HTGAWM’s Jack Falahee discusses lessons learnt from the LGBTQ community in FAULT Issue 25

 

Photography by Joseph Sinclair
Styling by Angel Terrazas
Grooming by Mishelle Parry at Celestine Agency

Jack Falahee ‘Playing Connor | Finding Jack’

Words: Miles Holder

How To Get Away With Murder first appeared on our screens in 2014 and is to this day one of America’s most progressive and expertly written television dramas. Oscar award winning actress, Viola Davis stars as the powerful, female, African-American lawyer without a defined sexuality nor reason to explain one. As an African American female actress, she will no-doubt have faced similar prejudices to that of the character she plays; however the same can not be said for the whole cast. Enter, Jack Falahee. Despite years of training at prestigious acting schools, it was the role of a homosexual college student, Connor Walsh that would provide Jack with a clear and untilfiltered glimpse into the LGBTQ community. It’s a credit to Jack’s skills as an actor, that Connor’s character and his sometimes turbulent relationship with his HIV-positive fiancee have created strong discussions within and outside of the LGBTQ community. With that in mind, I sat down with Jack to find out what the character that means so much to so many different people – means to him.

You’ve got an impressive resume – you’ve studied so many different acting methods, what is it about television and the screen that mean you’ve gone down that route?

When I was at NYU I was originally admitted to study musical theatre but when I started hanging out with kids who had grown up with ballet classes and vocal coaches, I quickly realised I was a bit out of my depths. If I felt that way in a class of forty students, then going to an open audition for a broadway show was going to be a nightmare; and it was and I was cut very quickly.

I went to Amsterdam and studied the experimental theatre and then Shakespeare in the States but when I got into television acting, I was really inspired by the technical side of it. I grew up enjoying movies but when I started studying it I became aware of angles, what “the shot” was and just everything that is done to make a screenplay come to life. That really fascinated me and will likely lead to me producing and directing in my future.

What period of Connor’s character resonated with you the most?

Fundamentally he and I are very competitive and also very jealous people – it’s something which I’m personally working on but I don’t think Connor is! I grew up with 3 siblings and 2 brothers who are all wildly brilliant and whilst it was a house full of love, it was also incredibly competitive so I definitely relate to Connor in that way.

When you first got the role, did you think the show would have such an impact?

Frankly, you’re not thinking about that when you’re a struggling actor; you’re thinking about getting a job so you can pay rent and survive so I never really sat down and considered I’d be spending years of my life on the project.

I’m still not over how the much of an impact the show has made and a lot of that is Connor’s character and his importance to fans. It’s emblematic of my straight privilege, but I never thought his character would be so important to the LGBTQ community. When the finale came out and Oliver proposed to Connor, seeing the Twitter reaction was so overwhelming and I was just overjoyed at how meaningful the character is to people.

What are the best lessons you’ve learnt from your fans?

100% opening my eyes to the LGBTQ struggle and I can’t stress that enough. Going into this, it was never written on the page that “Connor Walsh is a homosexual”; so when it came to the first love scene I just thought, “wow this guy is willing to do whatever it takes to get ahead” and now I know that was the heteronormativity in my mind back then that was rationalising this whole aspect of his character. It wasn’t until Pete Nowalk was like “oh no, Connor is gay” that I’ve been really trying to become a student of the history of LGBTQ rights and learning more about the struggle of those in the past and in the present day.  I asked Pete and my friends for a reading list on LGBTQ history because one of my favourite aspects about being an actor is that I’m continually having to learn about things I’ve been very uneducated on in the past. I’ve grown up with friends and family who aren’t straight white males so it was important for me  to do Connor’s character justice. The outpouring of love from the fans was so gratifying and humbling for me. Receiving messages from fans saying “Connor & Oliver helped me come out to my parents” is deeply rewarding and to be any small part of the courage needed to come out will forever be a blessing to me.

Are you comfortable with your sex symbol status?

No! Well, it depends [laughs]. I go back and forth on this, on one hand, it’s a great boost to my confidence but on the other hand, it’s a very vulnerable thing to be. Women live their lives being objectified and reduced to just their bodies every day and it is awful so I’ve been discussing it with the women close to me. I obviously can never understand how women can go through life that way but I can see a glimpse of what that experience might feel like and it’s not a nice one.

