Jovan Landry • "Make It Hot"

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Dubbed as an “interdisciplinary artist,” Jovan Landry has been paying dues in the Chicago hip-hop scene for several years. The rapper/photographer/filmmaker started to gain some traction in 2016 after releasing her “Social Media Girls” music video and collaborating with Mykele Deville. She capitalized on that hype in 2017 by performing at high profile venues and notable festivals while also releasing her long-awaited LP Growth. As made clear by the record’s title, Jovan matured as a writer and artist on the project, touching on subject matter that she hadn’t previously explored. One major topic she addressed on the album was her sexuality, which she raps about on the project’s biggest earworm “Make It Hot.” The song serves as the second music video released from the project, and it marks the first time she passed along directorial duties to another filmmaker – director Savannah Cannistraro.

Photo byUsman Khan

It is common for artists to hype up a project before its release, by dropping music videos and promotional clips, and it’s equally as common for artists to put a halt on promoting a project after it’s out to the public. Since the release of Growth in October 2017, Jovan has kept the project relevant and current by releasing videos of her breaking down each track from the project. “You gotta keep the album and the concept of Growth relevant,” she says about the ongoing rollout after the LP’s release. “Growth never stops, and I want to make sure that people don’t forget that. With this album in particular, This album is not even a year old yet, so I want to make sure I continue riding the wave and illustrating my words through visuals so that folks can understand the importance of the song and its message.”

To know more about Jovan and her new video check out the Q&A below!

Can you further elaborate on the concept for the “Make It Hot” video?

The concept for “Make It Hot” is where I’m being pursued both by the same and opposite sex in the club. I’m attracted to both parties, but I’m having a hard time deciding who I really like. There’s really no decision made in the end, but I wanted to explore this reality of those who are attracted to many types of people.

Was it challenging to write a song like “Make It Hot” where you talk about your sexuality?

It was for sure. I’m not used to talking about my sexuality in my music. I wasn’t sure how I’d be perceived, since I’m usually not that open about that side of me. But I felt like this type of narrative should be heard. We usually hear about the two extremes (hetero driven songs or gay driven songs), but what about the people who fall in the middle? I remember a queer woman of color suggesting that I make music that can resonate with other queer people, so a song like “Make It Hot” was going to resonate with my queer supporters.

Why did you choose to make a music video for this song?

As nervous as I was to put it out, it’s actually a favorite song to many. It’s the most played song off the Growth album via SoundCloud and Spotify. And then a few of my bandmates were pushing that I do a music video to this. So I figured, “Why not?” I wanna give what the people want.

As a filmmaker yourself, was it difficult to work with another director for “Make It Hot”?

I pretty much laid the groundwork for this visual: Creating concept, scouting out locations, actors and crew, so it was all a matter of having the filmmakers bring it to life. During the shoot I was able to focus on being the artist, which was amazing. This video shoot has been the most complex music video I’ve ever had done for any of my songs. Usually I don’t put too much thought into having an amazing production for my videos, and now I know how important it is to have a director and a crew.

It’s been a little over half a year since Growth came out, how do you feel about the project after it’s been out a while?

I feel like this is the best project I’ve put out thus far. I’ve never really promoted my music in such a way like having a release show, commentary series, photoshoots, music videos & merch. I definitely topped myself from my previous work. I am very proud of myself, the feedback and press that has come from it.

Since the release of Growth, you’ve released a series of videos breaking down each song off of the album. What made you want to release these videos after the project has been out?

I love learning about an artist’s creative process. I was very much inspired by VH1’s Behind The Music where we see the coming of age of an artist. Also I was little inspired by how Love and Hip Hop is shot (don’t judge me), but how they have the reality tv stars give their input on what happened in the particular moment we are seeing. I also was very inspired by video series and how they have artists break down their lyrics. So I made sure that every time I went to the studio, I document everything. It’s great to look back on, and for up and coming up artists like myself… It’s rare to even see that caught on camera, so I wanted to document my process for me and anyone who’s interested in watching my process.

You’re also working on an all-woman album called Synergy, where you will be collaborating with female emcees, producers and engineers. What can people expect from that project and how far along are you on it?

As the first Chicago-based original album exclusively created by women in hip-hop, expect a historical moment. Expect to hear women like myself, Mother Nature, Freddie Old Soul, Glitter Moneyyy, as well as a handful of Chicago female hip-hop veterans providing lyrical and informative soundscapes to Synergy. Expect a few visuals by our all women film/photo crew and a super dope release party late summer. Stay tuned! Support the project by following us at @SynergyChi on Facebook & Instagram, and @Synergy_Chi on Twitter