It was only a couple of weeks ago when Jonathan, more commonly known as Veesen, started blowing up on social media. I opened up my instagram to find several posts congratulating him on his collaboration with American rapper, Logic. I was intrigued. Who is this guy? Just like everybody else, we all wanted to know who is this Veesen and how did he end up in a song with Logic? It turns out that Logic had put out an open invite for people to collaborate with him on a song on the platform, HITRECORD. When Jonathon submitted his audition tape, it was no surprise that Logic took an interest in him, with such a striking voice, it would have been impossible for him to go unnoticed. In the interview below, you get to see the guy behind the camera and his journey.
Tell me a little about yourself:
I grew up in Zambia, and lived there for 10 years. Then, my dad got a job in South Africa so I moved there and finished high school there, then I moved back to Zambia. Now, I’m here at Queen Mary and I study engineering.
When did you start singing?:
I’ve been singing all my life but I didn’t think I could sing really well all the time. I think I got better the more I sang. I remember singing as a little boy and people would say oh he’s got so much talent but I use to sing just for fun.
What were you thinking when you started auditioning, did you ever think you’d get chosen?:
In a million years never! On the website where you submit your piece, you could see other people’s piece and I listened to like 5 and I thought i’m not getting in because everyone else’s was so good and so well produced. It was insane.
How did you feel when Logic said he’s “100% gonna use that “ in reaction to your voice?:
I didn’t have any words. He told me that when he heard my voice he wanted to use it and I was like wow, I was shocked. The thing is when you listen to your own voice, you notice all the mistakes you make but then we forget that we all have our own original sound and we should be proud of it.
How did it feel to work with such talented people?:
It was mad, honestly. I didn’t even believe it. I tweeted the day after it all came out that I couldn’t believe this is real life. I couldn’t believe that I was part of such a big project with people who just love what they do.
What part of this process did you enjoy the most?:
The group video call was the best part ever. First of all they sent me an email a week earlier saying that they want to get me on a call at 1am. So I get on this call and there’s a whole bunch of people. All of a sudden Logic comes on and we were all just freaking out. Logic said that he wanted to invite us all out to L.A. so we could record this song.
How did it feel to talk to logic personally?:
I was very nervous. I didn’t want to come across as a crazy fan boy so I tried to play it cool. After he called me personally, I had to go to a lecture after. Everyone was asking me where I was but I couldn’t tell them that I had just gotten off a call with Logic because I was told not to tell anyone. Then the video came out and everyone was shocked.
In the documentary you mentioned that your dad didn’t want you to pursue a career in music. Talk a little bit about that:
Before I started university, I was going through this stage where I was thinking, do I really want to become an engineer? I came to my dad one day and I said, “Dad, what if I want to study music?” and he laughed and said, no you’re not studying music. My dad grew up really poor so he has seen the power of education and he wants my siblings and I to take the same route.
How did your family react when they saw the video?:
I haven’t asked them, I didn’t tell my mum anything about it, I just sent her the video. I sent it to her and she was like “wow”. But my dad was like “why aren’t you focusing on your studies?” (laughs)
Do you think you will pursue a career in music?:
I really want to, like badly.
What is it like to getting so much attention now that people have heard your voice?:
I’ve got random people messaging me and inviting me out to L.A to meet up with some studios and get me a manager. One guy sent me a paragraph telling me how much my voice meant to him. That was insane. I hadn’t really expected that.
Who are your musical inspirations?:
Michael Jackson, Tone Stith, Bazzi, Khalid, Shawn Mendes. So many people man, so many people are making dope music and have really cool voices.
If you could collab with anyone else who would it be?:
This is a very intense question. Right now, Khalid. I’d really just go with the flow and see where the music takes me.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?:
Hopefully selling out the O2.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?:
I’m an international student so I’ll be going back to Zambia. Hopefully, I want to work on new music over the summer.
There are so many people like you who are trying to pursue their aspirations whether it’s a career in music or anything else. What advice would you give them?:
Keep doing whatever you’re doing even if people don’t like it. Some people may hate you and criticise you but even if one person likes it, that’s enough. As long as your impacting even one person then you’ve done your job. I don’t care what anyone else says, as long as one person says what you did made me feel this way.
What did you learn from this whole process?:
Anything is possible. You have to believe in yourself, that’s what I’ve realised. You should never underestimate yourself. When you’ve reached a certain level in something, you’re probably better. Once everything works out, what happens after is just like a different life.
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