Nine times out of ten, it’s all good fun and nice things are being said but that 10% of the time when people disregard my space or my wellbeing is not okay. People tell me “that’s what you signed up for” and I really don’t think it is! I was this chubby, awkward kid and now I’m a sex symbol with the help of great makeup and lighting experts making me look a certain way on tv and magazines.

What is FAULT?

I think that there is a part of me which is always seeking validation which is very informative of why I’ve become an actor; regardless of what might happen, I think I’ll always be seeking approval.

Read Jack’s full interview and see more exclusive photographs only in FAULT’s Special #25

AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER NOW

FAULT Focus: Further Reading with the Editors of Ladybeard Magazine


Starting at the beginning, where did the idea for Ladybeard come from?

Ladybeard was borne out of a frustration with the mainstream – we take underrepresented and misrepresented topics and open them up to fresh feminist perspectives.

Launching a magazine (especially a print magazine) in the past decade has been risky business. What drives and inspires you to keep creating?

Ladybeard is purely driven by passion – we make it in and around our full-time jobs. Sometimes it’s hard to see the sense, but it always feels worth it once the magazine is made. We are driven by the need for thoughtful, interrogating, inclusive reportage that stimulates people – while there is still a need for this, we are inspired to carry on with the magazine.

Ladybeard is a glossy magazine however you’re a far cry from the “How to keep your man” “how to be thin and nothing else” titles on newsstands. What thought process in particular led to you choosing the glossy format for Ladybeard?

We love the way a glossy feels, looks, its weight, its texture. The abstract qualities of a glossy – its luxuriant, covetable, personal qualities – very much inform the format of Ladybeard. We don’t, however, like the harmful and narrow messages it so often perpetuates.

What would you say was the main goal of Ladybeard?

To reimagine topics that so define us, but that have been reduced to simple, white, cis, exclusionary forms, like ‘sex’ and the ‘mind’ and in this way offer something exciting and interesting to readers. Something that better reflects their world and their experience of the world.

Can you talk us through your thought process when choosing your issue themes? 

In some ways sex was obvious: it permeates all media, in particular the pages of women’s glossies, and dominates feminist discourse. So we started there, with something explicit, controversial, and present. In contrast, there was a distinct lack of discussion surrounding the ‘mind’ when we chose it for our second issue. The move from ‘sex’ to ‘mind’ was a move inward, to something more introspective and intangible.

In late 2016 you released your Mind Issue which (by our interpretation) challenged the notion of binary thinking. However people need to be willing to be enlightened before they can reflect on the issues raised in the magazine – is it hard tackling the “ignorance barrier” many erect when faced with new ways of thinking?

Perhaps it’s a case of preaching to the converted, but we have only received positive messages to the issue. We try, as far as possible to encompass a multitude of voices and experiences, rather than force a particular agenda on our readers. Yes, the magazine as a whole challenges the notion of binary thinking, but we don’t feel that to be the most challenging thing in the magazine – over the recent years, we’ve seen a huge cultural shift in our understanding of the self and gender. Binary thinking is more often rejected, and constantly held up to scrutiny.

With your issues selling out and events receiving rave reviews, it’s easy for an onlooker to say that Ladybeard is enjoying a lot of success. However, on a more personal level, how do you define a successful issue? 

It’s difficult to say, we’ve only made two issues and they each took a year! From the outside it may appear that Ladybeard enjoys traditional standards of success, however we make no money from the issues, and for 6 months of the year work nights and weekends to pack it all in. It sounds clichéd but what really matters is the magazine – as long as we are honestly happy with everything that has gone in, then we feel it’s a success.

What can we expect to see from Ladybeard in the coming months?

Another snail-paced race to make a magazine – this time our theme is beauty.

*What scares you about the year ahead?

Ha! Aside from the disintegration of safe spaces for any marginalised community and the implementation of divisive, repressive policies on a global scale, we feel a little scared about doing the issue all over again, about making it work, about growing up.

…and in contrast, what are you excited for in 2017?

Making another issue, seeing where it takes us.

Could you pin-point a single book, movie, talk that impacted the way you saw the world? 

A lot of people on the team would say Susie Orbach’s ‘Fat is a Feminist Issue’ – reading that while still a teenager was incredible formative.

