Certain people you meet in life are always giving back, they’re willing to ‘show up’, work hard, support great causes, lift others and be authentic. Jamz Supernova is a prime example of such.
Famous for her forward-thinking weekly show on BBC Radio 1Xtra, where she als introduced ‘DIY Generation’ to inspire young people and offer entrepreneurial advice and mentorship alongside a slew of creative talents.
She also uses her platform to pioneer and showcase new music talent across the electronic spectrum on her weekly show for Selector Radio for the British Council,
As a club Dj she pushes a harder sound where she weaves between UK Bass, Funky, Grime, Hip Hop, Jersey Club, and Global Sounds. Last summer Jamz graced the stages at Sonar, Parklife, Detonate, El Dorado, Nass, Farr, Lovebox, Beat Herder, Bestival, Ibiza Rocks, Lost & Found and more. (Check out her club mixes here.)
Jamz launched her own new record label ‘Future Bounce‘ in 2018, and has since signed some of the most exciting up and coming artists in her world. Her own club residency of the same name has become the go-to spot in London and Bristol, featuring the cream of under-the-radar talent alongside underground heavyweights such as Brasstracks, Nightwave, Swindle, Zed Bias, Jarreau Vandal, JD Reid, Ozzie, Star Slinger, Roska, Branko, and Joe Hertz.
Jamz, is always keen to share and impart her well-earned wisdom to bring up the youth – from her radio show features to public speaking and discussion panels. We simply had to have her tell us about her own teenage years, and ask for her best advice to offer young people of today.
Here’s what she has to say..
Jamz, first of all, I’ve got to ask, how are you dealing with the pandemic?
I’m really just trying to crack on, not consume too much news and stay connected with family & friends. I’ve definitely had some up & down days, I think the monotony of every week is hard to deal with, I’m used to being on the move with no two weeks the same, but this has forced me to slow down and sit & work at a desk every day. But I’m trying to think about the positives I can take from it, I get to spend loads of time with my puppy Ché we only got him in January so he’s loving have us around 24/7, I get to put a lot of time into my label Future Bounce, I’ve strangely been more motivated to make more DJ mixes & I’ve become a gardener of some sorts.
Good to hear you’re making the most of this time. Looking back on your own life as a teenager, what type of things did you struggle with?
The main thing was my appearance, from 13 I became very self-conscious with the way I looked. From my nose to my forehead, from not having any boobs for a long time, to my hair being too thick, and wearing glasses. I think I internalised it, not wanting to be noticed, and that led to me not wanting to speak in large social settings for fear of drawing attention to myself.
What would you say is different about growing up now for a teenager in this age, compared to when you were a teen?
Social media is a massive one. All we had was Msn messenger. In some ways social media is amazing, it allows young people to connect & engage with the world, launch businesses from their phone and create change through activism. I love how outspoken young people are on social media and think it has had a massive impact on cultural responsibility and the woke movement.
But the downside is the effects on mental health, from online bullying to depictions of perfection. We base so much of what we deem attractive based on what we see on social media and it’s taken the excitement away from being unique. Knowing how image-conscious I was at that age I really think if I had Instagram at 14 it would have been disastrous.
I also feel that sadly there is a lack of resources for teenagers nowadays. I grew up going to youth clubs, getting to go Thorpe park for £5, having free music lessons & getting to experience trips like rock climbing and mountain biking. These are the experiences that can really change perspective for someone from a lower-income background on how wide the world can be. It definitely shaped my viewpoint, making me want to explore the world more, and it helped me deal with situations out of my comfort zone.
What would you say are the key lessons you have personally learned in the last year?
I’ve learned that success is not linear, it’s not one single trajectory. There’s so many twists & turns, pit stops & pivots. You have to constantly keep on re-evaluating and questioning what is making you happy and why are you doing what you’re doing.
That fitting exercise into my schedule is non-negotiable. It’s what I need to help keep my mind balanced and my anxiety at bay. I played football up until I was 16 and it’s taken another 16 years to really understand that working out is not just something my body needs it what I need.
Not all plates can spin at the same time. I would consider myself a slashie or have a multi-hyphenated career. Which means I have many job hats. Sometimes one requires more attention than the other and it means that one job may slow down or fall by the wayside for a second. But that’s ok it’s impossible to be 100% at everything. So it’s important that I allow my time by looking at the year ahead and seeing where the ebbs and flows are and try to plan ahead.
What lessons have you learned to help you conquer fear?
I have a tattoo that says “The Only Thing To Fear Is Fear It’s self” I got it when I was 18 and a really shy & fearful person that was scared to stand out or say the wrong thing. But, as I wanted a career in media it was really hindering my networking chances as I was constantly getting pushed out of the way by bigger personalities.
So I took up drama classes in a place of London I had never been with a bunch of people I didn’t know and it really helped me come out of my shell. I think it’s important to put yourself in situations that are out of your comfort zone and lean into being around people you wouldn’t normally interact with. You can learn a lot about yourself & from others in those moments.
In my earlier days of DJ’ing and being on radio, my knees would knock so badly and I would feel sick with nerves. The only way I’ve been able to conquer that feeling is by practicing and getting myself to a point that I believe I’m the best I can be. I listen back to every radio show & try to record all of my DJ sets. That way I’m able to critique myself, know what I need to do to be better and it makes me feel in control. So when the fear crops up I know that next time I’ll be better.
Awesome advice right there! What about your advice in particular for teenagers living in the world today, and during the pandemic?
I would say, own what makes you different, safeguard yourself on social media, follow pages that make you feel good or inspired. I know it can feel like nobody cares about what you think, but trust me your mind is invaluable, you are the one that inspires culture and dictates trends.
If you are of colour or from a working-class background we need your voices more then ever. Don’t feel that any door is closed to you. Don’t watch who you think is popular now, chances are you’ll look back and realise they were more feared than liked & all the “neeky” kids are the ones that have a glow up and go on to have careers & lives that make them happy.
Whilst we’re in a pandemic think about all the things that make you happy & all the things you enjoy doing and do them, whilst the world is on pause and the future is unknown, all you can do is find small joys.
Do you have a personal mission statement?
I’m a big believer in gratitude. Constantly reminding yourself of what you have to be grateful for. It can really turn around your low moments. You can start as small as the roof over your head, your eyes, your family, and very soon you start to think wider and it becomes a really long list and lifts your mood. It gives way for more blessings to come into your life. It can be so easy to get down on yourself and on what you don’t have, but when you focus on what you do have, it allows you to get over hard obstacles.
What women inspire you most?
Annie Mac, Issa Rae, Reese Witherspoon, Michelle Obama, My Mum & Aunt, Josey Rebelle & Elizabeth Day. I love resourceful Women, who take their art and combine it with a business in order to build an empire. Who bounce back in the face of adversity. Who give back and inspire the next generation.
Writer | Empowerer | Editor | Founder @ Dear Teenage Me
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