For the new readers here, I want to start by welcoming you to an adventure that you may not have experienced via a magazine. Prepare to read longer conversations designed to elicit positive emotion, light you up, inspire you and turn-on a portion of your brain that’s good for you. Yes, that’s right BLAG is a feel good prescription disguised as a magazine. And this interview with JAWNY will do just that.
First however, a little story.
I started BLAG with my twin Sarah many years ago because we wanted more excitement in our lives. We loved art, fashion, music and culture. We were at Art School, funding it with a job each at the local Pizza restaurant. I’d be washing dishes having dough thrown at me. Some nights I’d be doused in flour while cooking waking me from my dreams of a life elsewhere.
Fast forward a year, Sarah and I had moved to London. Skip forward a bit more and we’ve turned BLAG into an international glossy magazine. Hit that button again and we’ve got a website and our own label. Importantly we’ve taken kids with dreams and given them a platform to speak. We’ve given them a place to express themselves and to be forward motion. We’ve encouraged, given time to, noticed and listened to them.
It’s with BLAG we present artists we believe have big futures ahead of them. We give them some pretty hefty real estate in terms of time, space and a platform to express themselves unedited. We believe we’ve been very on-the-money with our predictions. An example? We gave Questlove his first magazine cover. Met Pharrell Williams in 2000 and soon Chad Hugo in London later that year. We championed them from that day on. Sarah and I gave André and 50 Cent covers on the eve’s of Hey Ya and In Da Club. Other artists we’ve supported include Andrew Garfield, James McAvoy, Joey Badass and much more. You’ll literally read the future in those interviews and we guarantee you’ll get goosebumps.
Each interview reads as a script. We take you into the room with us, welcome you in and ask you to buckle up for the ride.
You may wonder why there are such ramblings prior to my long, honest and funny conversation. Well, there’s method to my madness. You see, we heard JAWNY a while ago. We knew there was something very special about him. When we decided to create our comeback issue, we decided we had to give him a feature. Not only that, his first U.K. cover. Why? Because he has that thing there are no words for that his BLAG cover and feature alumni share.
So I sent a message and almost before I’d hit send JAWNY and his team said yes.
Then as you’ll read below, JAWNY hunted BLAG out for our NERD cover when he was a teenager. He’d worked in a pizza place too and so there was some cosmic creative timing in place.
JAWNY and I talked for over an hour barely breaking the smiles for a real, non-polished story for you. With this feature you’ll take a hero’s journey. You’ll make stops for food, you’ll dive into songwriting. You’ll flow into creating mode. Get tattoos and experience the vibe of live shows and touring with a twist before returning home feeling good.
Everyone meet JAWNY…
Sally: So in the early days, you’d always imagine yourself performing to music. Can you pick a track and describe your version, the crowd and the place when you imagined being on stage?
JAWNY: Oh, man. Yeah. I think the reason why I said that and I said it in a couple different interviews was because ever since I [was] a kid, you know, you normally have an idea of what you want to do. And then reality kind of kicks in, right? Like, everybody wants to be a doctor or an astronaut or a rock star or whatever. And then you you get up to a middle school or high school, and then your guidance counsellor starts telling you to limit your expectations and pick something a little more realistic. Well, ever since I was a kid, my earliest memory is any time there’s ever been music on in the car or out of my little Walkman or my mom was playing something in the house, I’d always try to imagine myself performing it for a crowd, which was weird because as a kid I was super shy and definitely scared of doing anything in front of a crowd.
My mom used to make me try to do plays and stuff and I would cry out of fear, stage fright and never go on stage. But that’s my earliest memory. And then that kind of never really went away and never shook away. Leading all the way up until I did get to high school… Then I was told to limit my expectations, obviously, and I tried to go to college for nursing and it didn’t really work out. Music did, thank god. But this is a long winded answer to say, I don’t know if it’s possible to really say like I can’t picture like a place or of thing. It’s just it’s more the feeling. It’s like when I would listen to the song, I would try to feel like I was performing in my chest. Like as a kid in the back of the car, I would just feel like that goosebump feeling you’d get if there was an audience of people screaming. And then fast forward to today when I actually do go on tour and when I do play shows now, I do get that goosebump feeling like a drug when people are cheering or there’s like a roar from the crowd, like it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stick up. So it’s more of a feeling, it’s less, like visual. So it’s not like I’m sitting there like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m playing at this stadium and there’s all these people. It just it’s a feeling that I couldn’t explain, even when I was a kid, I didn’t even really necessarily know what that feeling was. I started to decipher it a little more as I got older.