What are your FAULTs?  

We’re impatient and critical and never satisfied.

 

Words: Miles Holder

Read more about Ladybeard on www.ladybeardmagazine.co.uk 

SONNY curates FAULT Magazine Playlist of the week

Despite not legally allowed to drink in the UK until last week, Sonny’s voice is filled with the rich tones of the jazz singer whose spent years perfecting his craft in smoky jazz dens. His debut single entitled ‘Princess’ oozes with soul whilst containing elements of folk and jazz all rolled up in a modern pop ballad for contemporary audiences.

“My first release ‘Princess’ is a very personal song about a challenging relationship. It’s a little tongue in cheek but I’ve tried to be as honest as possible and I hope that shows throughout the lyrics in this song.”

Produced by Rum And Bug, Princess is taken from Sonny’s upcoming EP, ‘Hopeless Romance’ that drops on the March 24th. (Preorder available HERE)

We wanted to find out how a young performer could be imbued with such old-school soul and what better way to find out than to have Sonny curate this weeks FAULT Playlist below!

 

Stevie Wonder – He’s misstra know it all 

This song has always been a big part of my life, it’s one of my Mums favourite songs and artist. I’ve been influenced by Stevie Wonder from such a young age but out of all of his songs, this one really stands out for me. It’s quite a serious song until he lets loose at the end and adds in some really fun and jokey vocals. Only Stevie could do this! It’s really iconic.

 

Drake – Hold on we’re going home 

This song was when I first discovered Drake, and it’s the song I’ll always remember him for. It’s quite different to what he usually does but the melodies are so catchy and powerful. He is always very understated yet powerful at the same time. This song makes me want to get up and dance.

 

Paolo Nutini – Loving you.

 

Paolo has such a distinctive voice and I love it! So I had to buy the album. After a few car journeys I stumbled across this tune and never looked back. It was so relevant at the time because I was in a really happy place.

 

Penny and the Quarters – You and Me

 

This song featured in a movie called ‘Blue Valentine’. I fell in love with it instantly, it’s so old school and soulful. Right up my street!! With one female vocal accompanied by several males, I found it really unique. I love the story behind this song and how it was discovered. 

 

John Martyn – May you never.

I was introduced to John Martyn by my Dad who is also an acoustic guitar player/ singer. He would teach me how to play it and then I added it into my set list! Its really folk and a different type of songwriting which I liked. 

 

Coldplay – Everything’s not lost

Coldplay have always been one of my favourite bands. This song is typical Coldplay! A slow build up throughout the whole song and then a big finish. It helped me out through a tough time, I would just sit and listen to it on repeat. It’s from the album ‘Parachutes’ which I feel really defined Coldplay and is kind of my favourite albums. 

 

 

Sonny On the web

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Preview: Camila Cabello on the cover of FAULT Magazine Issue 25

Photography: Giuliano Bekor | Styling: Cat Wennekamp | Hair: Marcus Francis | Makeup: Allan Avendano | Nail Tec: Kim Truong

Despite still being very much within its infancy, Camila Cabello‘s solo career has already been rather unfairly mired in rumours surrounding her choice to split from her former girl group, ‘Fifth Harmony’. From the day Camila announced her departure, wild speculation and venomous allegations flew through the airwaves with no comment of ill from either party; seemingly the narrative of five bickering women proved more newsworthy than that of them respecting each other’s career choices. Nevertheless, Camila moves graciously through the attempted adumbration of negativity into the spotlight and onto our issue cover. With an AMA, VMA and countless other awards under her belt as part of Fifth Harmony and seldom mentioned co-writing credits for acclaimed artists Machine Gun Kelly and Shawn Mendes respectively, the sky is the limit for Camila Cabello. With that in mind, we sat down to find out more about the pressures and pleasures of going it alone.

Words: Miles Holder

 

Hi Camila, what’s been the scariest part of transitioning to a solo artist?

I think the scariest part about it is leaving a successful project to pursue a new dream with a path full of questions of self-discovery that only you can answer. But even when I feel so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of my former group, expressing myself as an artist became a necessity.

 

Do you feel a lot of pressure to have to get everything perfect?

