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Pen Pals with Jazz Cartier

Jacket by Givenchy, Top and Bottoms by Alexander Wang, Glasses by Super, Shoes by Converse.

 

Please introduce yourself.

 

What’s up. I’m Jazz Cartier, from Toronto, Canada, I’m 24 years old. And I’m a rapper.

 

What was it like moving thirteen times as a kid?

 

At first it sucked, but now that I’m older it gave me a greater perspective of life. I had a lot of friends from all walks of life and every religion possible. So it definitely opened my eyes to a lot of things I probably wouldn’t have gotten if I just stayed at home my whole life. There are definitely a handful of kids from every school I went to that I still talk to. They always had an impact on me whether it was via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Facetime—whatever the medium is. There are a couple that have moved to Thailand that only have access to email like once every four months, so I have a couple of pen pals!

 

You went from moving city to city, to touring around the world...


When I’m traveling for tours, I try to get out and see the cities. Seeing stuff and embracing the culture a lot more. I put out my first mixtape in 2015, and since April 2015, I’ve been doing spot dates. But since February 2016 I’ve been on the road constantly.

 

All clothes by Alexander Wang.

You have to transition quickly when you are moving from city to city, how did you adapt that life experience to where you are at now?

 

I learned how to be a better people person. I can’t really explain it, because I’m living it. It’s very unconscious. Having to be the new kid at any school sucks, but when you do it thirteen times, you kind of have a set routine by the end of it. So, I was pretty good at making friends at the last few schools I went to. If you go to school in the South, the kids will be much different from the kids in the East, and then moving to Idaho, they will be much different from anywhere else. You have to sit there awkwardly trying to chime in but you can’t so you have to laugh, but you don’t really know what you are laughing at.

 

Haha! So, how do you find yourself when you are constantly negotiating new spaces and scenarios?

 

In regards to a city, that’s Toronto. That’s where I was born, and that’s where I ended up moving back to. Aside from that, wherever I go, the one thing that keeps me centered is the music. Wherever I went, the kids put me onto something new. But the comfort of having music as the soundtrack for my year, or wherever I’m at, I think helped a lot and drew me closer to the writing of it and the approach and pretty much brought me here today. I definitely had my Houston folder, then my folder from when I was Georgia, then my folder from when I lived in Kuwait, my folder from Barbados, my folder from Idaho. And I just kept track of that. Over time, I didn’t do it on purpose—I just did it for memories. And then looking back, I had documented all the music I picked up at certain years of my life.


The big thing of the Toronto sound is a culmination of everything. Our nickname is the world in one city. If you meet someone in Toronto they have like eight different nationalities. It’s about taking those influences and making it surround who we are. Making us the nucleus as opposed to trying to sound like we’re somewhere else.

 

Jacket by Givenchy, Top and Bottoms by Alexander Wang, Glasses by Super, Shoes by Converse.

What was it like forgoing college to become an adult in the city you were born in?

 

I graduated high school in 2012. Chicago was a city I was always in love with. Lupe and Kanye were my favorite rappers. I had friends that went to [Columbia College] that were up and coming, and a lot of them are pretty famous now. I was always away so much and didn’t want Columbia to be #14 on my list. I thought it was time to reconnect with my city.

 

At 18, you’re an amateur professional. You think you are professional, but you are just half way there. You’re not even scratching the surface. But you have the mindset of a professional. Or at least you think you do. I think I take it upon myself to do so. I already lived the college life as my high school life, as one of those fortunate kids that got to go to boarding school. So I didn’t want to do it again. You always think about who you would have become had you made those crucial decisions in life. I always think about it: would I be the same person?