This week, we're getting to know Jovi Rockwell, a self-described "rebel love goddess" straight outta Jamdown, who recently dropped her reggae-pop-soul mixtape Psycho Therapy. Featuring musical heavy hitters Will.I.Am and Akon alongside dancehall kings like Anthony B and Mr. Vegas (and semi-produced by whiz kid Diplo), the mixtape blends Jovi's released singles over the past few years with new tracks that are definitely ipod worthy.
Considering Ms. Rockwell can sing, rap, play bass, DJ and she looks fly in a bikini, there's no question in our one-track minds that she's an artist we need to keep on our radar for 2010. Read our exclusive interview with Jovi below to find out what kind of shoes you won't get you a date with her, what kind of food to feed her if you want to get things poppin', and if Yankees even have a chance with the Caribbean queen...
LISTEN: "CAN'T STOP NOW" with Mr. Vegas
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE PSYCHO THERAPY MIXTAPE
Interview by Leah Nicole Tisdale
Complex: Why'd you decide to call the mixtape Psycho Therapy?
Jovi Rockwell: I'm pouring my heart out to everybody—including people I don't know—and it's a therapy session to cleanse my mind and connect. If you're having a bad day, or whatever is going on with you, just pop it in, and you'll be all right [Laughs.]
Complex: When you say you're schizophrenic in the mixtape intro, is that a joke or is that for real ?
Jovi Rockwell: Yeah, that's a joke—well, it could be, it could not be [Laughs.]
Complex: Can you explain to us the Rebel. Love. Goddess. formula you've adopted for yourself ?
Jovi Rockwell: People have always asked me to describe myself in three words, and that came to me: I've always been a rebel at heart, love is like my middle name, everything is love, and as a woman, you're a goddess. Those were the three things I was about in my whole life. I never wanted to be part of the crowd—that's not really my truth—and all I have is love to give.
Complex: Growing up in Kingston and Florida, how did those two places nurture a non-conformist attitude?
Jovi Rockwell: Big up Kingston! It's everybody's journey to figure out where we're going in life, and being from Kingston and then moving to Florida, I learned the American way. And that made me kind of unique. It gave me the ammunition I needed to write music, to understand the different cultures and make them my own. I'm Jamaican naturally, but growing up in South Florida, there's a certain attitude that develops too.
Complex: Where did you get your musical start?
Jovi Rockwell: My dad was was singing for many years before I was born, so I grew up surrounded by music. I always wanted to sing from a young age, but I was kinda shy. I used to tell people I wanted to be a lawyer, so they wouldn't ask me to sing! [Laughs] But I got over that. I actually started singing as I got a little older. My best friend at the time, her dad was in a reggae rock band called Third World. Her older brother had started a band, they asked me to lay something down and I discovered that I could flip a melody, rap, sing-jay and play something that people thought was dope. I remember when I finished, they was like, "Oh!" I started doing mixtapes and it never stopped from there, music just haunted me wherever I went. Music's always been something I can use to educate or to express, just to pull myself out of whatever situation I find myself in. It's always been there for me.
WATCH JOVI LIVE ON VOCALS BELOW:
Complex: On Psycho Therapy, you have Akon, Will.i.am, Anthony B, and Andy Milonakis. How'd you get Andy Milonakis on there?
Jovi Rockwell: [Laughs] Andy Milonakis and I met in L.A when I was working with Diplo on some stuff. Andy kind of won me over and impressed me when he started talkin' about how much he knew about Jamaican culture. And it wasn't just a few things. He could have practically been raised there. I was just blown away, I would have never guessed. You have ideas of people when you see them on TV, and he was so down to earth, funny as hell, and he just knew about my culture, so I reached out to him and asked him to bless my mixtape. He's just cool peoples, and I was honored to have him on there. Then Anthony B, talk about one of those key artists in the music biz. He was at the studio, I know him well, and I asked him [Laughs.] It's just so nice for people to show me that kind of love. So he knocked it out, and I was so glad for that. And the song with Akon...I mean, I have a song with Akon! That's amazing!
Complex: Whose idea was it for you to do the "You're Gonna Need Me" video with Mr Vegas rocking only your skivvies?
Jovi Rockwell: That was everybody's idea! The director was Marc Humphrey and he had worked with Quentin Tarantino, and so his whole vibe was edgy, he wanted it to look like a film. I'd never showed my, how do I say, hot-girl side, and I was with it. I knew Mr Vegas 'cause I'd written some stuff with him, so it wasn't like I didn't know the person. It's a dope video, and everywhere I go, people tell me how much they love that video [Laughs.]
Complex: Yeah, that video definitely won over a few of the Complex team.
Jovi Rockwell: Cool!
WATCH JOVI ROCKWELL + MR. VEGAS "YOU'RE GONNA NEED ME" BELOW:
Complex: Who do you think has more game, Jamaican men or American men?
Jovi Rockwell: Can I just plead the 5th on that one? [Laughs.] How about men from Mars? I haven't figured them out yet. They're all from there anyways, right? They're all kind of strange to me. I don't know what makes them tick. When you figure it out, let me know.
Complex: What's a deal-breaker for you with a potential boyfriend?
Jovi Rockwell: A boy definitely has to have confidence and be a kind-hearted person, that's very important. The deal-breaker is if you don't have those things.
Complex: What type of footwear would make you completely dismiss a man as a potential hook-up ?
Jovi Rockwell: Footwear, oww! If he had on New Balance probably, like the chunky ones. I'd be thrown off, like, why you wearin' that? Yeah, I'm not really feeling those. Sorry to all New Balance wearers, throw them away!
Complex: Who's a childhood crush you can't believe you had ?
Jovi Rockwell: Method Man. He's not an actual prince charming choice, but I did have a crush on him. He's funny, and creative. I think that's what it was.
Complex: What's the most effective aphrodisiac for you ?
Jovi Rockwell: Hmmmmm, sushi! [Laughs] Can't go wrong with wasabi and extra, extra ginger...those really put me into it!
WATCH JOVI ROCKWELL "RIZZLA" BELOW:
Complex: "I need love, real love, not a waste of time." That's the MJ sample on Psycho Therapy. What do you consider a waste of time ?
Jovi Rockwell: Ulterior motives. When you're not being real with somebody. If it's not exclusive, like you're not ready for that, then just BE HONEST, so that the person can know where your head is at, and know the situation. Dudes should do that and not just waste a girl's time. Let them know what's really going on, what's really up with the whole situation.
Complex: Any funny tour stories?
Jovi Rockwell: Oh man, so many! I've had my mic turned off on me a lot. One weird moment was during Carnival time, and I remember my performance had been pushed back 3 hours. There's a Soca artist, Machel Montano, who's like the energy king, and they put me on after him! On a Carnival day show! He was even like, "Oh Jovi, they're not doing this to you?!" I knew him because I had a cameo in his video with Mr.Vegas, I was wearing rollerskates. Anyways, he went on and I went on after him, and they turned my music off so I had to sing a capella. Lucky, though, 'cause as soon as I finished a capella, they turned my mic off. Things happen, and it makes you a better artist 'cause you gain experience. It's showbiz, you have to roll with the punches. Just give it your best and never quit. I could have crumpled many times, but you have to go deep within, and pull the lion heart out, and give it all you got.
WATCH COURTNEY JOHN + JOVI ROCKWELL "HEY" BELOW: