Jethu began his musical journey as early as six-years-old when he first picked up the guitar. He later transitioned to playing the piano at the age of 10. By the age of 11, he stumbled upon DJ equipment, which he adopted as a hobby. However, at 17, Jethu was inspired to create his music and decided to pursue this venture under the mentorship of Steve Cliff, a well-known singer, composer, and vocal coach. Today, Jethu produces authentic music, with his hit albums "Vibes" and "Vibes Two," available for listening on SoundCloud and Spotify.
I had the opportunity to sit down and converse seamlessly with Jethu about everything related to music. We discussed what drives his passion for music, how he created his two production albums and the support, lessons, and advice he has gained along the way. Keep reading to discover how music can transform one’s life.
Jethu grew up surrounded by music, with the unwavering support of his father. Music was an integral part of his life, constantly filling the spaces in his home with the rich tones of surround sound systems. He was always accompanied by the rhythm and melody, dancing and singing to the beats that echoed through the halls.
Naturally, Jethu's musical journey began when he picked up the guitar at 6. He later transitioned to the piano at the age of 10. Around 11, he stumbled upon DJ equipment, playfully adopting the practice and giving himself the title of "DJ Jet." However, at 17, Jethu experienced a pivotal moment of self-realization. Asking himself, "Why am I playing other people's music? I want to create my own." This profound insight drove him to seek mentorship from Toronto-based musician Steve Cliff to delve into the world of music production.
Within a year of his mentorship, Jethu was admitted to the University of Waterloo to pursue a degree in AFM. At this time, Jethu's been producing and crafting DJ mixes for approximately 7-8 years, sharing his creations on platforms like SoundCloud. Despite his efforts, he didn't witness any progression. Eventually, he decided to “scrap music completely” to focus on his education.
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However, a few months later, an opportunity arose for Jethu when club promoter Ravana Events approached him to join their sound crew. "At that moment, I was a financially struggling university student, and I saw this as a chance to earn some extra income. Subsequently, I became more involved in DJing for Ravana Events, primarily driven by the need to improve my financial situation. While I wish I could say I was passionately devoted to it, the reality is that I wasn't."
However, this DJ opportunity reignited Jethu's passion for music creation. "Once I began DJing for Ravana Events for almost a year, I gradually noticed increased attention towards my SoundCloud mixes. It was around a year into my tenure with Ravana that 3D Sound reached out to me, a period that coincided with the peak of the pandemic. Because I didn't have to play at gigs, I had the time to rekindle my interest in music production. This period allowed me to elevate my mixes. As I began to attract more listeners, the post-pandemic era marked the start of a flurry of gigs. During this phase, I forged meaningful connections within the music industry, becoming acquainted with numerous artists and fellow industry insiders."
I asked Jethu, “What was the first song production you put out?”
He said, "It's a Tamil song from the 60s. I transformed the beat and gained substantial attention from international artists. Rappers from Europe, as well as individuals from Malaysia and Singapore, reached out to me. Although the post had fewer than ten thousand views, it reached genuine artists, particularly rappers. Quantity isn't always the determining factor; it's primarily about quality. As long as it resonated with the right individuals, that's what matters."
I asked Jethu to elaborate on his passion for music and production.
Jethu responded by saying, "Production evoked a unique sensation within me. Right from the beginning, producing was the one aspect I was certain of. I felt it when I held a guitar at six; the desire to craft my own music was always present. I may not have known how to achieve it, but passion was a constant driving force."
I asked Jethu to delve into the inspiration behind his production albums, "Vibes" and "Vibes Two."
He elaborates, "The first album embodies a Lo-Fi style with a subtle R&B essence, creating an overall minimalistic lo-fi aesthetic. It wasn't solely my effort; Matts, one of the founding members of 3D Sound, also played a significant role. Together, we conceived the idea of introducing lo-fi sounds to the album, recognizing the scarcity of Tamil lo-fi tracks. We took it upon ourselves to fill that void. The album's release was strategically timed for winter, aligning perfectly with its warm and relaxed vibe. Our collaborative process started at Matt's place, where we crafted four mixes in the lo-fi style. Subsequently, I continued the album's production at my studio. The creative process felt like an uninterrupted flow; the groove was organic. Our journey started on December 2, to release it by Christmas. Remarkably, we finalized the album within the initial two weeks and promptly shared it across platforms, including Spotify."
I inquired with Jethu about the process behind crafting "Vibes Two" mere months after finalizing and releasing "Vibes."
He explains, "The inception of 'Vibes Two' can be traced back to the creation of the song 'Two Hearts,' a collaborative effort with my friend Ashly. Interestingly, it wasn't a meticulously planned endeavour; it unfolded organically. The initial spark ignited with this song, and I reached out to Ashly, inviting her to contribute a violin segment. I entrusted her with the composition, allowing the concept to marinate for a few months. As April rolled around, the other compositions for the album began to take form. My creative process isn't coerced; it naturally manifests when inspiration strikes, or a concept ignites my artistic imagination.
The album comprises approximately 22 to 23 tracks. Apart from 'Two Hearts,' which came to life in February, the remaining tracks took shape over about three weeks, commencing on April 1st. Intriguingly, 'Two Hearts' was the last piece to be added to the collection."
I asked Jethu, "How did you determine that a violin segment fit that song? Did you envision the violin piece fitting seamlessly, or did you consider other instruments?"
Jethu elaborates, "The violin piece was my envisioned choice. During my production process, everything plays out within my mind, and my role is to translate those ideas into reality through software. When crafting the track, I instinctively heard the sound of a violin in my mind, and it became essential to incorporate it into the composition."
I asked Jethu, "After producing these two albums, what are your career goals in music and production?"
He responds, "My ultimate aspiration in music is to create my unique compositions. Specifically, I'm determined to break into the mainstream and produce for esteemed artists such as J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar. This goal is attainable, and I'm actively pursuing it. Hip hop, in its origins, serves as a window into history—it was a communication tool for those who faced oppression in the past. Pioneers like Tupac and Biggie utilized this medium to give voice to their communities and shed light on their struggles, like police brutality and their hardships. This is the very essence of hip-hop that resonates with me—the ability to convey narratives. The art of storytelling in music propels me forward and ignites my passion for music. When I create a piece, it transcends mere catchiness; it's about encountering a sound that triggers inspiration, compelling me to weave a story through my production. I am deeply fascinated with our Tamil identity and the challenges regarding the Tami genocide. I envision using hip-hop as a vessel to articulate the experiences of our community. I dream of standing on a grand stage, much like the Grammys. It's not so much about winning a Grammy award, but about seizing the platform to share the tales of struggle that Tamil people have navigated."
I asked Jethu, “When it comes to discussing the Tamil genocide, what particular story do you want to convey?”
He responded, saying, “I want to share with the world the struggles our people have faced and showcase the talent within our community. It's this drive that fuels my passion for music production specifically.”
I asked Jethu about the most significant lesson he's acquired from his experience in the music industry and sought his guidance for those aspiring to pursue a musical career.
His response to both inquiries is unified: "Maintain a willingness to learn. By remaining receptive to new insights and being open to learning, you'll uncover a vast realm of knowledge waiting to be explored. It's crucial to evade the trap of perpetually thinking, saying things like 'I already know, I already know,' as my father often reminds me. He emphasizes the importance of never assuming we know everything because there's always more to learn. It's a valuable lesson that my dad has instilled in me. With an eagerness to learn, you can conquer and attain anything you set your sights on. The key is always to be open to learning and growing."