Interview by Sherin Nassar
The hill I’ll die is on that Arabs and Latinos are the remix no one expected, but is truly all the rage. To me, Latinos are just like us (Arabs)- we love a big family, we go crazy over food and love to give side eye to anything that lacks flavor (hint hint a lot of it is created by white folks). We have a complicated relationship with religion and we both know how to look god damn stunning without even trying. Where you find one, you can often find the other, like in Miami, a city both Palestinians and Cubans call home. Or in Brazil, where the Lebanese carved out their corner of Rio or in Argentina, where Syrians decided two beautiful people should become one.
So when Jame Minogue came across my Instagram through the channels of his widely talented PR manager, Sam, and I heard he was the Dominican Irish remix I never knew I needed, I was all in. After our conversation, the reality is I’m more in love than I’ve ever been, shooting off his music to every friend who has a vibe or a playlist worth listening to.
Growing up with a Dominican mom and an Irish father, Minogue was exposed to a vibrant life that brought him the best food, different music and family gatherings that made self-exploration the top of the agenda.
“The coolest thing about my music is that it’s an accurate reflection of how I grew up. It’s a melting pot that took me a while to [figure out], but I was able to take my actual life and figure out how to put my life experience into sound,” Minogue said.
Yet, while the interesting blend of parental heritage and cultures strikes us both as something out of hot parent fairy tales, it’s not something that he really thought about growing up. It was simply a reality that was normalized. It wasn’t until he moved away to college and had to finally live on his own, that Minogue realized that he grew up in a very specific way and a specific environment. It was a shock- one that required re-curating a friend group of people who understood not just what that looked like, but actually got it.
“I truly began to understand the importance of making those connections with people who may have grown up in the same way and feel like they too don’t understand where they stand in a country like America,” Minogue said.
Minogue is relatable to every dual culture kid who grew up without feeling like they didn’t fit in or found an accepting oasis in the homes they grew up in, with foods that may have been made fun of at lunch.
Minogue is also so relatable to the masses. His song Hate Being in Love hits- I mean it hits. Love makes you swoon and is an addictive high, but it’s also made a whole industry crack out lovable albums about heartbreaks that you too belt out to when your heart is breaking or when you’re hit with that unexpected “we need to talk” text.
“That song is based on a kind of jumbled up mess of different experiences in my life. I wanted to challenge myself and write an anti-love song to see if I could do it, because I have had so many experiences where love went badly. If anything, why not write about it in a sarcastic way?” Minogue said.
Interestingly, Minogue’s parents weren’t the ones trying to stop his music dreams from actualizing. Like most parents, they just wanted their kid to make it, but they realized that for Jame it had to be in music. It’s what sparked his joy and his parents were first ones to lead the bandwagon of fans. It was the town he came from whose school board didn’t see the potential of an arts program, so they barely funded one. It was clear that those who had any say in his future didn’t see a Latinx kid as having a chance doing something artistic and rather pushed him into pursuing more traditional jobs.
“You know, my manager’s label is called S.O.O.N. It stands for “something out of nothing”. I love that, because I can relate to it. That’s what I learned growing up. I lived in a town where there weren’t a lot of resources and I really had to teach myself to use tools that at first, you wouldn’t think were resources. I had to carve them into things that would propel me into the future,” Minogue said.
Minogue has continuously made something out of nothing. After deciding to go to Berklee School of Music as a halfway compromise with parents who wanted him to have a college degree, Minogue ran dry on money and dropped out. But, he didn’t let that stop him from getting where he needed to be. He used the connections during the three semesters at Berklee. While working at P.F. Changs to make ends meet, he made music, started an indie band and kept his love of music alive.
For Minogue, music is spiritual. His best ideas are sparked in the shower, an oasis where he is most tuned into his creative energy. It’s happened so often, he now makes sure his phone is close by, so that he can record a voice note of whatever beat or melody comes to mind. Because he relates to his music so much, its spiritual nature can also be the hardest challenge.
“The hardest part about music for me is that I can’t get lost in it. At a certain point when you’re making music that you want the public to hear, it’s not yours anymore. It belongs to everyone,” Minogue said.
And everyone is going to want to be a part of Minogue and his music. He’s out here belting out bops that make you really feel, the type of songs where you’ll dance your heart out at the Dalston Jazz bar while also looking to your best mates and saying “fuck, that shit just hit me through the fucking soul.”
Listen to Minogue’s latest EP Principe Azul and catch him opening for The Marias in the Dominican Republic on August 26th. Jame will also be performing in El Cid, Los Angeles on September 22nd.