Jaden Smith: “I want to be better, I want to show people that I can do it”
Originality, humility, and limitless talent. Even from a young age, Jaden Smith has been a force of artistic brilliance. Running at his own artistic frequency and refusing to pigeon-hole his craft, the 22-year-old creative has shifted the realms of visual art, fashion, and music in ways that we can’t even completely appreciate yet. At his core, though, Jaden is simply an artist seeking to better himself and his talents.
Authenticity in art has always come down to three factors; an individual’s dedication to expanding their skills, their love of the art form, and an undying passion for their craft. It only takes a second of listening to Jaden’s perspective to realise that he embodies each of these attributes.
Fresh off the release of his dreamy new record CTV3:Cool Tape Volume 3, we caught up with the artist to chat his collaborations with Justin Bieber and Tyler, The Creator, his classic rock inspirations, and his deep love for Australian music.
HAPPY: Hey there Jaden!
JADEN: How are you, bro? Thank you so much for having me.
HAPPY: Thank you for joining us. Congratulations on your release for Cool Tape Volume 3.
JADEN: Thank you so much.
HAPPY: Now tell me. For this record, I mean it’s your first since Erys in 2019, you’ve actually learnt how to play guitar?
JADEN: Hmm, I wouldn’t go as far as say I learnt how to play guitar… I would say that I started playing guitar in the process of the album, yeah.
HAPPY: You can play a few solos? Can you shred?
JADEN: I can play a few songs, I can play a few different scales, you know what I mean? Like, for a few of my songs, I find the notes that are in the key and play around with them.
JADEN: Yeah, Cabin Fever. I love that. That is one of my favourite songs off the album.
HAPPY: It’s definitely one of my favourites as well. I read that Tyler said that you had to go back and really get into what it’s about in terms of writing songs. Can you tell me a little about that and the experience?
JADEN: Yeah. Tyler, on the last album, he really told me that I should go back and that I needed to look and just study more music in general and just learn about the people that came before me and listen to their music and really pull inspiration from that instead of just making things up. So, I started to really educate myself on music and listen to a lot of music I didn’t listen to before and that’s how I started working on the album.
JADEN: I do like The Stones, I really do. My ex-girlfriend, Odessa, really put me on to listening to this type of music all the time. She loves The Stones, she would listen a lot.
HAPPY: I heard, in terms of your collaborations on this album with Justin as well, can you tell me a little bit about how they came about?
JADEN: Yeah. Me and Justin, we knew that we wanted to have a song together, especially for this project, and we just went out of our way to make it happen. I wanted to bring him into the world of music that I was doing, cause that is what he has done for me for so long. So, I wanted to do the same for him, it was really awesome. It was really spectacular, I feel.
HAPPY: Such a shame about COVID and you guys having to postpone the tour together.
JADEN: Yeah. We will hopefully get an opportunity to travel around the world together again and play music.
HAPPY: Do you reckon you will come to Australia?
JADEN: One hundred percent. I will try and come to Australia as soon as possible. I am trying to release my Trippy Summer Collection in Australia as soon as possible. Well, not as soon as possible, when it’s actually summer in Australia. I want to release a collection that I’ve been pushing out here for a while, in Australia. I want to come, I want to perform. I want to design clothes, I want to hang out, I want to surf.
HAPPY: I have to ask you this, because I noticed on Instagram that you’re very active in Babe Rainbow’s comments.
JADEN: Babe Rainbow?
HAPPY: Babe Rainbow!
HAPPY: Do you like them?
JADEN: They’re the best.
HAPPY: Oh my god. I love The Babe Rainbow too.
JADEN: They’re the greatest. The Babe Rainbow, if you’re reading this right now, I am obsessed with you! I listen to your album every day. Today is one of the best albums ever and they are so underrated, more people need to know about them. And they were a huge inspiration on this project. Huge!
HAPPY: You’re kidding me. I’ve always loved the track Love Forever, how about you?
HAPPY: They are amazing. I love that you love Babe Rainbow man. I actually remember a few years ago, I woke up in their share house in Brisbane, not sure how that happened.
JADEN: No way!
HAPPY: Yeah, they are an amazing band. They’re so good. I think this interview will definitely make their day. Tell me a little bit more about, like, you go skating with Tyler and stuff, tell me about that whole relationship?
JADEN: Yeah. I mean, Tyler, we both don’t skate as much as we used to before, but we like to hang out and make music. I mean, it’s been difficult right now, cause of everything that’s going on in the world, to see anybody. But, usually, we’ll be just hanging out, making music. We went on tour together, that was really spectacular. Also, shout out to Post Malone, cause I went on tour with them in Australia there. That was one of the first times I got to have the experience of being direct support before I went on that Dream tour with Tyler. So, shout out to him, shout out to everyone that came up to see that in Australia as well.
HAPPY: Oh, amazing. Did you come across Lime Cordiale? They are another great Aussie band, they are doing a collaboration with Post Malone as well.
JADEN: Oh, wow that’s awesome. I haven’t heard of them, but I will check out that song though.
HAPPY: Yeah, I noticed with the… I love the whole Cabin Fever thing and then I was super into the idea that you directed the video under a pseudonym. Tell me about that, tell me about that process.
JADEN: That’s awesome. Glad you asked that, I didn’t tell anyone I directed the video cause I didn’t think that they would care or believe me. So yeah, I directed the video, I creative directed it. I found that old-school car in some old reference photos that I was looking at like old bands like The Cars and The Monkees and these other bands that used to ride around in. I wanted to recreate that car-pointing love story, create this new wave, like, flower power movement. You know, sunny California with the summer of love, trippy summer, like flower power. Just wanting to put all of that essence, everything in the video and show people that we, as misfits, are on this next wave of pushing this type of content on the world. We are going to continue to push peace, and love, and rainbows into the world.
HAPPY: I got that vibe as well. I got this kind of pastel, hazy dream vibe from the video. Kind of like Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet, that kind of thing. You know what I mean?
HAPPY: I loved the way that you injected these moments of real life. The subtle references to Black Lives Matter, they just really seep in, and the world of COVID that’s kind of coming in.
JADEN: We included the real-life and the real-world problems that we care about in the video, to let people know everything that we stand for and where we stand.
HAPPY: The dances, as well, man. Like, you’re incredible.
JADEN: Thank you though, I really appreciate that. I do. I have been trying just to become better at the things that I know how to do and dancing is one of those things where it is just like, I want to be better. I want to show people how I can do it. Like, how I can give people my best?
HAPPY: So, this whole process, the last year, has been a real learning curve for you, hey?
JADEN: Yes. Huge learning curve for me.
HAPPY: I guess the most impressive thing is learning to have that humility as well, to know that you have to learn. And know that there is something to get better at. I think that’s the biggest part of the development.
JADEN: Yeah. That was the biggest thing for me, at the start of this album, was just realising that I am not good enough, you know? And I’ve never been good enough, or talented enough.
HAPPY: Hey Jaden, you are an absolutely brilliant dude and it’s so rare to meet someone so talented who is still so committed to bettering themselves and the art they put out. It’s humbling, to be honest. Looking forward to your Australian tour. Catch you soon man!
JADEN: Thanks man, have a good one!
CTV3: Cool Tape Vol. 3 is available on all streaming platforms. Grab your copy here.