The New York-based multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter’s latest release channels his diverse skills to bring us a fresh and nostalgic project.
Ozzy Osbourne once said, “I'm into rock 'n' roll because rock 'n' roll, to me, means freedom.” JShell would probably agree; the New York-based singer-songwriter approaches his music with a curious energy that seems like he’s having fun. JShell, who counts acts such as Genesis, Rush, Queen, The Beatles, and Iron Maiden (among others) as key influences to his music, approaches his projects with creativity and passion that could only come from an artist who loves what they do.
His latest project, an audio and visual rock album titled “In My Head,” further underscores his passion. Composed of fifteen tracks, “In My Head” is an immersive project in which JShell arranged himself while playing all the drums, bass guitar, and keyboards while contributing heavily to other areas. Each track will have an accompanying video, and further underlining his artistic genius and versatility, each video was written, produced, and directed by JShell himself.
“You Do You” is a deliciously exciting taste of what’s to come for 'In My Head.' Over piano-backed instrumentals backed with an infectiously catchy electric guitar performance courtesy of Steve Hackett, JShell spits life wisdom in a carefree, rock-and-roll way that only he can (“No regrets but it’s true / Hard to say but it’s true / You Do you”). Expertly mastered by Grammy Award-winning Randy Merrill of Sterling Sound, “You do you” is JShell at his best: focused, completely in sync with Merill, and in the groove.
Sometimes, things don’t work out how we want them to in relationships and life. Although it might hurt, there’s no shame in letting go and doing what’s best for you. Sometimes, you have to do you. Tap in and stream “You Do You” Ft. Steve Hackett is available on January 29th, and keep an eye out for 'In My Head' on February 14th.
Welcome to BuzzMusic JShell. We have to say we loved “You Do You” it felt nostalgic in all the right ways, and you and Steve absolutely killed it. We have to ask, what was the inspiration behind “You do You,” and how did you know you wanted Steve on this track in particular?
Thank you, and yes, I agree; Steve absolutely killed it. The song is actually one of a few tracks on the album about a relationship ending and the participants going their separate ways, which I'm guessing most people have experience with. Most of the album is high-energy rock, so I was looking to do a melancholy thing to balance it out that would incorporate sounds reminiscent of '70s prog rock, especially those of my favorite band Genesis. I had given Steve - who I have come to know as one of the nicest and most gracious people I have ever met - a choice of a few tracks to do his thing, and he chose "You Do You," which led me to really embrace the prog-rock sounds on the track.
So your audio-visual album 'In My Head' drops on February 14th (was that intentional?). How does it feel seeing this project come to life, and what was your favorite part about making it come to life?
It was not intentional, but I did want to release it in the early months of the year when people, in theory, have more time to pay attention after the holidays. Seeing this project come to life feels like I built a house. It's extremely gratifying as it's the most work I have ever done on anything, and it took a lot of time. In addition to having made it to the end of a journey where I had to put one foot in front of the other and believe it would get done, my favorite part about making 'In My Head' is a combination of having people very close to me be a part of the project and believing that I did my father, who passed away in 2015, proud.
So you’re based in New York, which obviously has a rich musical history. How has the city influenced your growth and identity as an artist?
I cannot emphasize enough the effect living in New York has had on my growth and identity as an artist. For example, I have two instrumentals on the album, 'Big Apple Boogie' and 'Big Apple Boogie (Reprise).' With these tracks, I wanted to convey the energy I feel while walking around New York City. Also, when you live in New York City, there is sensory overload everywhere you go, so you have to stay sharp, and as a result, my mind is constantly working. This was extremely helpful as walking to and from the studio from where I live, I would constantly get musical and lyrical ideas, including the album title!
What kind of message or feeling do you want fans to take away from your music?
Simply put, I want fans to know that the music I am putting out is never boring. It's high energy with a lot going on, and I'm hoping fans can appreciate that there isn't a single note or beat wasted. Everything you hear is designed to give you a kick in your step.
What’s next for JShell? Obviously, having your album rollout is huge. Are there any other goals you want to achieve in 2023?
I want what everyone wants: fortune and glory!! But the main goal is I want the album to do well enough that it makes sense to do another.