When you listen to a lot of reggae – no matter the artist – you realize that consciousness is a running theme throughout the genre. It makes sense when you consider the philosophy of Rastafari. That theme is intensified when the artist is also a yogi, as evidenced by Jah9’s new album Note To Self (read our REVIEW). By phone, Jah9 recently discussed the new album and its corresponding documentary, and the importance of trusting in yourself. Due to poor sound quality, much of the interview was lost. Thus, here is an abridged version of the interview with Jah9.
How does Note To Self compare to your previous recordings?
Note To Self is more collaborative. I have more people on this record than on other projects. I worked with a wider variety of producers this time around. The first was just one other producer and myself. At the same time it’s also my most personal project in terms of themes and the words.
Considering it’s such a personal record, what was your reaction when you were done?
I don’t even know if you can say it’s done. It’s one of those things where you just have to stop because you have to deliver it. There are still some things I would do differently. It’s a relief to know that the time has come. I just have to wait and see how people receive it.
There is a reoccurring theme of knowing, trusting, and believing in yourself. Why was that an important message?
That’s what I most have to share with others – that message. It’s not something that’s unique to me. If all of us were paying closer attention to ourselves, working on ourselves, we would be in a better situation. I think when people are encouraged to take responsibility for their lives, they won’t be oppressed by other people.
In what ways does the practice of yoga help or influence your music?
I’m a teacher of yoga as well. Having to do that work with my body helps my mind.
You had a yoga retreat in France last year. What was the inspiration for that?
We centered our thought on doing Yoga on Dub Trance. That is the platform I use to direct people through the process. We share information about the culture, about how to prepare food, and different types of yoga are practiced. It was a really cool vibe of rejuvenation.
How did the Note To Self documentary come about?
It was done instead of a mixtape or some other thing. It’s an evolution. I always try to present something before the album to get people into it.
What would you be doing if you weren’t making music?
I would live on a large plot of land. It would involve farming.
Photo credit: Christina Nwabugo