JHANNIEL Global Rockstar United: Representing South America
Originally published on the Global Rockstar Magazine on 06.09.2015
Instrument: Lead guitar, lead vocals, composing
Genre: Rock-pop-funk with a dash of ethnic
Hometown: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Jhanniel is the winner of Global Rockstar United 2014 and is now signed with Global Rockstar. It was a natural decision to invite him to come from Argentina and represent South America in the Global Rockstar United project.
His first album Veo el Sol was released in 2009 and he was named featured artist for Myspace Latin America in 2010. His next album Despierto, recorded in Buenos Aires, mixed and mastered in Canada, was released in 2013. The album features the participation of artists from the national and international scene and proposes a new sound that sets it apart from its predecessor.
Jhanniel seeks to communicate a message of awareness in his lyrics, a place where his interest in spirituality, self-improvement and personal transformation convey.
After meeting Jhanniel in person I can say he is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met! Forget the arrogance many rising stars have, forget overconfidence and pride. With Jhanniel you have the feeling nothing bad can ever come from him. And he has so much energy, positive energy, that everybody in his immediate surrounding is infected with it.
When and why did you start making music?
As a child I wanted to become an astronaut, then a soccer player. I was 13 years old when I saw somebody playing the acoustic guitar and fell in love. I immediately asked for a guitar as my next birthday present!
A couple of years later I started experimenting with composing and recording on my old computer.
Who or what inspired you to take up composing?
My dad listens to a lot of rock music so I naturally listened to a lot of rock too, later I included funk music. Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jamiroquai, Luis Alberto Spinetta, Gustavo Cerati… these were my early inspirations.
What was your first ever job?
Handing out flyers! Later I started giving guitar classes.
I have a part-time job at the university now, which allows me the free time for my music.
How did you earn your first money as a musician?
In Argentina it is very difficult to get a gig in a small venue, even without pay. Actually in most places the artists have to pay themselves in order to play in front of an audience. All I’ve ever earned with my music I had to reinvest in equipment and production. I actually invested more than I earned. The very first time I made money and some of it actually stayed in my pocket was winning Global Rockstar 2014!
Live or studio, what suits you best?
Both. In studio I feel more creative and can concentrate on making music. Playing live allows me to express my passion and my emotions best.
Your favorite part of music production?
The highest moment of your career so far?
Last year I was feeling mentally tired and I was toying with the idea of giving up on music. I retreated to Ecuador, to my yoga guru, in search of self-balance. Before leaving I entered Global Rockstar 2014; I had a bad experience with an online contest before so I didn’t think much of it, basically I liked the logo. I came back and learned that Perfecto was featured in the Global Rockstar Webisode #7 and realized this was a big opportunity. The rest is history…
Where would you like to live, musically speaking?
Well, Argentina is not the best place to build a career as musician and to make a living out of it. Sooner or later I think I will move someplace else, but I can’t say where right now. I will see what happens in the next few months with my new album Despierto and then, as usual, follow my intuition.
Where would you like to play a gig?
Something huge, just once! I’d like to play in a big, big stadium, the bigger the better. I’d love to hear my music coming out of gigantic loudspeakers!
Another dream is to play a gig together with Alanis Morissette, Jamiroquai, Dave Matthews Band. Not necessarily all three together.
Your idea of a perfect gig
It’s all about energy. The perfect sound, nice visuals and the band members in a good connection with each other. The rest is somehow my responsibility… I feel that the audience reflects my mood, so if I enjoy the show, if I’m having fun, the audience will have a good time. Luckily that happens all the time!
Your favorite outfit for a gig
I love hoodies, big hoodies. I get my fashion inspiration mostly from movies – Star Wars, The Matrix, Avatar. Of course I mix it with more normal clothes in order to tone it down. Speaking of toning it down… we already planned for the bass player of my band to come on stage wearing a Darth Vader mask in our next concert!
The perfect foreign language to sing in
I always sing my lyrics in Spanish but I also like vocals in English and French. In my third album some tracks will be in Spanish but I will add some in English. That will make it easier to export my music beyond South America.
Which works are you most proud of?
My last album Despierto! It took a lot of work and effort to make – and a lot of money too! I had the opportunity to go to Canada to mix and master with Tim Thorney, who already produced Alanis Morisette. I spent 18 days mixing at the Villa Sound Studios and it was a great experience. I also had the chance to bring the Despierto Tour to Equador, to Uruguay and even to New York, USA. And now, thank to it, I’m here in Vienna for Global Rockstar United. Despierto is really a lucky album!
What is the most important skill required, besides talent, to become a successful musician?
Willpower and consistency – no matter what happens.
Self-confidence – no matter what the others say.
To put it to the words of singer-songwriter and Latin American rock legend Gustavo Cerati:
“Tarda en llegar pero al final hay recompense” (It takes a while to get there but eventually you’ll get the reward).
What keeps you up at night with regard to your music career?
I feel I have the power to do all I want, but sometimes I lose this drive and I turn into my own worst enemy. This last year so many wonderful things happened to me that occasionally I take a selfie in front of what I’m doing and post it online, to make it real, so that I can look at it later, to reassure myself that it is really happening. Then I worry that people think I’m a poser. I think too much, I guess.
The best concert you’ve seen in the audience
Incubus, a couple of years ago at the Luna Park Stadium in Buenos Aires.
The last track you listened to?
Oil and Water. Still Incubus, but don’t think it’s the only band I listen to!
Describe your music
My music shares a message of transformation that the audience can relate to. Through music I elevate my state of mind, I hope it can help others in the same way. I think I can best express what I mean through my lyrics. The first verse of Perfecto and the chorus of Inteligencia Emocional sum up pretty well my message:
“Despertá, que este mundo te engaña
No hace falta luchar, solamente observar y cambiar tu mirada
Comprende, que es el miedo en tu alma
El que impide el amor, te aleja de vos y en su drama te atrapa.”
– Perfecto, from the album Despierto.
(Wake up, that this world is cheating on you / There’s no need to fight, only to observe and to change the way you look / Understand, that it is the fear in your soul / That hinders from love, that disconnects you from yourself, and traps you in its drama.)
“Y todo este miedo a la invitación de ser feliz
Y todo este miedo a la invitación de ser.”
– Inteligencia Emocional, from the album Despierto.
(And all this fear of the invitation to be happy / And all this fear of the invitation to be.)