“I leave my stamp everywhere I go” states Jean-Mikhael with quiet confidence. “I would never want someone to hear me on the radio, and for them to say ‘who’s that?’”
Growing up in London, JM was plunged into a family bursting with creativity. His Grenadian-born mother worked as Boney M.’s hair stylist back in the day and passed on the tales of Jean-Mikhael’s late grandad – a saxophonist who played in Chicago’s live music scene – to the rest of the family. His dad, who lives in France, was also musical, and from day one he was surrounded by relatives mastering everything from making ballet shoes to playing the accordion. “Everything was creative,” he explains.
It’s a lesson JM has carried with him to the present day. As well as taking influence from Michael Jackson – whose shoes he occupied for 8 months as a young actor – he continually finds himself looking to Prince, Beyoncé, and TLC; all formidable artistic powerhouses who command stages with the sheer force of their personalities, express themselves with bold fashion, and who refuse to be contained within boxes. “Everything has to be a show,” he says. “As an artist, image is everything.”
Debut EP ‘The Deal’ is all about boundless expression. Theatricality and striking visuals centre his music; a diverse melting pot of sensual R’n’B, intimate songwriting and innovative, glossy pop production. Songwriting – at once exposed and empowering – draws on past troubles, and emerges from the storm with his head held high.