Next Wave #1010: J.K.
J.K. (real name Jordan Kristine Seamón) is a woman who personifies versatility in the modern day creative. Author, actor, visual artist, producer and singer-songwriter are just some of the strings attached to her fruitfully vibrant bow of creativity and at just 18 years of age, it seems like J.K.’s future possibilities really are endless.
“I attribute my well-roundedness to my parents,” says the Atlanta based artist, who is evidently very close with her family having spent time boxing training together during the pandemic to look after their mental wellbeing (that’s one way to settle an argument over the dinner table).
More importantly though, her parents’ admirable work through The Seamón Family Foundation - a non- profit organization committed to investment in arts & culture through youth empowerment – has had profound effects on J.K.’s upbringing, ambitions and perceptions of the world around her as a queer Black woman.
“I am still not the most confident person in the world, but I am grateful for the vision that my parents had to ensure that the colour of my skin would not be a sole contributor to how I progressed through life.”
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J.K. recently catapulted into the spotlight for her breakthrough acting role as Caitlin Poythress, a teenager navigating romance and sexuality on a military base, in visionary film-maker, Luca Guadagnino’s HBO television drama series ‘We Are Who We Are’. However, J.K. also caught that same spotlight late last year with the release of her debut album ‘Identity Crisis’ which fuses musical styles and influences both modern (H.E.R.) and old (Etta James, Nina Simone).
“I believe that my being exposed to the soul, the blues, the rock, and the jazz early, along with the amazing modern- era artists, have been a huge influence on my writing style as well as my delivery,” says J.K. “If I’m being honest, I think that exposure just settled in me and spoke through me.”
‘Identity Crisis’ offers a snapshot of young adulthood in flux, flowing intimately through themes of love (‘the one for me.’), regret (‘thnx.’) and drug abuse (‘druggin u.’). Style-wise, it’s open to an array of genres which, it seems, was J.K.’s intention as someone who believes that “there is something to learn from every genre of music.” And in an age of algorithms and streamability, J.K. explains that she prefers to focus on what she personally values in her music: “streams and reviews are looked at as a priority for many, but I also realize that if I (first and foremost) don’t enjoy and find value in what I develop, then it will become more about others and less about the music.”
Being the all-round entrepreneur that she is, J.K. also created her own documentary on the recording process of her debut album. “Watching the elevation of so many film directors of colour put me into documentary mode,” she explains before going on to add that the premise of the documentary stretches beyond the making of ‘Identity Crisis’ with the aim of reaching out to young artists about realism and the business aspects of learning your craft.
Perhaps the most striking thing about J.K. is her down-to-earthness as a person. It’s easy to get carried away when you’re young, but determination, ambition and kindness are all values that J.K. holds humbly in abundance and it shows in the impressive array of work that she has already achieved her 18 years of life. 2020 may have been a breakthrough year, but with spring beginning to blossom now in 2021, it’s hard not to imagine that J.K.’s next big plan may already be lying in waiting.
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'Identity Crisis' is out now.
Words: Jamie Wilde
Photo Credit: Jordan Kristine Seamón
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