SUPERNOVA JAMZ THE CREATIVE INDUSTRY
The reality of working in the music industry involves making mistakes and losing some money in the process, adding to that, it is not a 9-5 job where you can switch off when you feel like it especially when you are working with global partners in different time zones.
Jamz Supernova, real name Jamilla Walters, is a multi-faceted woman with her own record label called Future Bounce, which doubles as an events brand that runs club nights and showcases in the UK. The British radio broadcaster, A&R and DJ was hesitant to start her own label despite encouragement from people in the industry.
Working as a teaching assistant in a school as well as behind the scenes in radio for 5 years were some of the ways Jamz Supernova funded her career; the principle in practice being having multiple sources of income to cushion you until you are stable. Jamz had been working on her label for 6 months before it was known to the world with a release. The tools and technology needed to launch a record label were readily available at the touch of her fingertips.
“I felt I didn’t have enough experience until I came across an artist I decided to develop,” she says. Her first stop when she launched her label was to develop her first artist and approaching a UK distributor company who informed her they would prefer to fund a label set up by her rather than directly to the artist; that is how Jamz Supernova got the push to start. Partnering up with her manager, Helena, who used to be the label manager for MTA which was launched by Chase N Status, a Drum & Bass duo from the UK, they’ve been combining their expertise and creativity to drive Future Bounce forward.
“In this day and age, launching a successful label needs patience as it is a time consuming job you won’t initially get paid for, especially the administration side of things,” Jamz says. The time consuming nature of undertaking running a record label and juggling other things needs organization skills from both the label and the artists as well as good communication skills. Managing relationships is an important aspect of running a record label where you have to learn to not take things personally and to respect contracts. With her 10 year radio experience, Jamz has built up a strong network which has helped get her artists’ releases on radio and in the press.
“I took the time to build relationships with Spotify and other streaming platforms by setting up meetings and updating them about our upcoming releases,” she says. Through her experience, she developed an understanding of how combining specific timelines, campaigns and building a story around music through visuals and artworks is important in getting the most out of music releases.
“Future Bounce is about being a launchpad for emerging artists with the aim of cultivating the underground and alternative scene through managing expectations and having our own measures of success in place that help us know when projects are moving and elevating our label and our artists,’ Jamz says. With that in mind, Jamz expresses how the focus for Future Bounce is not in building chart topping pop stars. Having a solid ethos is critical to running a label especially nowadays where there are many major and independent labels and artists on the rise daily.
“Although we have a long way to go as women in the music business, we are doing phenomenally well at grassroots level,” Jamz says. She clarifies that there really is no such thing as being a female DJ as there is no difference when it comes down to it; there is no female DJ genre and music knows no gender. With that said, Jamz conducts her business with no regard to gender limitations and stereotypes, making sure she plays gigs that are in line with her musical brand. By working with a strong team that enforces her value and worth to promoters and setting the standard for not taking any gigs that undermine her brand is how Jamz Supernova keeps pushing her way forward in her own lane.
“My days vary but an overview of my routine is: Monday, I record my British Council Show Selector Radio Show, Tuesday I am at the BBC doing my 1Xtra radio show, Wednesday I am an A&R consultant at Sony Music’s RCA Record Label, Thursday I take meetings and work on my label or DJ sets, Friday to Sunday DJ Gigs,” Jamz narrates.
Working in the music business does consume your life.Missing birthdays, weddings, family functions become part of the hustle. But the hope is that you slog your guts out in the beginning to be able to get a strong foot that will give you the freedom to be indispensable so you can introduce balance back in your life.
“I’m now in a position to re-introduce balance in my life and I don’t feel a way when I take time off,” Jamz says. She believes the main thing to have is persistence. Even though she still faces a couple of “no’s” to some of her ideas and when booking gigs, she’s learnt to ask for the reason behind the “no” in trying to find out what she could do better to make it a yes next time.
“I’ve learnt that whilst most countries might not have the same music infrastructure as the UK, the resourcefulness I have encountered in communities where I’ve been invited into around the world is inspiring ,” Jamz says. Building a community is one of the most important pillars in elevating a music scene anywhere in the world. It’s undeniable how communities influence culture and how culture sips into the mainstream to become the norm.
Young Malawian creatives have a really exciting chance to change the landscape without having to ask to be let into any doors, having the power to create a new door; achievable only through togetherness with like minded people.