I’ve always felt pressure to get everything perfect, and I’ve never gotten there, but I think that’s what keeps me growing, and keeps me frustrated with myself and keeps me reaching. I think if you’re ever comfortable and think “wow. This is it. I’ve figured it out.” , you stop trying and you stop growing.

What should fans expect to hear from your new music?

They are going to feel who I am. They are going to get a chunk of my heart, my experiences, my fantasies and everything in between.

 

What do you have lined up musically for 2017?

We’ll be touring worldwide for the rest of the year.

 

If you could describe the sound in 3 words, what would it be?

I couldn’t possibly boil it all down to three words but it will be me in sound form.

It feels like you’ve been working non-stop for the past 5 year, where did you find the time to prepare for your solo career in that time?

I was always writing, not necessarily for myself, but just because I really wanted to be a songwriter. I think as I was writing I found my own voice as an artist and as a person, and I’m discovering more about it every day.

 

What’s been the best part of the solo journey so far?

Working with so many talented writers and producers and following my own musical vision. I love the ability to create something out of nothing altogether.

 

You’re a young artist and it’s a very tough industry, where is your happy place when it all becomes too much?

My family and movies.

If you could give any advice to you younger self, what would it be?

Everything has to happen the way it’s going to happen so that other things can occur. And also, don’t be so hard on yourself.

 

There’s a lot of pressure on young artists (female performers especially) to be forced by the media to act a certain way or become bullied into dressing a certain way. What’s something you would never apologise for?

I think it’s important to make your own decisions about what feels right to you and follow your inner voice. Never compromise if it doesn’t feel right.

 

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Everything is temporary and life has seasons of its own. Just like flowers don’t bloom all the time, there are moments of sadness and happiness, struggle and joy, and being human means feeling all of it, even in the bad times, so that you’re that much more grateful for the good times when they come.

 

What are your plans for the rest of 2017?

I hope to release my first few songs before summer and then go from there and hopefully an album in the Fall.

 

What is your FAULT?

Overthinking, worrying about things that may not be in my control and not being present. I am sometimes too hard on myself and I get frustrated with how sensitive and emotional I can get, but I’m learning to love myself a little more during the times when I am sad or insecure, and I just remind myself that feeling those emotions is just a part of being human, and we have to love all the parts of our humanity, because they’re not there to hurt us, they’re there to make us understand ourselves a little better.

 

Read Camila Cabello’s full interview and see more exclusive photographs only in FAULT’s Special #25

 

Kehlani: Focused, Fashionable and FAULTY in FAULT Magazine #25 Covershoot

 

Photography by Jacob Hodgkinson
Styling by Rachel Holland
Makeup by Nicky Weir
Hairstyling by Stefan Bertin
Styling assistance by Ines Oom, Tara Theiss & Stephanie – Min Hua Choo

Kehlani – ‘A Rise With Grace’

Words: Miles Holder

The rise of Kehlani hasn’t been an easy one; at every stage in her career she has been given a new cross to bear or obstacle to climb but despite all her hardships, she has always emerged triumphant. Releasing her critically acclaimed debut album ‘SweetSexySavage’ in January 2017 and currently on her highly rated world tour, while it’s been a long time coming, it would seem that Kehlani is finally seeing the fruits of her many years of hard labour. Speaking with a delicate manner but a hardened confidence far beyond her 21 years of age, we sat down to find out more about one of R&B’s most exciting artists.

Looking back, were you happy with how your album did?

I think it was really good for the time that it came out. There was a lot of negative commotion happening especially in my country with the US election so I think that something easy and positive was definitely needed at that time.

You air your personal feelings and fears out there on the album, is it hard to expose so much emotion for the world to hear?

With me, it’s all or nothing; go hard or go home. We all as know what’s really going on and people will feel it if it’s not really me on the track. I want to make people feel through my music – we all put up with fake shit all the time so I wanted to contribute something that’s the real me.

Music has always been your life and it’s something you’ve been working on for so long, did that not put a lot of pressure on you to succeed when dropping new music?

For me, the pressure doesn’t come from outside people, it’s all what I put on myself in the creative process. I’m asking myself “Could I hit that note better” or “should I shift beats differently”, but I’m not thinking about the sales-numbers because that doesn’t really matter. I just worry about making sure whatever I’m working on is a better project than the last.

How do you deal with the pressure of all the show business?

