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"Act Accordingly": A Conversation with Jean Dawson

Sitting down for a full-length conversation with the LA-based artist, we talk about the stench of public perception, his creative indecisiveness, and the romance of spirituality.

"I don't know nothing, shadow of sympathy," Jean Dawson sings on "Tastes Like Metal", the closing track of his new EP Boohoo. "Break lights, too bright / Now I'm gon' crash / They hope I crash / What if I crash?" he asks, against the kind of sound that can only be woven through air thick with desire, through clenched fists, tear-streaked cheeks, bitten lips, and the raw edge of longing, through (where all great art comes from) things untamed. Like watching a crystal chandelier tremble in tempest, the piano's gentle swelling rashes into deep, billowing synth, like saults teetering on the edge of stillness and eruption. The feelings Jean wrestles with on this newest project are tender, seductive and, as the cover art suggests, there’s an intoxicating, ruinous release in the headlong plunge that shatters and remakes, tracing an arc in the erotic velocity of the fall.

I catch Jean while he's in London, touring with Lil Yachty as his Field Trip Tour makes its way across Europe, where the Tijuana-born/California-raised artist tells me off-mic about his newfound love for Nando's (the Extra Hot sauce reminds is the closest thing he can find here to Mexican Buffalo Wings), Tottenham F.C., and, most importantly, what he's been listening to: confessing that he considers Dijon and Mk.gee to be his only contemporaries and about his early love for XL Recordings, especially, most recently, for Overmono. It's always interesting to hear about a musician's inspirations, especially when they are as culturally eclectic as his.

His recent track "NO SZNS" featuring SZA, punctuates this study with a new depth we've not seen from Jean: gentle folk guitar and synth stings layer under some of Jean's most refined, lucid lyrics. Playing with silence, the production slashes at the air of negative space around it, yanking the track forward, and reimagining the rich palette of his past projects as something more textured and dramatic. Always evolving, he tells me, the future for Jean is sown without promises or predictability.

Jean Dawson: I made it past 27, so we're good now. We're good. It's not going to be a sad story. The ending might be weird because I'm going to turn into a delusional old man. That's what I hope. I just want to slowly descend into madness as I get old. But in a very artful way where it's like, "Yeah, dude doesn't do anything except scream at paintings and hope that something comes out of it."

The Big Ship: Allowing yourself to slip into madness? Is that better than going out like Cobain?

I'd rather go out like a loony than go out just, “Uh, it was fun, or peaceful.” I'd rather it be like, “No, this dude is working on ceramics now, for no reason. And he just works on them and then breaks them. That's it." And the title of all my works would be like, “Where it started, it finished.” Something like that.

That's like Yoko Ono. She had a whole exhibition of broken ceramics in London last year.

See? They all have similar fucking stories, or I'll just fade away into oblivion where when people ask what I'm doing, it’s like, dude, I work at Home Depot. Do you guys have Home Depot? It's just a department store that sells wood and building materials to build houses and shit. Very, very, very, very important job in America. People who work there are super important.

Tell me a little bit about the Lil Yachty: Field Trip Tour?

They just asked me and I was honoured to be considered to do it because I'm a big fan of Lil Yachty. I don't know what the perception of me is from the outside, and I'm glad that it doesn't just stop at alternative. I mean, Yachty is alternative. So whatever that means, whatever the perception of him is, I just felt like being asked to be on the tour was a badge of honour. It's bigger than just the local kids that want you to play the local thing. There's nothing wrong with that, but something that I've taken to, I guess, with grace, is the the fact that people like my music. And that people like my music all over the world. It's hard for me to accept that because I'm smack in the middle of it. So, whenever I'm asked to do anything, I'm just like, oh, me? Sure. Alright, I'll come and do it.

Is that something you’re worried about – how you’re perceived?

No, I don't care. And not, I don't care in a cool way. Perception is a one-way street. And it's not one that you can travel backwards on. Perception is a porta-potty. It's one person's shit that I definitely don't have to smell if I don't want to. Even if it smells good. I think I learned that from being a chubby kid my whole life. And it took a long time to just be like, it's okay. We're all good. We're all gonna die. What I think about another person is never gonna change who that person is. I would hope not. I don't know what people think about me. Sometimes they're like, oh, you're mysterious and you have mystique and blah, blah, blah. I was like, no, I just wear big clothes and cover my face because I've had insecurities, but I don't think it's anything deeper than that. It's not like I have a ton of secrets in my head. Matter of fact, most of the time I have nothing going on in my head. I'm just walking around existing in perpetualness.

