Tapped by Dr. Dre, the Dutch up-and-comer on doing things that make you happy.
(LEFT) Jacket ADIDAS
(RIGHT) Jumper underneath ALEX MULLINS, jumper BERTHOLD
Joshua Janse is the 19-year-old multitalented creative working across a range of mediums that include music, production, video and photography, born and raised in the Dutch city of Breda. Taking inspiration from Chance The Rapper, his lyrics and electronic beats are simultaneously both relaxing and invigorating.
Recognised by the legendary Dr. Dre – who included the debut EP “Flowers” in his Beats of the Week playlist – last month saw the release of new single “Lock My Door”, accompanied by a vibrant video produced by Joshua himself. Indeed, the teen uses music videos and social media as a window into this life, documenting the feel good vibes of his creative jams for all to enjoy.
In London for just a sweet 24-hour window, Wonderland caught up with Joshua J to hear about his summer plans and riff off his upbeat energy, IRL. Care to listen while you read? Click here.
Coat GRENFELL, scarf KENT AND CURWEN, top TOPMAN, jeans ROKIT, shoes CONVERSE
What’s your earliest musical memory?
I remember performing for my parents when I was three years old – my parents had a shelf with all of their CDs and I remember choosing one randomly, and then putting on a little show reciting the lines. I think that was when they decided to put me forward for piano lessons.
Your creativity extends beyond music. What’s your message, if you have one?
Just be yourself, and do things that make you happy. I try to do that myself and it kind of works, [so] I am trying to encourage other people to do that too.
And how do all your creative practices interlink?
At times, when I was only doing music, I would run out of inspiration, but now that I am also working with video, I get new ideas. I am triggering myself to be creative; it’s like this cycle of inspiration. I have always been interested in music videos and watching films – so it came naturally.
How did it feel when Dr. Dre picked up on “Flowers”?
That was sick! He is a legend – one of the biggest legends ever. So yeah, I really didn’t expect that, but I am happy that it happened. It didn’t feel real to be honest with you, I was just chilling at home, it was a normal day… and then out of nowhere I find out that Dr. Dre has put me on his playlist.
Talk us through your new track, “Lock My Door”.
“Lock My Door” is my first big vocal project – I started doing my own vocals in October. Before then I was mainly working as a DJ and producing stuff for other vocalists, now I am doing my own production and writing my own lyrics which I am really excited about – it feels like a new chapter.
Can you tell us about your creative process, in terms of your music videos?
The video we made for “Lock My Door” was created in quite an organic way, we just hired a camera and filmed for one and a half days with no preparation. We just freestyled and filmed things that interested us. That is how I make my music too, when I feel like making music I make music, when I feel like making a video I make a video, we do whatever comes our way.
Brilliant. Moving on slightly, what are your thoughts on the representation of black artists in Holland?
More and more, they are becoming commercial. There is still a big difference between commercial and underground hip hop – but most of these artists are black. That is a good thing because five years ago there wasn’t any black music on the radio. Black artists are getting into radio and getting a lot of views and streams online, and the mainstream radio companies cannot deny our talent anymore.
You have a really fresh outlook and a sense of not holding back. Is this something you’re keen to transmit to other people?
This is something that I recognise in myself, especially when I started with vocals, I just do what I want and I don’t overthink. I just want to grow and develop myself. I have no self-doubt, and I don’t hold back, I just try everything. My advice is to never give up; you just have to keep on knocking on doors until they get answered. I love the fact that I can still progress as I am young – I have got nothing to lose and that is why I do all of this.
Finally, what does the summer hold for Joshua J?
I have been making a lot of music; since October-January I have made 80 demos, so we have enough to fill the whole year with music. I am looking forward to releasing my EP, and have a few festivals confirmed in Holland, including Mystery Land and 7 Sunday. And I collaborated with A.I Music, which was our first international project…