Because he had so much to say. I could have written another article on just him. Read on.- V
V: So first of all, how was the concert last night? You’ve made a guest appearance and it pleasantly surprised a lot of people. Tell me about it.
J: The energy was great. They were you know, well received as soon as we walked out. For me the highlight was being introduced by Cecilia Oebanda. I would touch that in addition to all the work that she does, she has time listening to music. And she was singing “Lucky” as she introduced me and I was just so touched by that. To know that whatever love and light I’m putting into music is being heard by those who (in my case) in my opinion need it the most, you know?.
So she’s sharing that with her girls. Anyway, great introduction…I went out singing a few lines from “I’m Yours” but had the chance to just share with the audience on topic of human trafficking, exportation, etc. hopefully to inspire young boys to behave.
V: Yeah, you talked about that. You talked about the buying and selling, and you’re like “If you know you’re creating a demand, because of that people are doing this still.” Do you feel like a lot of people are cut-off from that reality?
J: Yeah well because we’re all in our own bedrooms, minds, bones like you don’t feel like you’re causing anything, any problems. You think you’re doing it for your own (you know) desires or whatever. So it’s hard to think about what’s happening on the other end the same as consumers, you know?
V: Now music as a medium, tell me about it. How do you plan to use your art to help people?
J: Music is a powerful tool. It’s a powerful means to unite people. Political and geographical borders just melt away when music comes on. You can hold the person’s hand next to you and have a great time… So if you can take that light, if you can take that miracle that that is and just sprinkle it over a topic like human trafficking.
V: How was it growing up? Was there anyone who influenced you to be more aware of world issues or…
J: I guess I mean I’m sure it’s a perfect storm of whatever I was listening to. You know, I love Bob Dylan and in my sense he was an advocate. He would be on the steps of city hall playing and he would be marching in the civil rights parade and so I admire that aspect of what a musician can do like what John Lennon can do with his voice. He could give you a pop song but he could also infuse mantras into it like George Harrison. So I think that got into my work as well just being an adventurer and also being given the gift of music and travel, I felt well I can’t just keep this all to myself. You know?
There’s a reason I’m being invited to this different towns and cities and cultures, what is that reason? I’m still trying to figure it out but it create this sense of awareness, that keeps me grateful and trying to just constantly relate to people on a human level. Not as separate like I’m American you’re Filipino not like that. We’re humans and what can we do as humans to heal and help each other and just enjoy life!
V: When it comes to say the creative community or other artists like yourself, how important is the role in spreading the word?
J: It’s huge. As a huge artist, you’re probably going to have a subject that’s near and dear to them. Whether it’s helping animals and finding homes or helping humans find homes. I think it’s important for every musician to take what it is they believe in and fuse it with their gift of melody which transcends language itself.
I can get up on stage and give a speech but when I start singing, it creates a completely different reaction. I think musicians have this power to, but it has to be delicately woven.
V: Now what other tips can you give to other artists and basically these tips can inspire them to use their art to help other people?
J: Well art is a gift. Whether you’re a painter or a poet… musician, you’ve been given a certain skill to wow your family or your community or the world at large. So it’s important you really honor that and share it as much as you can to the best of your ability and then whatever it is that makes you uniquely human.
Like I said whether it is you love to help animals or humans or feed the world, it’s important that you take that which is uniquely human with that divine gift of your art and put those things together for the world to see as a light, that they will become attracted to it and the entire world might become attracted to one’s persons art.
I don’t think it’s about world domination. It’s about being a pillar of light that will hold up a certain amount of space for people to feel sheltered and loved under.
And if there’s enough artists out there being pillars of light, then the world can stay illuminated and protected and sheltered and loved so that they can continue to help other people and the more light there is, the more we can see each other and see our purpose here which I don’t know what our purpose is here but I think happiness plays a huge role in that alley.
V: I actually we had a conversation with Cecilia a few days ago and one of the things we talked about was how she uses music and art as well to help heal the victims. So it’s also not only important for the awareness but also really great to help them heal and tackle their issues. Do you ever feel like that’s something you can incorporate in your future plans?
J: That’d be cool! Yeah I mean I credit my music teachers for making me who I am and I always credit music for healing the wounds that continue to open up as we go through life, you know, so I’m touched to know that people will do that and I’ll consider that.