I've been very fortunate to have a loving mother, to tell me I'm okay, everything's fine, don't worry about it. And I think if I didn't have that, then the outside, everything, except for making music would have broken me already. Bleeding yourself for an art form that people can have an opinion on. It's a public forum thing. So if I don't have a loving mum, I think I would have for sure done myself in, because it's pretty hard sometimes, but for the most part I just think, who really cares, man? We just make music. We have a fun job. It's all good.

I wondered about that because, in a lot of your music, I get the sense that there are characters that you're developing within it. I wonder if that's a conscious thing, if that's just to guard yourself, or if that's just a fun thing, or if it comes down to code-switching, which you mentioned before?

I think I create characters to highlight and mask certain things in a moment. It's like when you go out with your friends, and you're having a pretty shit day, but you don't want to tell them. You put on this other guy and you step outside and then you become that other guy for four hours, and you get to come home and then you shed that and you're like, all right, fuck I'm back in this thing. Not in a depressive, negative way, but just in a way where it's like code-switching your entire existence. When I do it in music, it just gives me a different perspective. As hokey or as magical as I want it to sound, it's not. Sometimes I just feel like this other guy. And I think part of being a musician is fractalising yourself into what this version of me wants to say right now. I think some people have a very, very intuitive way of communicating a singular identity. I have a very hard time doing that, not because I'm any more special or anything like that, but I have a hard time communicating a single identity because I'm perpetually finding an identity. But the thing is, I'm not looking for it at the same time. Sometimes it finds me and sometimes it's beyond me.

So, with Boohoo and Phoenix, the reason why I even give them names is something I learned in therapy. To identify the things that are troubling you and then label them rather than to just suppress them. So my anxiety is my little friend that comes to visit that I don't want to come to visit. It's like that annoying ass man that calls you and you're like, fuck, I got to stay on the phone with this guy. So the same way that I perceive that is the same way I perceive pretty much anything in my life. Phoenix is a character post-coming off of Chaos Now. That whole project, essentially, I didn't know if I was going to make any more music after it. I knew that I was always going to do some format of music, whether it be for film or for something else, but after Chaos Now, I was like, I don't know if I'm going to die, you know? I feel like I'm going to die soon. And I always have those crises where shit feels really right in a bad way. So I have to fuck something up to make everything feel even. So I was making music with crayons, figuratively. That project was me perceiving myself in a way, but it was me writing songs in run-on sentences. And I was very aware of it, and I was like, I want to do it all before I go. As morbid as it sounds, it wasn't morbid when I was thinking of it. It was just like, I don't want to leave anything on the table if this is the last album I'm ever going to get to do.

Because the things that I'm chasing aren't necessarily the things that everybody else in music is chasing. There's nothing wrong with the things that they're chasing, but the thing that I'm chasing in music is a resolve of myself. Trying to find that resolve as I go. It's quite difficult. So, I think the reason why I build characters for the music, is it just allows me to be expressive in a way where one part of myself isn't insecure about that specific thing. Boohoo isn't afraid to sing. And Boohoo is kind of the overture of what Jean Dawson is becoming, in a sense. Phoenix would never sing. This is talking to myself, the third person, but it's just like, oh, nah, you have a horrible voice, but it's okay, you're fun and you're funny. Boohoo was, it's all good. You don't have to be fun or funny. You could just sing. Then I get to sit back and be quote-unquote Jean Dawson and be like, you guys both sound dumb. I'm just gonna do this other thing. So, besides sounding like I have a personality disorder, which I don't, it allows me to draw with my left hand rather than my dominant right.

Do you think you exploring these different parts of your personality, especially through these different characters, plays into you being quite genreless, for lack of a better word, like code-switching musically as well?

Maybe. I think definitely it's a way to I.D. it. But it's so funny because I don't find that I do much differently from the people that I like, and not in terms of skill or capability. This is gonna sound crazy coming out of my mouth and I'm very aware this is gonna sound crazy. Prince is my favourite artist of all time. No way am I comparing myself to Prince, let me put that in print. Prince did whatever Prince wanted. Whether it was dance music, love songs, albums, pop records. It was never like, "Prince is genreless". Prince is Prince. It's my favourite I.D. of any artist of all time. Who's going to tell Prince what to do? That guy has the idea. If those are the people that I look up to in music, or if that's the person I look up to in music, it feels only right that the inhale and exhale that I do when I'm doing any other song, or one song to the other song, is the same breath, instead of it being a conscious, I'm gonna do rock music, then I'm gonna do prog rock, then I'm gonna do hip hop. I’m in the studio with my friends, and I'm like, everybody shut up for a second. This is what I think. Do I sound crazy? And they'll tell me yes and/or no. Or sometimes it's like, yeah, it sounds crazy, but let's do it.

