Sam: So man, I’d love to hear about your upbringing. Was music a part of your life growing up? What led you to diving into music?
JELEEL!: I’m Nigerian, so my family came from Nigeria. Music was always playing. My parents would play Afrobeats and stuff like that, so it was just always around me. It’s not that I did music early on, it was just always around me. There was one day though, I had to be like 6 years old and there was this commercial and there was this kid who was playing with a blanket, but the melody and the video were so mesmerizing…I would just sing that melody and I would be in my own world. I think that moment was when I first experienced music like that.
Sam: So with that, tell me about the moment you decided to pursue music and take it seriously?
JELEEL!: I just felt it! Once I made my first song, I experienced this feeling that I had been trying to feel for so long. Once I felt that, it felt like my heart opened up. I graduated college 2 years later and went straight to LA. I booked that one way flight and never looked back. Man I just felt it immediately.
Sam: Okay, so in that vein, have there been people in your life who were skeptical of this dream you had and then on the other side of that coin, were there people who were early supporters?
JELEEL!: Of course! There were people on both sides, but I didn’t care. I just told myself that I was going to do this and make this happen. Even though the music wasn’t that great in the beginning, I just didn’t care…I felt it. There are always going to be people who don’t support but I’ve always been the underdog as a kid with everything…the most doubted…I’m still doubted, but I just don’t care.
Sam: I love that. Who are some people who have helped you out on this journey in an impactful way?
JELEEL!: I would obviously say my sister. She’s always showing love. Definitely my roommate and bro who does a lot of my creative direction. Jamie, my manager, Dylan my manager. And honestly, God as well! He’s the greatest. Especially in LA, God just tells me where to go and how my mindset should be. There are a lot of people though, I’m blessed.
Sam: When was your first little Win? A moment that helped motivated you to say, “wow, I really can do this.”?
JELEEL!: I would say when I first started screaming my name and ripping my shirt. The moment I started putting it altogether, people started paying attention. I mean you can have the music, but what are you going to do to market it? So I started singing JELEEL in my songs and making videos and posting it. So the thought was, “what if I make videos to my songs and rip my shirt off and just scream JELEEL.” And it just quickly became my thing. That’s how it started.
Sam: How have you been with all of the well deserved yet sudden fame?
JELEEL!: I feel it’s about time! You know when you put in work for so long and you’re just like finally, its happening. That’s been my main thought about it all.
Sam: What’s next for you? What are you excited for and working on? What are some goals?
JELEEL!: Music wise I want to keep dropping singles. I want to keep proving to people and myself that I can make a change in the world and have fun with it. I just want to bring fun back. My mission isn’t to be the biggest artist in the world or make money, I just want to help people with my music and make an impact. I want to outdo myself every day but still have fun at the same time. As for shows..same thing. The MMA..same thing. Im not in a rush. I just want to master everything and be great at what I’m doing while taking my time. I didn’t know I’d be here but this is what God destined and now I’m just trying to share this energy.