A Chat With Jolliff Seville (24.05.2020)

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.

Jolliff Seville

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.

Thanks to Jolliff Seville for chatting with us! You can find more about him on his Twitter, Spotify and Instagram.

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