I think maybe having multiple characters and personalities, or perceived personalities, goes into how the music is made, but the genre and categorisation has always been ill-important to me. Because if it sounds good, it sounds good, regardless of what it is. On the way over here we were listening to Muslim prayer chants in the taxi. The guy turned it off when we got in the car and I was like, no, keep playing it, please. He was like, are you sure? And I'm like, no, please, it sounds beautiful. I don't know what the fuck they're saying, but I just knew that that man was singing it while he was driving and he's doing his day-to-day job. For me, that's the importance of the shit. More than anything else, it's that. It's being that supplement to somebody's already vibrant life. If I can turn the saturation up just a little bit, cool. If I can't, that's fine too. And I think the only way that I can valiantly do that is never being afraid to just inhale and exhale.

Is your music-making process, an indecisive process?

No, it's super decisive. It's like, this is exactly what it needs to be, this is exactly how it works. Anybody that's been in the studio with me for long enough realises that my biggest attribute is that I'm a great conductor. I'm a great arranger, but I also like to cheer people on to do the best thing that they're able to do. I think the part that I'm competitive about in music, period, is how good of a team player can I be. As long as I can max that stat out, the music will always be great. But I have to make sure that I'm looking at it from every angle. One of my favourite things that I've told one of my best friends [Austin Corona], is play like you're going to get hit by a car when you leave the studio, you're never going to play again. You're going to die right now. This is the last guitar lick you're ever going to do. And he sits there and he's like, man, fuck you. And I'm like, try it. And It's the greatest guitar lick or solo I've ever heard in my life. I'm like, dude, you did that. He's like, yeah, it was the pressure. I was like, it wasn't the pressure. It was you telling yourself, if this is the last thing I'm going to do, let me do something that means something to myself. It's not about Jean Dawson, the artist. It's not about this song, even. It's about giving yourself resolve. And I think as long as we can keep searching for that resolve, we'll make great music.

Are you constantly putting those constraints or creative strategies in place to try and shake things up? It reminds me of Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies.

Man. I wish that I think I was as cognisant of it as Brian, but there's only one rule I had on my last album [Chaos Now], which is no 16th note hi-hats. I don't want that. I hate that. And now it's so funny because I'm like, let's see what it feels like. Let's try 16th note hi-hats. But I do require a certain amount of study before we go in and work on something. When we're producing our work, it's like, okay, here's a list of music that we should all listen to over and over and over and over again. I think I always try to bring things back to being a student and also falling in love with that again.

Boohoo was very different from a lot of my work because the constraints were writing from a different place. Writing from a place that can make you cry and I don't like doing that shit. I know a lot of artists like to revel in their sorrow. I hate that shit. I don't want anything to do with my sorrow. I don't want anything to do with the negative thoughts in my head, but when I need them, when I need to fixate on them, I would imagine it's like an actor method acting where, that scene where you need to cry, you're gonna have to think about something that's gonna make you want to cry. I hate crying and I don't want to do it but if I sit back and I think about the moment of me looking my mom in the eye and telling her I want to kill myself today and doing that for six weeks straight, every single day, I can make a song that means something more to me than just words. And that's where I can talk about "New Age Crisis" or "Tastes Like Metal". That's where I can pull out some of the words that come for that. When I have to look at that moment, and seeing my mom seeing her baby just tell her that he doesn't want to exist anymore, in a very serious way.

But I can't do that for a Grammy. I can't do that for anybody except myself. And that's where I have to be selfish. I think, in a certain way, that version of method is super important. I can't do that for streams. I can't do that for a million monthly listeners. I can't do that for a better slot at Coachella. It has to be for my own resolve. It has to be for the reason I make music. And anything less than that is just a disservice to the memory of that. So, amen.

I feel like when you're creating something like that, it is so easy to lose the love for it, for what made you want to do it in the first place. Especially when you're singing your own songs, which I imagine feels a lot more real than other people's music. What was the study for Boohoo?

