Hailing from London, but originally from rural Somerset, Jolliff Seville is one of the most exciting black trans artists in the UK. With emotional lyrics and a tender voice, Seville explores his experiences with love, trauma and gender. We had the opportunity to chat to Jolliff (JS) about his new single ‘Hectic Glow’ and much more!
OSR: If you didn’t become a musician, what would you be doing right now?
JS: Oh man, for a while I wanted to go to divinity school and become a monk. I had sent applications to theology schools and everything- but times change.
OSR: Has being transgender affected your acceptance into the music world?
JS: You know, in music people really haven’t bothered me about it- its everywhere else where it is hard. I find that when my work goes before me, people are much more interested in what I do than what my gender is. I’m quite lucky in that I found a lot queer artists to collaborate with right at the beginning of my career, Gabriel Swarbrick and COMANAVAGO being the honourable mentions. So, I am very comfortable to express my gender honestly in the scene.
OSR: What is the weirdest or funniest question you’ve ever been asked in an interview?
JS: I did an interview with this guy where he told me upfront that he had never spoken to a trans person before, proceeding like I was literally an alien. All his questions were super weird and he was obsessed with who I had sex with and how. Gross.
OSR: Which musician would you like to collaborate with?
JS: Probably a little weird, but my dream collaboration is with Dirty Dike and Mitski. That would be crazy. I also think me and Vivaldi would vibe hard.
OSR: What do you want people to take away from your songs?
JS: I think I just want people to feel like they’re understood. Feelings that they may never have articulated or acknowledged. I just want them to feel seen. But also I want to send a message that you’re not limited to a specific sound because you fit in a particular demographic- I can’t even tell you how many times producers and A&R people have told me that I need to start making RnB or start rapping or whatever. It was so frustrating when I was coming up. They see me and they think they know what I’m about. I just want to make whatever I want, no restrictions, and I want other people to feel that way too.
OSR: If you can have your fans remember one thing about you, what would it be?
JS: Oh wow, probably that I have an Aquarius moon, synaesthesia and a peanut allergy.
OSR: Have you ever dealt with performance anxiety?
JS: Yes!! I am soooo nervous before shows I can’t stand still. It’s awful, but when I start singing, it just leaves me completely.
OSR: Is there a back story to ‘Hectic Glow’?
JS: I grew up in an extremely conservative religious community, so discovering my queerness was such a painful journey. Hectic Glow is really about me having to face my queerness full in the face for the first time. I remember being at my first girlfriend’s house and looking at her and just bursting into tears with how overwhelming my queer shame was. I knew I couldn’t go back to pretending to be straight, and I could not forgive myself for failing to hold this inside of me. I started writing ‘Hectic Glow’ the next day.
OSR: Has your music brought you solace or is it still a work in progress?
JS: I’m still working on it but it helps. Then again, so does a lot of weed and sertraline.
OSR: If you had one message to give to your fans, what would it be?
JS: If you are struggling, speak to a professional. Drink water, moisturise and eat the rich.