The Festival Eñe Talento a bordo Award has been granted to Catalan writer Pol Guasch. With two poetry collections and one novel under his belt, the jury has highlighted the maturity of his gaze and his experimental audacity.
Music in His Genes
About to release 'Solid', his debut album and probably one of the hits this season, Javier Limón Jr. is as scant with words as he is lavish with creativity. Because, as he says: "I would rather give people lots of music to listen to than plenty to talk about.” Like father, like son.
Anyone would be amazed at that idea of a 17-year-old releasing an album with soul, blues, gospel and jazz influences. Even more so after listening to the album’s ten tracks and come to the conclusion that it’s a mature work, a wealth of music.
But there is an explanation to this: this young man is Limón Jr. (Madrid, 2002), the son of producer, composer and musician Javier Limón. It seems logical to think that genetics, on the one hand, and cultural education, on the other, have encouraged and polished his creativity and musical talent.
Now a crucial test is approaching: his debut album, Solid, is coming out on 30 August on all digital platforms.
Your career is about to officially take off. Are you ready to hear things like you’re the new child prodigy of Spanish jazz, the Spanish Jamie Cullum?
I don't consider myself a child prodigy. I know I’m not one because I know some. In Berklee (Boston), where I’m studying, there are a few for sure. And I always try to learn as much as I can from them.
Ok, but... it’s not common to see a man your age playing jazz and putting out an album with soul and blues influences to express his emotions and concerns.
That’s true, but I grew up listening to Paco de Lucía, Bebo Valdés and Jerry González at home. I guess it's something natural to me. It’s not music I’ve been discovering but music I was raised with.
At any rate, have you ever felt a weirdo for listening to these musical genres when most of your generation likes straightforward reggaeton, trap or pop?
Indeed. I’ve felt like that many times, like a weirdo, as you say. But hey, all music styles have their moment, including reggaeton and, of course, pop.
Has living in the United States influenced your taste and your musical preferences?
Nowadays you can listen to any kind of music anywhere in the world, but I must say the African-American community in the United States has had an important influence on my taste and my music, as have flamenco gypsies in Spain.
“Just as I’m a fan of artists from many countries and of different ages, I dream of having all kinds of fans”
You released the great The things in late 2018. Why did you choose it among the ten tracks?
It's funny because The Things was an incidental song with little narrative ambition, inspired by my daily life. It’s was the first song I recorded, at a time when making a full-length album wasn’t in our plans.
Talent, that special halo that surrounds now, can it remain intact or do you fear it may vanish over the years?
Innate talent is very important, but I think talent coming from hard work and effort is more decisive. If you keep on working hard on your talent, there’s no reason why you should lose it.
Do you already know where you would like to head to musically speaking?
For now and until I get to my thirties, I just want to enjoy music, play my songs and travel the world with them.
Is being the son of a great musician and composer a burden or does it help you feel understood and encourage your professional goals?
Well, it’s a two-sided coin. On the one hand, I’m aware that I have access to extraordinary musicians and professionals, and that’s a privilege. But, on the other hand, the level of demand and criticism around me is higher.
Will Javier Limón Jr. burst onto the music scene and give people plenty to talk about?
Ha, ha. Well, I’ll be honest—I would rather give people lots of music to listen to than plenty to talk about.
At age nine, Limón Jr. stepped on American soil to live in Boston with his parents, where he’s refining the piano techniques he first learned with famous pianist Pepe Ribero in Madrid. “I’m studying in high school and also piano at Berklee City Music, with the support of Nando Michelin, a certified teacher from the Berklee College of Music,” he explains. But in addition to the piano, he plays guitar and has written the lyrics of the ten songs that make up his debut album Solid.
He knows music brings people together, regardless of their status, nationality, sex or age. "Just as I’m a fan of artists from many countries and of different ages, I dream of having all kinds of fans," he says. Something which is likely to occur considering that his musical style is, a priori, too adult for people his age. Meanwhile, Limón Junior is already rubbing shoulders with artists such as Argentinian singer Martín Guas—he performed in the premiere of his album in Boston—guitarist José del Tomate and flamenco percussionist Piraña, who will play with him when he premieres his album in Spain. "I would also like to have Nella perform that day," he adds. The Venezuelan singer is among the collaborators featured on the album.
Javier denies being a child prodigy and admits that he is happy watching films and eating popcorn, playing games on the PlayStation or playing basketball, as well as improvising jam sessions at home with his high school friends and performing in pizza restaurants. Any place and any time will do as long as it allows him to unleash his true passion: composing, playing and singing.