Funny enough, it was just classical music. Classical and then theatre, in a broad, general scope. It's pretty much the study of the next album. The next album's coming out this year. And it's that. It's like Homer's Odyssey. It's nearing my opus, but it isn't the opus. I'm aware of what my opus is gonna be and it's not that. But it's me seeing what the opus is looking like or what it feels like. It's like, Woah, shit, that's a lot, that's a big hill to climb, dude. It's the study of what is very, very real to you, of what is very tangible to you. It's also the study of letting go of my own interpretation of myself. There's gonna be a weird transition that happens that people see in me during that time. Weird as in just unfamiliar. But it's part of what the thing is and it's part of the theatre. It's part of listening to Max Richter. It's part of listening to a lot of Aphex Twin, part of listening to Mozart and Bach and all the old heads. But it's also a part of listening to a dude from Texas who rides really high rims and that's his chariot. It's Romeo and Juliet, it's Shakespeare, it's very long, flowery sentences that mean something very, very dull. It's like, me and you should die together. We'll live together, love each other, and die together. Instead of saying that, you have Romeo and Juliet beckoning to one another from the top of a fucking castle. Instead of saying, I'm gonna die with my bitch, I'm turning that language into imma die with my bitch. Imma die for my bitch.

Unfamiliar to us or unfamiliar to you?

Everybody else. I've done it before, but the change is weird. I've changed a lot over my life, like fluctuating weight. I fluctuate in the way I look. I fluctuate in the way that I see myself. I fluctuate in the way that I talk. I fluctuate in the way that I communicate with the outside world. I'm very cognisant of it. This is a point in my life where I'm on the precipice of something. And I know that it's coming and I'm just aware of it. And not a pseudo 'big shit on the horizon. Real G's don't move in silence' or whatever. No, I just know what's about to happen. It's like I'm pregnant with my own idea.

I wanted to ask about the spirituality in your lyrics. There are a lot of biblical references, what do those mean to you?

Yeah, it's funny. I don't want to make Christian music. I'm not saying anything wrong with Christian music, I'm just not Christian. I'm non-denominational. I believe in God, I believe in Allah, I believe in All of it. I was raised Catholic, so that's my default setting, but all religion for me is valid because it's just a belief, right? It's the belief of something beyond this, that brings people comfortability or perceived morality. It's so big, it's so romantic. Religion in and of itself is one of the most beautiful things that humans have concocted, and it's just the rule of thumb. And that's the coolest shit ever. I don't agree with what the church does. I don't agree with a lot of shit. But I do agree with needing something that's going to supplement you through your life. Because you need something to hold on to that is intangible sometimes. I learned that when I was going through the deepest depression I've ever gone through in my life. My mum used to say, agárrate de Dios, which means in Spanish, 'hold on to God'. I felt like I was falling in a hole and I couldn't grab on to anything. No matter how hard I tried, there was nothing. And I start praying every day. Start saying thank you. Thank you. The easiest thing is to say thank you. Whether I'm saying it to myself or I'm saying it to what I believe God to be. It changed my entire perspective on everything. Everything in my life. It's where I think the idea of myself disappeared, where the idea of my impermanence became very real to me, and with that also came, what do I wanna do?

There's some artists that compare themselves to higher powers and shit, I won't say names, but, I wouldn't want that responsibility. I would rather say thank you to it and then live my life accordingly to be the most decent human being. It comes out in the lyrics because it is so romantic and it's so basic and not in a bad way. It's like wearing a really nice white T-shirt, like, wow this fits so good I don't need anything else. This, some blue jeans, and some fucking shoes, and I'm out. I feel like sometimes, when I'm talking in the scope of angels, or God, it's like a white T-shirt. It supplements exactly what I needed to say, without me needing to say much. It's Frank Ocean’s Godspeed. I reference Frank a lot, just because the way he writes music is like my modern-day Bob Dylan. Looking at Bob, or Frank, sometimes they say something very, very, very, very, very, straightforward, and you're like, woah, that's one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard in my life. "There's a bull and a matador duelling in the sky." What? Craziest line I've ever heard in my life. I think I was just grabbing onto nothingness in that void. I always end up grabbing onto a figure of God, because it's easy for my brain to translate that to be what I need to be. It's like Play-Doh.

It's funny you say "Live accordingly". The best advice I ever got from anyone, was from a friend who said to me once, "Act accordingly." That's it. He was saying, you know it already, you just have to act accordingly.

