“Cause I’m hooked on you and I need my fix tonight.” Took the words right out of our mouths, Jimmy. With catchy lyrics, a sultry voice, and looks to match, it’s no wonder South Africans are addicted to alternate pop sensation, Jimmy Nevis. So of course, when the opportunity for an interview came along, I jumped at the chance.
JN: It was released last year; it was produced and written by myself – most of the songs on there. I think it’s a good reflection of who I am and the things I represent. It’s a pop album, and there’s just different types of genres in there as well; I have drum and bass on the album, I have alternative rock, and there’s a bit of old school break beats, there’s a bit of everything and I feel like that’s a good reflection of my personality.
What is your favourite song on the album and why?
It would probably have to be ‘Balloon’. It was one of the last songs I recorded on the album, and I think it’s a great song that kind of shows where I’m going in terms of my music for the future. It’s a beautiful piece, I feel like it should be hanging in an art gallery.
You were 19 when you had your “big break”. How did you handle being so young and having your career blow up at the same time?
I think at a stage I was so desperate to put something out there that as soon as I started going I didn’t look back. I didn’t ever doubt myself, since ‘Elephant Shoes’ came out it was all about taking control and really running with it. I also have an amazing support system. I didn’t get here all by myself, first and foremost through God’s help, he has just been incredible blessing me with so many opportunities. But besides that my family has just had my back since the beginning. The team that I work with, they have just been incredible.
What’s it like having the best of both worlds, being a normal UCT student as well as a famous artist, songwriter and producer?
It’s awesome you know, my friends sometimes call me Hannah Montana, which is very annoying, please don’t ever call me that. It’s really great. It’s difficult, especially when you’re gigging and doing shoots and promo tours on varsity days when you have lectures and things and you have to catch up on work, and I’m in my final year so it’s getting tough, it’s getting real now. But at the same time it’s such a blessing, it keeps me humble. I often forget about the fame thing until somebody comes up to me and asks me for a picture or something.
I have heard many people referring to you as South Africa’s Bruno Mars, but how would you describe your music style?
I think it’s eclectic first of all. I think it’s edgy. It’s intelligent and it’s original.
What do you use as inspiration when writing music?
Anything and everything. I don’t really look for it; I rather wait for inspiration to come. For me it’s all about doing things in the most natural way possible. I think it’s about tapping into that creative spot, you know, so I’m feeling this way, and this is what happened, and then write that down. As apposed to sitting down and being like, “okay I’m going to write a song now, let’s look for inspiration”, it’s not like that.
Do you remember the first song you ever wrote?
I do. I’ve been writing since primary school already, but I used to have an issue with finishing songs. I never used to finish the songs, it would just be a verse and a chorus and that’s it. But my first song that I finished was in grade 8 or 9, and it’s the cheesiest song in the world. It sounds like it could have been in High School Musical. I was actually in a band, and we called ourselves “Elastic Band”.
What album are you listening right now?
Miguel – Kaleidoscope Dream.
3 things you can never leave home without?
My cell phone, my wallet and my car keys.
What do you think is the most striking thing about a girl?
I think confidence. You can be really pretty but if you don’t wear confidence its kind of like, what exactly are you doing here? I think confidence is a huge part of attracting the male species. A girl who has confidence shows you that she’s not there to please anybody, she believes in herself and she’s there to do her thing. I think that’s really cool.
Biggest turn off?
Smoking! Can’t deal.
5 things you would do if money was no object
I would have a room in my house, and everything in this room would be made out of food. I’d have like a chocolate sofa, so I could eat it while I’m watching T.V. and then I’d have like a pizza bed. I would also buy a farm, I really want to live on a farm one day, I think it’s really cool. I think I would give it [money] to certain charities. I think a lot of focus is taken off South Africa, we still have poverty here. I would invest in skills training and development as well as educational training for everybody.
Complete the sentence:
My life would be incomplete without…
Music, to me, means…
My day is made when…
I get to see the people that I love the most.
What can we expect from you in the next few years?
I’ll be doing everything. I feel like we’ve started and we have so far to go. I’m hoping to take it to the international industry this year, we have signed a contract, but you know, you put a song out there and you don’t know how it’s going to go. So I’m hoping things are going to go well there, if it doesn’t, we try again. I think also getting involved in charity. Later on in life I’d really like to get more political. I feel like a lot of the times certain muso’s are kind of afraid to do or say certain things. I think it’s important, especially in this day and age that we talk about real things that are happening in our society; we talk about rape, and we talk about abuse and sexual assault.