From London’s Walthamstow E17, to Brazil’s Rio de Janerio, Jesuton’s musical journey has become as rare as her musical style. Taking the R’N’B genre, and combining it with elements of Rock, and other music genres close to her heart, Jesuton’s style has taken Brazil by storm, her powerful, affecting voice quickly captured the attention of the city, something of which became very apparent when crowds would gather around her spontaneous street performances, performances that help catapulted her to the big screen. Five years later Jeuston is ready to let loose self-penned works, and Whisprmaze caught up with her to inquire about her remarkable journey thus far.
Your name being one of the most important things anybody will have, what, if anything, does Jeuston mean?
It’s a Nigerian name, and it means “child of Jesus.”
And how best would Jeuston describe your musical sound?
My sound is a fusion of different sounds that speak of the music genres that I have always enjoyed, music genres that sat in my sub-conscious for a long time, such as R’N’B and heavy Rock and Indie Rock ‘n’ Roll, but essentially it was growing up with the R’N’B that initially defined my sound- Toni Braxton, Brownstone, artists like that, and it always dawned on me that there was no conversation between the two genres, at all, and attending university, being exposed to other genres like World Music, and more intricate guitar notes from the likes of Elliot Smith, who just poured his heart out through his music, that was the connection for me, it was how could I bring these two genres, that I love together. And if you look at R ’n’ B in the last ten years, it’s this coming together with totally opposite genres that are the boundaries I like pushing.
Was it a natural progression, was it ‘how do I be unique, or was it a bit of both?
The thing for me is, I’d never set out to become a recording artist, I always say it was something that came naturally, it took me a while to understand, considering my discourse at university with the intention of excelling in that particular field, and with respects of the whole music thing, getting into the music business like the demos, and the studio. and sending material off to labels, I didn’t know how to do any of that, not to mention Daddy was a traditionalist, in the sense it was important to get a good education, so coming from that mind set, to do music the way I do was defiantly a natural progression, in a way it came upon me when my focus was elsewhere.
I know, not exactly your everyday combination, as a curious person, okay it’s not a well-known area of study, but I think most of us have an interest in knowing how humans work, you study genetics and you understand how fascinating it is to fathom how that works, and anthropology, understanding why and how human beings differ in different societies, and doing that, when studying anthropology and genetics one is advised to study Latin American regions simply because of their richness and diversity, thus I ended up in Brazil, and that’s how I became a resident in the region, I done a dissertation on psychedelic drug use in the Amazon, I lived in Peru for a year, and throughout all this time I knew I wanted to live in Latin America, it connected to me, the culture, the sounds, the science, the music, even when I lived in London and done the whole working thing I knew because of living in a region where there is so much culture, and that innate passion for life that Latin America was for me.
How is life, and essentially music in Rio?
Rio is like this crazy mixture of cultures, it’s mad, it really is, and it’s beautiful, really beautiful, its chaos, chaos in the best and worst of ways, it’s kind of disorganised, everybody shows up late and it’s no problem, but then also that kind of fluidity is really good for people because there’s always so much going on noted as so, and also you have this feeling that everything’s possible, just because things are not so regimental, generally speaking Rio is a place where they don’t follow the ‘rules’, you kind of have this mind-set where if there is anything you want to do, then there’s probably somebody who can help you out.
How has Rio received your take on your musical genre?
My place here is kind of strange, I’m an honorary Brazilian, and because there are not many British people living here, it’s not a common thing for a British person wanting to come to Rio and live here, and have a strong impact on the musical community. My story here started out singing on the street, and very quickly going from being completely unknown, to being on all of the T.V. channels, and the popular shows, in a’ way overnight recognition. I mean, singing on the street in Rio is like; okay, she’s singing on the street, as opposed to if you were singing on the street in London, where it’s because of your circumstance rather than art for art’s sake, in Rio, singing on the street is part of something common in Brazil, it’s humble and not so much a representation of your circumstance. I did the first album of covers, and then an album of Motown tributes, and just because for the reason that people in Brazil speak Portuguese, and singing universal melodies made it easier for Brazilians to get use to the sound of my voice, especially when R’N’B is pretty much non-existent in Brazil, and after recently putting out some of my music, written by myself with a strong R’N’B style, it’s being really well received which is great.
And what is the predominant musical genre in Brazil?
Well it’s about an amazing mix genres that only exist here in Brazil, meaning you won’t find them outside of Brazil at all, you’ve got Bossa Nova, ForrÓ, Choro, Funk carioca, you have a Portuguese, Afro-Brazilian Hip-Hop scene- Rap Nationalé, with hugely respected artists, then you have Funk Carioca, this genre originating from the favelas, different from the funk from the United States, you have Brazillian Country and Western, all in all a varied mix of genres, all exclusive to Brazil and all well represented.
After being enormously popular in Rio, does performing, back in the UK hold any special significances for you, or is it just a case of what’s on your music itinerary?
Performing back in London is extremely important for me, not just because it was where I came from, but as part of this dream of being an artist, and whether I can be an artist outside of Brazil, and coming back, in respects it makes me kind of nervous to be honest, it’s coming back home to see if the people back home have a connection to my music, it will be curious to see how the British music scene takes to my music.
So the immediate future for Jeuston is what?
I ‘m really excited about coming back to the UK to perform, and releasing the new material as well, I’m also thankful for Whisprmaze having a look at my work, and showing that sensitivity, and curiosity about my story.
It’s an interesting story, frankly an amazing one considering the demographics, and style of music, and generally speaking the talented tenacity that you’ve demonstrated throughout your career.
Again, thank you