Woah. Act accordingly. Yeah. I've had something similar. One of my friends, well, he's not my friend. He's more like one of the richest niggas in music. Put it that way. He said, "act like you know how good you are." Same thing as 'act accordingly'. I was being humble about something and he didn't like it. 'Why are you doing that?' Because I was raised not to perceive myself like that. He's like, fuck that. You know what you're doing. Act that way. And I didn't know what the fuck that meant. I was like, am I supposed to be an asshole or something? Then I realised it was like, nah, just move like you know that you already did the thing.

Can you talk a little bit about your visuals?

The visual language has always been just as much as important as the sonic description of what I do. It's as basic as why do something in two dimensions when you have three or four? One of the reasons I started fixating just on visuals was because during COVID, I was watching a bunch of music videos, and I was like, this shit sucks. And not in a generic way, I'm sure the people who worked on it tried their best and did awesome, in my irrelevant-ass opinion. But nobody cares about this anymore. And I wondered why. Is it because people aren't doing good? Is it because there's no Hype Williams? Is it because X, Y, and Z directors aren't doing things anymore and the bill isn't there? But it wasn't that. I think it's just the way that we process music is different now. MTV is probably still important to people in certain countries. So is YouTube. And YouTube's important everywhere, but I'm saying in the scope of music videos. It's a really, really expensive process that's only meant for promotion. It's like a billboard. And I thought it felt so gross. Because music videos specifically were so important to me in identifying what I wasn't. Not necessarily what I was, but like, Oh, I'm not that. I'm not that either. That's cool, I’m not that.

I never wanted to be on camera. And it's not because I fucking hate myself so much, or I don't want to see myself. But there's a whole story to be told that isn't about me. And it's one of the hardest things that I still struggle with as a songwriter. I don't want to write about myself because life isn't about me. I am just a small piece of the whole thing. I want to write about the whole thing. I want to paint the whole thing. But the only way to do that is to start from my perspective. So, it goes back to writing about myself and it's something I've been trying to break forever. And it's just insanity. It's like trying to figure out how to make a car move with a magnet attached to the front of the hood. You can't do that. Physics won't allow it. That's bullshit.

Film in itself, cinema, has always been very important to me. I spent a lot of time by myself as a child. My mum worked a lot, and my older siblings went off to school. I sat in front of the TV a lot. We didn't have cable, satellite or anything like that. We just had basic antennas with foil on the top and I watched every single movie on public access television basically. I would just sit and fucking disappear into a void of me being alone. TV was always company. TV was my best friend because I had nobody to communicate with. That's why I started writing music, because I didn't have anybody to communicate with. I fell in love with whatever that meant. One of my aspirations is to be a director and, to not only score a film, but fully direct. I'm writing a film right now. It's cool. It's like a Donnie Darko, but funnier. If I could do that art form well, I'd love to respect the medium and do it. I'm just taking my time with it.

Can you talk a little about your collaborators? The only word I can think of is picky.

Yeah, it's super picky. I'm very picky about my collaborators. I've been asked to collaborate with a lot of people. Fortunately enough. I say no a lot. But that's not just to collaborate. I say no a lot to everything. Some advice that I was given was to know your no’s and be very comfortable with your no’s, because they're going to stop you from being successful faster, but the things you say yes to are going to be more important. Same thing goes with the people that collaborate with me, like Earl Sweatshirt. That was a childhood dream of mine. He's so enigmatic. I was like, oh, I get to work with Earl? This is crazy. Me wanting to work with Earl is the same as me wanting to work with Björk. I want the thing that is visceral, right? But also, there have been a lot of times where I'm maybe getting in my own way, maybe I'm perceiving myself and maybe I need to stop. I'm pretty picky, but the people that I look up to are also picky. I guess I'm a product of them. It's their fault, not mine. I'm not going to take responsibility.

But I don't think everybody should work together. I think it's bad. I don't need to see IKEA furniture with Keith Haring print on it. I don't need it. I like the IKEA furniture, I like Keith Haring. I don't need to see them together. The last collaboration I did was with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. I was super blessed to be in the room with those guys, and Hudson Mohawk. It was beautiful. I was like, this is fucking crazy. I'm just this kid. The inner kid is screaming. I even told him, you guys are gonna have to give me two seconds to geek out. And once I got that over with, I was cool. But I don't know if I want to collaborate anymore. I think part of my brain, maybe a few years ago, was just like, oh, I live in such a beautiful time of so many different musicians existing, like being able to do something with SZA, which was special, just to work with somebody so beyond the measure of life. I think a lot of this shit is qualifying. It's like, look at the little trophies that you got along the way. I don't think I care about trophies anymore. At least not those trophies. So, I'm very picky about collaborations, and that might evaporate into me not collaborating with anybody. But I might be chatting shit, cause if Archy Marshall calls me tomorrow, I'm definitely doing that.