I’m doing so much that I never have time to really stop and think about it all. I don’t have the focus and it’s hard to manage but at the end of the day, it’s got to get done! Ain’t non of this shit easy for anyone.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I’d tell myself to just stay focused and get as much rest as you can because you’re about to turn up! [laughs] But seriously, I’d tell myself to learn how to prioritise myself and to learn how to protect my energy. If I had entered the industry with more knowledge on self, how to protect myself and emotional take care of my life then things would have been much easier.

Being a sensitive, open and loving person has definitely led to some downfalls but I do wish I’d learnt some emotional grounding as a kid but I don’t beat myself up about it because it’s hard and most people don’t even learn half of that until they’re old.

When you shut your eyes and you think of your perfect future, what is it?

I want to be a mum. I want to have my kids and just settle down. If I keep going as fast as I’ve been going, I’m going to be over it and it’ll be time for the quiet life one day.

What’s your message to all young people out there who might have gone through or are going through the same struggles you have?

Don’t let the world discourage you or let the things that weigh on your shoulders crush you. Know that for me, it’s really hard and as a woman especially because we’re so caring and we have large hearts which make us want to fix the unfixable and carry a weight too large to bear. I just hope everyone out there knows to just breathe through it and to take everything at their own pace. Most importantly, people should never forget to take care of themselves.

What is your FAULT?

I don’t know how to answer that because I’m so human and I never stop to imagine that I’d only ever have one fault. We all have FAULTs, being twenty-one-years-old reminds me that I’m human because I’m pretty sure I have a fuck up every single day. I can’t think of just one thing -that’s my FAULT.

Read Kehlani’s full interview and see more exclusive photographs only in FAULT’s Special #25

AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER NOW

FAULT Magazine Issue 25 Preview: Counterfeit. – Together We Are Stronger

 

 

Surely you remember the Counterfeit. boys fronted by our FAULT issue 22 Cover Jamie Campbell Bower. Long story short, they’re basically part of the FAULT family now. When we last caught up, the boys were only just releasing their debut EP. Well, fast-forward six months and they’ve got a brand new record out. We caught up again with the group and here’s a little teaser for what’s about to come out in our FAULT Issue 25. 

 


It’s been 6 months since we last caught up and back then you were only just releasing your EP. Look at us now, with you guys releasing your debut album! What’s the vibe in the Counterfeit. camp at the moment?

Jamie: It’s pretty good. We’ve made an album over the past six months since we saw you last. We’ve sort of been gearing up for the release ever since, while being locked away in a tiny room.

Now that you’ve got a full body of work that represents Counterfeit. if we were to listen to your EP back to back with your album, would we notice any differences?

Tristan: Yes definitely, it’s a step up from our EP. Mitch, the guy who we worked with on our album, is really talented. He’s worked with people like Rattlesnakes and the sound that he’s created for us is really raw.

Jamie: The album in comparison to the EP is a lot tighter and closer. Sonically, it’s a lot beefier and thicker than what we’ve done before. The sound that we wanted for the album compared to the EP comes from this love of a nice kick and a heavy snare rather than a roomy sound, so that’s definitely a step up in terms of how we went about it. But it’s still very much Counterfeit. It hasn’t changed. There’s room for mistakes in the record and those moments of ‘Oh what’s that?’ are really nice on an album. As opposed to, you know, something general and clean-cut from beginning to end.

 

I remember you were saying that most of your songs come from a very personal and honest place. Which one was the hardest for you to write and put out there and what’s the back-story?

Jamie: There are a few out there that are quite tough. The record opens with a song called ‘Washed Out’ and that’s a reflection of a period of my life from about 15 to 26 when my life was going in a direction and I didn’t really know which way it was going. I would actively do things that were negative that would have a negative impact on my life. Just the way that I acted or certain actions that I did, I wasn’t really ready to accept life on life’s terms. It was more about blowing everything up, because I didn’t really feel I had control. I was always trying to put a brave face on, like ‘No, I’m fine, I’m cool, I’m grand!’ But the past like two and a half years, I think all of us collectively just did some growing up. I also made some significant changes in my life, in regards to the way I behaved and the things that I did. ‘Washed Out’ was probably one of the first tracks that I wrote. It was a tough song to write. It’s hard to talk about being a mess and it’s not an easy thing to look back on.

