From a young age, Jimmy Nevis knew that he would be involved in the music industry.
“Making a living out of music was always my dream. But when I was younger, I wasn’t as self-assured as I am today,” says the artist.
“I’m so grateful I was able to build the confidence to pursue music in my own right as a performer, songwriter and producer, and also to grow in those roles. “I’m so fortunate to be able to make a living out of my passion.
I’ve been able to grow, travel and experience so many different cultures.
I’ve been able to realise the first few levels of my dreams – and there’s still so much more I want to do,” he adds when talking about his meteoric rise to fame. While it might be his first love, music is not Nevis’ only passion.
His fashion brand, York Yard, celebrates the heritage and future of South Africa by collaborating with young South African artists. Aside from his creative endeavours, Nevis has founded philanthropic initiative Blue Collar Foundation.
“The Blue Collar Foundation is all about inspiring the youth. So far, we’ve been able to put three students through tertiary level education.
We launched the #1to100 campaign this year, our mission being to put 100 learners through tertiary education.” Six years’ experience appears to have given the 26-year-old wisdom beyond his years when it comes to dealing with successes and challenges.
“For every success, there’s a challenge. It’s about finding the balance between the two.
“Coming from a major label, I was fortunate to get to see and experience how the music industry in South Africa works.
I was then able to take that template and use it in my own way as an independent artist. Being an independent artist is challenging; it’s not just about control and ownership. You also spend a lot of your own money.”
This sagacity shows through again when Nevis speaks about how technology is changing the industry and the opportunities it creates for artists.
“There’s a lot of direct information that is now accessible to artists. Technology in the music industry comes down to accessibility.
We’re living in a time where everyone has access to a variety of resources at their fingertips.
“Where artists once strived to be part of record labels to be playlisted on radio, we’re now going straight for playlists that are linked to streaming services.
That’s where you’ll get exposure and find a following, and where you’ll find important data and analytics.
As an artist, you’ll be able to say ‘Oh, my song is doing really well in New York, maybe I should go and perform there.’”
Jimmy Nevis has jumped at every opportunity that has presented itself to him. It’s this mindset that he advises artists seeking to enter the industry to adopt: “Take advantage of every opportunity.
Put out content, put out music videos, put out behind-the-scenes footage, put out your process.
We live in such a transparent society, and a lot of people will be drawn to the process.” He adds that there are few better ways to achieve that success than by acting:
“If you truly believe in becoming a musician, figure out what your message is, figure out what your sound is, and go for it.”
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