I want to hear the King Krule and Jean Dawson track. Or the Björk and Jean Dawson track.  

If Björk calls me tomorrow, which is not gonna happen, we might. I would love that. She's one of the reasons that I make music the way that I make music, kind of like a Prince. She's enigmatic. Again, was Björk genre-bending? No, Björk was just being Björk. You know what I mean? But now there's a playlist on whatever streaming platform that's 'genre-less'. Come on, bro. What's Bauhaus? What are all these things? Are they all genre-less? No, they were just of themselves. Categorisation is a product of utility. We utilise knowing where the screws and bolts are, so we can build this thing.

I've been schmoozed by almost every label. One of the things is we just can't put our thumb on you. And basically, what they're telling me is, we're afraid that you're gonna flip a switch and start doing some shit that we can't sell. Which is a very good fear for them to have, but also super irrational. Why would I want to do that? It’s dumb. But, that's what they feel because when they see articles about me, like, Jean Dawson, you can't figure him out. He's such a mystery. Nah, dawg, I'm just a black kid with some ideas, man. I don't know how much of a mystery that is. Are we so afraid to just do something? Bowie was never afraid to do something. I mean, at least from the outside. My government name is David. Act accordingly.

Do you think it ever does get in the way of progress, musically?

No, musically it doesn't get in the way. It gets in the way of me being super famous if that's what the idea was. Because it's like, do "Power Freaks" a hundred times, over and over and over again. And then tour it, over and over and over again. And then turn 32 and hang yourself in your bathroom. No, thank you. I'd rather not hang myself in my bathroom. I'd rather be 34 with my children, that I am speaking into existence of me having, and starting them on fencing practice. And being like, yo, we can go do this? Or, you wanna play field hockey? Or, you wanna paint? Cool. Let's do that. Instead of being 34 years old, being an alcoholic and being strung out on drugs because I hate myself. I feel like that's how I would feel about myself. So maybe that's an easier way of saying I've chosen not to be a fucking megastar. I've chosen to just impress myself first. And if people catch on to that, that's cool, but if they don't, it's also fine.

In an ideal world, how would people come to your music?

A friend just tells them about it. Just a friend of a friend. I don't mind if they put me in a playlist or category or anything like that. Especially not at the top of New Music Friday. Top three, I love that position. That position is great. Thank you, Spotify.  Maybe because I find music differently, I don't use platforms for music discovery. I just let it happen. Somebody up in the studio will be like, have you heard this? And I'm like, what the fuck is this? This is amazing. Then I obsess over it for two weeks. And then I'm a fan for life, but it's not forced down my throat because I like this other artist.

Algorithms are tight. They're just not always right. if you want to get slick, and dicey with it, make a trap playlist. Make a Southern trap playlist. Make a New York drill playlist. Make a UK drill playlist. Those all exist. Okay, get even deeper. Make a South London drill playlist. And you can get deeper and deeper and deeper. And maybe it makes it hard for people to find things. Or just put them all under an umbrella and everybody have a good time and don't think about it. And that's what 95 percent of people are doing, which is totally fine. I'm just the 5 percent of people. As much as you try and tell me that Katy Perry should go next to Olivia Rodrigo? I don't think so.

Someone is like, Jean, I love you, and then they'll name three other artists that I sound nothing like. You guys are all black and do weird things. It's like, do we? Cool. I don't agree. I don't think we sound anything the same. It's like, oh Jean Dawson makes bedroom pop. How? That's a live organ. There's a live organ in my bedroom? That's crazy. Jean Dawson makes trap music. How? Well, look at your skin. You're black. You make trap music, right? Jean Dawson is punk rock. How? I've never called myself punk rock. I know punk rock. I know people that are punk rock. I like cleaning under my fingernails, man.

Do you think that leaves you underrated?

Nah, man, I don't care. I think I'm wherever God wants me to be. And I think I should be perceived however people want to. If people listen to my music, that's awesome. If they don't, that's also awesome. I also think that I take the same heaviness or weight of shit that they probably do in their day, in terms of how much they defecate, and what it looks like when they wipe, it's the same. So, whether I'm popular, not popular, doesn't fucking matter. I'm going to lie in a grave, just like everybody else. And until that time, I'm going to fucking make some music. If people dig it, awesome. If they don't dig it, more awesome. Go listen to fucking somebody that cares more than I do.


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