 

What was the most difficult part of producing this record? You already had quite a solid body of work beforehand, but surely there must’ve been times when you felt stuck.

Sam: We all had moments when we went away from it for a little and when we came back we could discuss what troubles we had with the others with a clear head. We work quite well together when it comes to communicating ideas.

Jamie: There was one song – You Can’t Rely – that we’ve never played live, it was written at home and it was still very much in demo format. The chorus part needed to be changed and as soon as we got into the studio we realized that it needed some work. But it wasn’t like something that took a week to get over; we did it in like 4 hours. But the record was made quite quickly; it just took a while to find the time to do it, because we’ve all got our own things going on. But if you were to accumulate all the time that we spent together, it basically just took us 25 days to make a record. And I think that’s a really important factor in terms of what this record is. It’s frantic and struggling to survive and I think recording it over such a sort time-span contributed to those feelings.

 

Come March-April – you’re going back on the road again. Will we see anything different from Counterfeit on stage?

Jamie: I think the show this time is going to get like bigger and better. We’re getting our own technicians in to do our stuff for us. This band is very much home grown and passion grown, so it’s very important to us to have our own people with us on the road. We want to continue to take the show to bigger and better places. The way that we see it and the way that we see it in our minds is like a huge fucking rock show, and that’s what it needs to be and that’s what we have to provide for these people. We’ve done the tours already, it’s great, cool, and fun, call it whatever and we want to step it up. We want to give it the beans in terms of visuals as well. But yeah, Sam will definitely be put in danger again. I’m thinking less boat this time. I don’t know, maybe an inflatable whale.

Sam: Or just floating from above. Hang me from a cable. Sounds fun.

 

 Without getting political – but taking into account the current political climate, you come across as the kind of band who is not afraid to speak up. Now that people have something to rebel against, is this an area you’re willing to explore?

Jamie: I don’t think we are the kind of band that is afraid to speak up. We are reactive to what we experience and what we’re shown around us. Would I be afraid to take it into a political direction? No. But would I consciously make an effort to be a beacon? I don’t think I would do that either because I’m sure as shit no pillar of morality myself. Of course there are some horrifically negative people in this world and the things that are happening around us right now tare very scary. I think that maybe if we feel the desire and burning passion to make a socio-political comment on that, then we should and it would be right to do so. But I would never force us to go into that direction. It wouldn’t be a conscious thought. If we were to do it and if we had to do it, it would have to be genuine.

Roland: Another interesting thing is the fact that the album is called ‘Together We Are Stronger’ and for us, it’s like a thank you to our fans. But at the same time it’s a message of unity and coming together. We seem to just live in a world where people just cut you off and simply don’t care. Our message is basically that whoever you are, it’s all good.

Jamie: The world does feel very fractious. I definitely get the sense of fracture and isolation and I think that’s terrifying. Because I don’t come from a place where I want to live on my own and lock all my door and shut all my windows. I’m not a small-minded individual. I truly believe in acceptance, love, understanding and peace.

And on that happy note, have you guys acquired any new FAULTs over the past few months?

Sam: I’m still losing things! I’m losing fewer things though cause I’m taking less things with me.

Jamie: He’s losing less things cause he lost most things already.

Roland: I used to be very good at bowling, but last time I went I lost, so that’s a fault.

Jamie: Over the last six months, I think I’ve been under a lot of pressure and haven’t actually managed to deal with stress in a positive way. I let it get to a point where I just blew up.

Tristan: My fault was disappearing for two days while doing the album.

Jimmy: I’m perfect.

You can order Together We Are Stronger here – available NOW

In anticipation for FAULT Issue 25 – check out an exclusive behind the scenes video with Counterfeit. More to come!

 

Words: Adina Ilie

Photography: Chris Moore

Photography Assistant: Matthew Lloyd
Grooming : Fabio Vivan using Bumble and bumble and grooming with Braun
SPECIAL THANKS TO TAPE LONDON – TAPE LODGE

 

John Legend X FAULT Magazine Issue 25 Covershoot

John Legend discusses La La Land, Trump’s America and family values in FAULT Magazine #25 ‘US Special’

 

 

For this special edition issue, we’ve teamed up some of the USA’s most talented migrant photographers with popular stars in entertainment who have managed to excel despite growing racist, homophobic and sexist sentiment in the land they call home.
 Check back with FAULT Magazine next week for our second reveal!

