In the past few months, I have posted several interviews on #girlbosses doing and achieving remarkable things. But deep down I’ve been itching to write a story about a guy doing equally awesome things. Lucky for me, Jonathan Emile’s name popped up in my email and I had a chance to talk with him.
Jonathan Emile is a rapper straight outta Montreal making his mark on the urban music scene. It ain’t easy, though. As Jonathan disclosed, the urban music scene in Montreal is almost non-existent and “ain’t really poppin’ ” but he continues to do what excites him– making music.
He released his first LP The Lover/Fighter Document in October 2015, which is primarily hip hop tracks with a splash of jazz, reggae, r&b.
As I got to learn more about Jonathan, I found out that he is a deep thinker and his music reflects that. This is evident on his song, “Heaven Help Dem” featuring Kendrick Lamar, which speaks about police brutality.
Sadly, Jonathan’s foray into music was bittersweet. Diagnosed with cancer at the tender age of 18, Jonathan sought comfort in music, but luckily he overcame the disease and started his music career.
To learn find out more about this gifted, resilient rapper, keep reading.
Astrological Sign: Aquarius
Cool quote: “My art, my life is not a style, it’s a philosophy that reflects truth, promotes humanism and social justice.
JONATHAN’S START IN MUSIC
Was music something you always wanted to do?
No, I decided to pursue music when I got sick. I was diagnosed with cancer when I was 18 years old. During that period, I wrote music to get my thoughts and emotions out. I decided that if I got through the treatments and I survived, I would continue to pursue music.
Did you find that music had a healing effect on you?
It truly did have a healing effect on me. While going through treatments, it allowed me to organize my thoughts, deal and with the emotions and stress of going through cancer.
URBAN MUSIC SCENE IN MONTREAL
During our chat, Jonathan mentioned how small the urban music scene is in Montreal. I asked what the process was like for him trying to break in.
What has it been like for you trying to forge a music career in Montreal?
I think times are difficult for most independent artists who are forging their careers when the industry operates as a virtual monopoly online and on radio. This being said, Montreal is a particularly difficult market. To really leave a mark or make an impact, I’ve had to focus my energy outside my home city.
There is incredible creative and social energy in this city [Montreal] and that has always fuelled my music. It’s always amazing to come home and create, then head out to bring that music to different listeners around the world.
MUSIC AS SOCIAL MEDIA
You tweeted, “Music is the original social media.” What did you mean?
In West Africa, to communicate from village to village, they would use drum patterns as a musical tool to communicate – to pass messages and to make announcements.
The drum wasn’t just a tool of communication – it was a tool for all social events. Music was the primary entertainment. It’s not a passive art – it forces the listener to put their body into it and feel the rhythm. It brings people together. And what does social media do? It brings people together!
JONATHAN’S PLANS FOR HIS MUSIC
What would you like to accomplish with your music?
I just wanna keep creating my own music. I want to tour more. I want to collaborate with artists on the come up. My focus was always on making beautiful music and figuring out how to carve out my own lane. So far it’s working.
My next project is called Phantom Pain, which is due out in December 2016.
This interview may have been short, but I learned a lot from Jonathan. Even though at 18 years old he went through a tough time, his will and love of music helped him through it all. Thanks for the chat, Jonathan.
For more information on Jonathan, please visit the following sites: