Crown Jwlz Brings a Cool New Twist to Rock N Roll
Crown Jwlz is theatrical, glamorous and she considers herself a warrior for women and musicians.
She recently released her debut EP California King and is hoping to shake up belief systems and rattle outlooks.
CR: Which do you find more difficult/intimidating ~ performing for a comparatively small audience (especially one that you know includes family and/or friends) in a more intimate venue or for a huge [faceless/anonymous] crowd at an enormous stadium?
CJ: I think performing for a small intimate audience especially one that includes family and close friends is definitely more high-pressure then an enormous audience of people you don’t know. I don’t know why that is… Maybe it’s because when you look into a small intimate crowd and you see someone you know there’s all these things, all these moments you can think of, times you’ve had with them that you spend with them that could throw you off for a second and when you’re performing for a huge crowd you’re so in the zone immersed that there’s really only one way to make it happen and that’s to go full force. In a small intimate audience you really have to pull it out of yourself because everything is really being looked at on such an intense level.
CJ: If I did an album of covers it would be comprised of songs by David Bowie, Queen, Radiohead, Michael Jackson, Etta James, Blondie, Kathleen Hannah, and Janis Joplin.
CR: Are there any causes/organizations that are particularly close to your hearts and that you would encourage the public to support?
CJ: I’m part of an amazing group of girls in Los Angeles but we have chapters in San Francisco and New York as well.
Really we’re all over the world. We have started a movement called #fvckrapeculture in an effort to get Judge Alan Persky unseated, the judge in the Stanford rape case.
You can find us on Instagram @fvckrapeculture and get info about all the events that we are having and the movement itself. Rape and sexual assault is something that happens to one in three women. It’s going to take a collective effort from us all to make this alarming fact change.
CR: What’s the one local place in Los Angeles that you love to go to?
CJ: I love Pour Vous this Parisian bar with amazing craft cocktails and burlesque dancers off of Melrose in Los Angeles. It’s a chill local watering hole with amazing flair.
CR – Your new EP is called California King. What’s the story behind that?
CJ: I remember sitting on the patio at a house in the hills above Franklin Village here in Los Angeles that I used to live in with a few friends. I was outside on the beautiful porch sitting in the sun surrounded by gorgeous palm trees and nature drinking my tea in the morning with my French bulldog Bruno who has passed away since but is always with me. And it just came to me and it made sense. I am a strong intersectional feminist and the title ‘California King’ made sense because it is a challenge to conventional gender roles, a sort of role reversal from tradition which anyone who knows me knows I’m a anything but traditional.
CR: Where you all come from, musically speaking? Have you been a singer/in a band since you were a kid? Did you take lessons or are you self-taught?
CJ: I’ve been performing and singing my entire life. I took vocal lessons from many awesome vocal teachers and also did musical theater in middle school and high school and that’s when I segued into starting to write my own music.
I realized I wanted to come to LA and start a music career in the rock realm. I grew up as a teenager listening to punk rock and it always spoke to me so much … I had and still do have lot to say so it was a natural progression.
Then after high school I started college in Texas and then moved out to Los Angeles to take my career to the next level and also finish up my degree in music. So I guess you could say I’ve been performing and in music majority of my life.
CR: Is there in your experience a code of ethics/conduct amongst professional musicians who are on the same bill…and even in the same band? Maybe things like always acknowledging the band that played before you and the ones who come later on the bill, making sure to introduce each member of your own band, not touching/moving other bands’ gear, etc.?
CJ: I am a really, really lucky individual because I work with some of the most professional and most talented musicians in the business. I have such a high level of respect for them and I thank my stars every day that I am lucky enough to work with them! It’s sort of just understood that if you have time in your set to announce the bands coming after you at some point you do and to also of course introduce your players. But there are times when the set time is really really short and they have always been so sweet about telling me that I don’t need to go ahead and do that and that we should just focus on the music and I’ve always appreciated that. But anytime that the time allows I will always announce them because I love playing with them they are just fantastic!
CR: Are you ever surprised when the track on your album that you assumed would be a fan favorite turns out not to be, or have you gotten to the point of no longer trying to second guess what the public’s taste will be?
CJ: Yes I am definitely at the point where I am not trying to guess where the public taste will be. I just write music from my heart and soul and I do the best job I can to deliver good music that people hopefully, that I hope they will enjoy, but that is not the ultimate objective. The objective is to put out art and people can enjoy it or they can love it, they can hate it, it’s really up to them. And trying to predict that will drive you crazy, so I’ve found it’s best to just make your music, put it out there, and see what happens.
CR: If you could have been involved in the soundtrack to one film, which film
would you have chosen?
CJ: I love the soundtrack to ‘Across the Universe’ because it was all Beatles songs…that would’ve been amazing! And I love Julie Taymor so so much!
CR: What’s the strangest gift any fan has given…or tried to give…you?
CJ: I love any gift from a fan that is coming with good intention. I would say that any girl that’s on the Internet has encountered terrible things from men sending them stuff in their DM box and I would say that is the worst thing ever….to get a terrible inappropriate pic from a guy and guys just need to stop that stuff because nobody wants to see it trust us.
CR: When you were working on California King, in your songwriting process, what came first, lyrics or instrumentals?
CJ: A lot of the time the lyrics and melody come together and I hear the instrumentals at the same time like the base level instrumentals as in the foundation of the song. I don’t usually hear a lot of the other stuff as much before I start really pre-producing the song, but when I first start writing I immediately always hear lyrics, melody, and usually a lead/main guitar or piano line in my head.
CR: OK…. Last question…is it better to burn out than fade away?
CJ: I’m going to go with neither. I think people should just create from an honest place and put their art out there with no expectations except to do what they have to do is which be an artist. If you’re truly an artist you’re doing this for the right reasons….not for fame or notoriety…you’re doing this because you love what you’re doing and you will do it as a labor of love or something that you are making millions off of and that’s the truth. Either way you will do it, it doesn’t matter the circumstances under which it’s being done. An artist must create to stay happy and that’s exactly how I feel. That’s the place I come from whenever I make any artistic expression.