 

Casting my mind back to 2005 and the re-emergence of outlandishly dressed musicians and over-the-top performances that had to be done for a fleeting spot in the top 20; it’s humbling that one shy man and his piano have stood the test of time. Fast-forward to 2017 and John Legend is now a household name with six albums under his belt, a family and most recently starred in and executively produced the Oscar-tipped blockbuster movie ‘La La Land’. I caught up with John to discuss music, family life and fears to discover if “Legend” is more than just a name.

Words by Miles Holder

Photography Lionel Deluy @loveartistsagency | Styling by Cat Wennekamp at Celestine Agency| Grooming by Juanita Lyon using Baxter of California at Celestine Agency | Retouching by Julia Idiar | Special Thank You to US Alteration for use of their location

How do you think you’ve changed as a person since your debut all those years ago?

I’ve grown up a lot in the last twelve years and had a lot more life experiences. Getting married and having a baby have added new perspectives and depth to the subjects I sing about too. Just from living in the world and seeing more contemporary issues have added new layers to my music which weren’t there before.

 

What advice would you give to your younger self?

My life has turned out pretty well so I wouldn’t change much but I would want myself to be bolder growing up. I was shy in college and I would tell myself to be more willing to come out of my shell and dare to be confident.

 

You’re married with a baby daughter; do you think the positivity they bring to your life spreads throughout the album?

I think I’ve always been an optimistic person and I think that streak of optimism runs through each of my albums. I think there is just more depth to what I’m feeling because everything means more to me now I have a wife and daughter. Everything is more significant and I’m thinking more philosophically about things and thinking about life and death a lot more. Before what I sang about were my ambitions of making money, getting girls and having fun which was a lot more selfish but now I have better perspective and depth on what’s really important in life.

 

Raising a bi-racial daughter in Trump’s America, does that scare you?

Hopefully “Trump’s America” won’t last very long and we get him out of here within the next four years. By the time Luna is old enough to be aware of what is happening, America would have elected a far better president. Trump promised to do things which are really bad for the country and some which are good and the hope is he’ll just do the good parts but I don’t have a lot of faith in him.  I’m just hoping for the best and when we need to resist and speak out, we need to hit the streets and do it. For now, I’m more worried for the people less fortunate than my daughter, people who might lose their healthcare or get excluded because of the colour of their skin, their religion and country of origin.

 

Fans have differing ideas of what a John Legend album should sound like. Is that added pressure when it comes to releasing new music?

Not everyone is going to be happy with every album and with every song but when I put music out, I do it with the confidence that my fans will love it or at least give it a chance. The feedback from Darkness and Light has been amazing and it has been my best-reviewed album to date. When I was finishing it, a lot of my friends felt like it was my best work and I felt the same so I was more excited that nervous for people to hear it. I don’t go too much into numbers and charts, what’s important is that people love it and I’ve heard they do.

From the album title, I presumed the songs would be either extremely high octane songs or heart-wrenching ballads but listening to the lyrics, for the most part, it’s an uplifting album and I wondered if that was always your intention?

I think what the title means to me is that darkness and lightness always coexist and theirs a push and pull and it’s not really about one song being dark and one being light as you said you expected, it’s about mixing it all into one song. In Surefire I talk about a nightmare but regardless “I’m surefire” and that’s me inviting darkness and light into one song.

 

What scares John Legend?

Rats! I’m really scared of rodents.

 

La La Land has received rave reviews, how was that whole experience?

I loved it and it was really fun to be a part of it. I loved working with Ryan and I didn’t work much with Emma but she’s a wonderful actress and did great in the movie. It was a really cool experience and to be part of something so special and meaningful to so many people.

 

What is your FAULT?

I don’t like confrontation. Sometimes that’s good because I’m good at keeping the peace but when in times when you have to confront things head on I’ve never been good at that.

 

Read John Legends full interview and see more exclusive photographs only in FAULT’s Special #25

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“Transient” – FAULT Magazine Exclusive Online Editorial

Photographer: Jack Eames
Stylist: Bernard Connolly
Hair: Darren Ambrose
Makeup: Kelly Sadler
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