O BOY! Interview: Jean-Luc, The Confident Storyteller Of New York City

He's what NYC needs.

To say that Jean-Luc is talented is the biggest understatement you could express. Not only is he making waves in the music scene of New York City, he is also heavily involved in modeling and fashion.

Seeking inspiration from downtown raves and the culture surrounding SoHo, Jean-Luc discovered his passion. Emulating those wells of inspiration, his sound could be characterized as something you need to move your feet to, while still maintaining that intimate feel you can only get from R&B.

With his latest music video, ‘Would You Leave?’, you’ll see exactly the kind of vibe Jean-Luc has to offer. Not only is it insanely different, it’s something we totally dig.

In this interview we discuss the fashion that inspires Jean-Luc, his mood board, as well as some of his first releases as a music artist.

Could you introduce yourself?

Whaddup whaddup!! I’m Jean-Luc, a pop artist and film producer from New York.

We've been dancing our asses off to 'Would You Leave?'! What's the story behind the track and music video?

So happy you guys have been bumping it! ‘Would You Leave?’ came about when my producer Scuba Moose, the mastermind himself sent me the beat. He’s the main producer on my album and it was a totally different sound than our other tracks. It just had this crazy 80s billie jean bass line but sounded so new and hip hop.

I started thinking of shit, sent it to some friends and went to the studio. The first line that came out was the hook, ‘would you leave me when the summer comes?’. It sounded so hard. It was originally about a break up but as I started really writing it, it gave me this whole idea about fame and the anxiety of it leaving you. As an artist I spend all my time, my whole life just trying to get people to like my shit so that it can go viral and I become famous. But when I do become famous, is it gonna last forever? The song really is about the anxiety of losing that thing you love most.

For the music video I really wanted to bring that to life and do an ode to 80s pop. My favorite artists are Prince, Madonna, George Michael, and Michael Jackson of course. The goal was to make an 80s version of a TMZ video. In middle school there was one summer when I was grounded and on the TV were all these shows of Britney, Paris, Lindsay getting drunk and wyling out. It looked so lit, but it made me think of the craziness of being a celebrity. People are so obsessed with this dream but you can really end up losing your mind. I wanted to make something to say don’t chase this fame, the lights and all that. It’s all really just a fantasy.

My director, Carina Allen was a friend of a friend who had these dope photos and videos on Instagram. I had never even met her but we linked once and she was down work! We directed it with our DP Bao who has these crazy 80s neon colors in all of her work. Totally matched the vibe I was going for. Installation Brooklyn, this sick vintage store had these dope 80s pieces. Carina and Alex, my film producer styled everyone in these 80s/2000s trash looks which really turned up the whole video. We had like three shooters, shout out to Yohan, Rony and Carl. It really felt like a movie on set. The good parts at least!

How do you feel like you've grown as an artist since you released your hit, 'Drunk'? What do you feel has changed?

Damn, drunk is a throwback! It really was the beginning of me realizing my sound and what I wanted to talk about in my music. The hook for that song is ‘I kill for the fashion’, this whole idea of people literally killing themselves to be cool. It was the beginning of all these songs, videos and concepts that would be a part of my album ‘American Fantasy’. Making things to reflect how it is being young and following your dream in this clout era.

As far as what’s changed, I’ve just grown so much more into my ideas. Looking back at two years ago, the concepts are the same but I’ve definitely been able to build upon everything and figure out exactly what I want to say and how to say it.

Could you walk us through the phases that stand out the most in regards to your discovery of your current style and sound?

My style and sound are constantly evolving . Right now, style wise I’m really inspired by the idea of classic American pop icons. Two years ago when I had put out ‘Drunk’ and the ‘FMLYD’ video I got really into references like Larry Clark ‘Kids’, John Hughes 80s movies, Rebel Without A Cause, early MTV. Taking those classic looks and giving it some swag, hip hop energy.

Sound wise my music has always come from being a fan of all the cool sounds that have been coming out. I grew up with hip hop and really like the thumping 808, melodic trap sound it has now. I’m so inspired by that sound but when I started getting into music a couple years ago, I was super into EDM. I would go out to these shows, parties, raves and there was this insane energy. People would just go out and move, make these dance circles where you’d meet people and you’d have the night of your life. I loved how people would go to these shows to find themselves and this sense of happiness.

The electronic music is really where I try to bring that sense of euphoria people can lose themselves to. But whether it’s Michael and Madonna, Britney, Usher, JT, I love pop. So I really try to combine that hip hop swag, sexy R&B and electronic dreaminess into this sound that feels really big and pop. Making music that sounds like it could be everywhere.

We're so ready for your debut project 'American Fantasy' to drop this year! What are you most excited about in regard to this release?

I’m glad you’re excited! I’m so excited to finally drop this project. It was supposed to drop last year in September but it’s just gotten pushed and pushed back. I’m so happy it did because I’ve been able to push all the musical and conceptual ideas. I’m pumped to put out a project that’s cohesive and shows the world that this me as an artist and what I want to say.

I really hope that it will create a conversation around fame culture, social media likes, and obsession. This album is really about inspiring people to say fuck that shit. To help a kid say I’m dope as shit and have 80 followers! Let’s just make a culture that’s about making art and being collaborative with other people, not caring about if they’re in your social media class. It’s such a toxic environment. You either try so hard to get it and realize this hasn’t made you happy or you’ll spend your whole time not being happy because you aren’t the perfect person you see on Instagram. It’s so real, super real how much it’s affected people. Young kids who spend their time looking at these people that have everything when they already have it all.

We've noticed that you have some sick style! Seemingly from your everyday to your high production short film music videos! Can you tell us what attracts you to the fashion you wear? How does your love of fashion and color influence your sound? Do you believe they play off of each other?

I’ve always been into fashion. When I was a little kid my mom would always tell me to sew because she could tell I was really into clothes. I would always say boys don’t sew clothes or whatever, some shitty masculinity thing that made me never want to go after it. It’s funny because here I am and it’s such a big part of what I do.

At the moment I’m really at this Anti-Hypebeast point in my life. As much I’m inspired by these designers, Alessandro Michelle & Gucci, Hedi Slimane, Raf and everything he’s done with Calvin, right now I’m really just into classic pieces of clothing. Making a look that feels like a certain era but timeless. Rather than label hunt I’ll just go to a vintage store, get silk disco shirts, vintage 90s t’s, a bunch of old denim and throw it on with rock star boots and a cowboy belt. And chains!! A lot of chains.

I have this whole mood board for the merch collection I’m doing for the American Fantasy album and it’s just a feed of pop icons. P Diddy wearing all black with a shit ton of gold chains. James Dean with just a white T, blue jeans. Johnny Depp and the long hair leather jacket look. Leo with the Romeo + Juliet Hawaiian shirt. Lenny Kravitz. I love taking a look at these moments and putting my own spin on it. Each music video is me taking those references and fitting them to the vibe of the song.

What makes you happy?

I'm a Christian so God is what ultimately brings me happiness. Knowing that although it gets hard, I’m doing all of this cause it’s my purpose and I’m here to help people break out of that box they’re in. Giving people the confidence to go after their dreams and do whatever they want to be in this world.

Other than that, my family and my friends. I have such an amazing group of people in my life that I can go to for anything. It’s a blessing to have people that support you and will always hold you down. I love being around people that are all trying to do their thing. To change the culture, the music and the way people think about themselves and other people. I’m just happy to be living my life and my dream.

Any closing comments?

God is love! Do what you want in this world, we only have one time here. Go after your dreams, your fantasies and the miracles you wanna see in your life. Help people, love people and make the world a better place.