Jafaris: “Whatever I put into music, I find I often get out”

by James Hendicott

As a rapper who’s not that into performing live, Jafaris – Percy Chamburuka – is more suited than most to creatively dealing with the impacts of the coronavirus, and he’s been making the most of his time in following up his hit 2019 album ‘Stride’ with some shorter offerings.

Latest EP ‘I Love You, But I’m In A Bad Mood’ is every bit as heavy on the emotional content as it’s title might suggest. Based on a break up with his long-term girlfriend, Jafaris lets his emotions flow, leaving him with mixed feelings about the release that he says ia nonetheless a part of him.

“It was part of the process of the break up, coming to that decision and then the aftermath, and how the situation worked, really,” he says of the music, which combines elements of hip-hop, pop, soul and light jazz. “I didn’t want to make it into an EP really, but it came out because that’s what was inside me, so that’s the way it went.”

“I had way more songs in this vein, maybe two albums worth, but these songs are the ones that expressed exactly how I felt the most. I didn’t want the songs to go to waste, so it’s my journey, I guess.

“I was with this girl for a very long time, and she was my first girlfriend really, and she’s an artist herself so she was kind of around for some of the process of making the tracks. I played her some of the songs so she’s aware before it comes out, and she’s supportive of it.”

The decision to release the EP and then immediately follow it with an unrelated single, in fact, is part of Jafaris’ ‘moving on’ from the break up that he’s based his EP on.

“I was looking forward to doing this one live,” he says, “which is strange as I’m not that into the live thing really. I’m very into the visual side of things, and this did give me a lot of time to focus on the visuals and make sure I get that right.”

“For me, music is very therapeutic, I don’t sit and think about when I’m going to write, or what it’s going to be about, or how it comes across. I just listen to music and write, then I listen back and assess whether I mean what I’m saying, and if I like how I delivered it, and whether it makes sense, and so on. I don’t really think about the balance of vocals and rap, stuff like that.”

“I write in Notes on my phone, and there are about 2000 notes. It’s an everyday thing, so there’s a lot of music, I write everywhere, on the bus going to work, even sometimes I step aside amongst friends and I get an idea and go off to write down what’s on my mind. It’s just an ‘everywhere’ thing.”

“I feel like whatever I put into music I find I often get out. If I write a lot of positive stuff or a lot of negative stuff it impacts on what comes back to me.”

“I was meant to drop so much music this year, but we just did whatever felt right after things changed,” he continues.

“The single is almost the aftermath of the EP, trying to find new love and move on, but still kind of feeling like a piece of me is still there, so whatever comes next has to match it or do better, if you know what I mean. That’s kind of where it’s coming from. It’s weird, I feel like I always have to capture a timestamp of where I’m at. In the future, I want to be able to look back and understand what I was doing and how I felt.”

Productivity, then, is off the charts. While Jafaris has his EP and single on the market right now, expect plenty more around the corner.

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