like GOD is doubting you. That’s what separates you from the pack, that’s what molds you, and that is what will inspire you in your darker times… knowing that when the odds are stacked against you, that you’ll keep going. I’d be disappointed if it was easy because the hard parts make you better.

What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of? What sets you apart from others?
I help run a collective of creatives called Fr33 Clinic (@fr33.99 on IG) and I produce/perform rap music under the moniker J-Nu. As a collective, we focus on marketing artists as well as creating original visual content and publishing music. As an artist, I focus on expressing myself and documenting my world while it’s still standing. I live in a beautiful place that doesn’t get a lot of spotlight or recognition for the good stuff as much as it does for the bad. I love shining light on those diamonds in the rough. Pacoima raised me and I have to help breathe life into the city and into the culture by representing people like me. People who don’t fit into one of the predesignated archetypes they were supposed to fit into. People who never really get movies made about them, or songs written about them. I love outsiders and I’ve always been one. I never try to be set apart from others, society will do that for me. I didn’t get a choice in this outsider shit. Being a dark black punk on the street did that for me.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I don’t listen to these untalented clout chasers. They will tell you to be anything but yourself because yourself isn’t cool enough. If I was trying to be cool, I wouldn’t be myself either but that’s never been the goal. The goal is to be able to sleep at night. I am who I am. So, ignorance is my best quality. I am ignorant enough to do what feels right instead of what 100 other people are already doing and making money from already. Being dumb and doing ME just feels punk rock to me.

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Image Credit:

Khalil Slim

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