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HAVE FUN AND TAKE DEEP BREATHS!!!The life of R&B singer JAVEN is a charmed life. It's the kind of life that one only reads about and seldom gets to experience for his or herself.
JAVEN TALKS TO ROCKWIRED
ABOUT THE BEST ADVICE HE WAS EVER GIVEN
HIS NEW CD BELIEVER
FINDING HIMSELF THROUGH MUSIC
INTERVIEWED BY BRIAN LUSH
He was born, what DUSTY SPRINGFIELD called "...a son of a preacher man" in Hollywood, Florida (seems as if the the writing was on the wall) and grew up singing in the choir. After college , JAVEN made the move to that other Hollywood and things have been on the up and up ever since. Not only is he a singer/songwriter who is now two CD's deep into his recording career, he is an actor on television and screen with four upcoming films. One of these films ONE NIGHT WITH THE KING, has him acting alongside screen legends PETER O'TOOLE and OMAR SHARIF. To say this fella has come a long way in a short amount of time is an understatement. Stories of people coming from humble beginnings and going on to achieving great things is an old familiar story, especially now, in a world where pop idols are voted by the public into the pop stratosphere thanks in part to AMERICAN IDOL and its inferior imitations. JAVEN's story isn't some overnight success story. It wasn't as easy as auditioning for SIMON COWELL and getting a job. It's a story about being who you are and doing what you want to do. For JAVEN, the power of the music, mixed with a fondness for the craft of acting is what fuels him, not the number of units sold.
Of course that would be great too. And it will.
The title of his sophomore release BELIEVER pretty much sums it up. "... if people want something, they can go after it and get it." says the dashing singer songwriter, whose humble tone hardly gives way to the fact that he's been all over the world, has become friends with legends in both the music industry and in film, and has made music that he believes in. ROCKWIRED is shouting AMEN!!! This believer has us believing. Just give tracks like the tender ballad, THEN CAME YOU, the Spanish tinged DANCE and the rocking ANOTHER DAY a listen.
ROCKWIRED had the great pleasure of speaking to JAVEN over the phone on a sweltering Wednesday afternoon/ Here is how it went.
You've got a foot in music and a foot in acting. How demanding of a schedule is that for you?
It's a schedule that I'm hoping will become more demanding. I'm in four movies that are coming out and one of them is called ONE NIGHT WITH THE KING which is coming out on October 15, 2006 and it's starring PETER O'TOOLE, OMAR SHARIF and JOHN RHYS-DAVIES.
Wow! Those guys are legends! How different do you feel that BELIEVER is from your first CD?
What do you feel that those differences are?
This one is a little more personalized.
Is it everything that you hoped it would be?
It's everything that I thought it would be and in someways, it's more than what I thought it would be. PETER MOKRAN, who is a well known engineer in the industry ended up mixing the project for me and he's worked with MARY J. BLIGE, R. KELLY and THE PUSSYCAT DOLLS. We ended up working together at CONWAY STUDIOS in Hollywood, across the street from PARAMOUNT PICTURES. That was an awesome experience. We also got a chance to record at UNIVERSAL STUDIOS up in the Santa Monica area as well. That was great! Another person who came along for the project was TRAVON POTTS who is a phenomenal songwriter out of Atlanta. I did some stuff with him as well and a lot of friends came on board for this album.
It's quite a life you lead with acting and music. How did it all begin for you?
I started singing in church. My dad was a pastor, so I sang in church and that was pretty much it. That was my schooling in music and I didn't really anticipate a career in entertainment. I went on to college,and got a break when somebody heard me singing in the dorm. They said "You've need to sing for this event that we're having for the school." So I sang at the event and there was a promoter in the audience who had this group on the road. He heard me and gave me a job. So that was my first singing gig. I was eighteen years old. We had it worked out where I would sing on the weekends and where ever we were they would make sure I was back in time for my first class on Monday morning. So that's how it started and it grew from there.
Where are you from originally?
From one Hollywood to another.
Sometimes, to save face, I just say I'm from Hollywood.
How long have you been out here in California?
What prompted the move other than wanting to take the career up a notch?
It was definitely that. Secondly, I had alway lived on the east coast and I was looking to move out of Florida to somewhere. Whenever I was out of town for a gig, I always kind of kept my eyes and my ears opened and then, I hit Cali. It was night time and we had just come in on the Red Eye, got to the hotel, and then it hit me. And here I am four years later.
I'm blown away by the fact that you're in a movie with PETER O'TOOLE. This is a screen legend. What was that like?
When we were filming the movie, the first person that I met was OMAR SHARIF. We were shooting in India and a lot of the scenes were filmed in MAHARAJAH PALACE. It's the biggest private residence in the world and half of it is used as a hotel. The other half of it is still a home and there is this huge terrace in the back where you can watch the sunset. It was great working wiht OMAR and PETER O'TOOLE, JOHN RHYS-DAVIES and JOHN NOBLE from LORD OF THE RINGS. They were great actors. Because they had seen it all and done it all, they were very down to earth and easy to talk to. Their advice to me was "...have fun." It was incredible. It was a really joyous experience. I wasn't;t familiar with a lot of their work because of me being on the younger side, but looking back, I thinks it's better that I didn't. If I knew that caliber of these guys, i probably would've ended up being star struck. They were really incredible. Resilient and strong.
O'TOOLE and SHARIF have got to be in their eighties by now!
They've still got it. It was amazing watching them come into character as soon as the camera came on and how they were able to get right inside their characters. They've got such tremendous confidence in their art form. One of the experiences that'll never forget was in the make up room. As we were getting ready for a scene, OMAR and JOHN RHYS decided to walk through a scene. It was amazing watching these two lions go into character and turn the make up room into the palace through their acting. It felt like you were in that palace.
Their advice about having fun sounds like it has stuck with you.
It's funny that you brought up the advice that they gave you because I was going to ask you what was the best advice that was ever given to you.
there is this great singer that I had the chance to work with. He's known in the jazz gospel field. He told me to take deep breaths. So its a combination of that and OMAR's advice. It's basically all about having fun and taking deep breaths.
Is acting something that you studied?
I studied acting in college very briefly. I consider myself a late bloomer because I didn't believe that I was supposed to be an recording artist or an actor. It wasn't that my parents said that I couldn't do it, it was a given that you went to college and then went back home and got a good job. I assumed that singing and entertainment was for fun and that the real world was all about working a 9 to 5 job. People should know that if they've got something and want it, they can go after it. That's something I believe in and that's why the CD is called BELIEVER.
How was the writing for the CD broken down?
I wrote all of the songs with a co-writer here and there. I did a lot of writing with DAVID GARCIA, TREVON POTTS and JAMIE JONES from ALL-4-ONE. The title cut BELIEVER, is a song that speaks to the heart of every guy who never had a break, and there is a Latin sounding track on the CD called DANCE. There is also this love ballad called THEN CAME YOU and there is this pop-rock song called ANOTHER DAY, which was inspired by a film I was in called ONE WITH THE KING which was about a woman from the Old Testament named ESTHER who saved her people from annihilation by standing up to the king whom she ends up marrying. The song is on the soundtrack for that movie and we've just finished producing a video for the song. It'll be a bonus track on BELIEVER. With BELIEVER I went in to do an album that represented myself and this is basically what came out of that.
What do you want a listener to walk away with after hearing your music?
I want people to walk away with a feeling of peace. With all of the craziness that's going on in the world, I'd like for people to know that their minds can be at peace.