You can't help but be enthused by life anytime you interact with the one and only Jocelyn Chambers. A composer, writer, photographer, style queen and all around bad ass, it's a pleasure to be able to have her featured on here today. Enjoy.
Tell us about yourself.
hellogoodmorning, my name is jocelyn and i always greet people that way. i really like nicknames and i think i like being cuddled more than i let on. i don’t like chocolate. when i have a crush, it lasts for a really long time. sometimes it’s alarming how much i’m into marvel movies. i exclusively wear clothing that was created between the victorian era and the midcentury. anything from the 21st century is worn in moderation and i hardly ever leave the house with it on. i watch makeup tutorials like some people study: a lot. i am irrevocably in love with myself, my smile, my nose, and my melanin, and i wouldn’t complain if i had a tall, egyptian boyfriend.
What do you do?
what do i not do, to be honest. i write words and music, i take pictures, i love making food, sometimes i paint, and i watch movies regularly. and i avoid walking as much as possible. i think pokemon go will fix that, but i haven’t downloaded it yet.
Why music composition?
i think this question has a lot of different answers because there’s no single reason as to why i chose to do it. i remember watching movies at a very young age and literally being so moved by the music that i would cry myself to sleep at night thinking about it. i remember noticing the cues and seeing how they worked with film and how it shaped the plot and how it sucked me in, and it made me feel so alive. i would listen to something like star wars and replicate the music by ear on my piano and that’s literally how i started composing. i would play what i knew and then add my own work to it and see what i could do. and that was amazing. i didn’t start composing until i was 13 and i’m 19 now, so in the world of classical baes like mozart and beethoven i was a pretty late bloomer, but once i was in, i was in. i remember getting an idea when i was at mcdonald’s with my mom for a string orchestra type piece, and when i got home i registered for an online notation program called noteflight, and wrote it down. it’s still there. and i never wanted to do anything else. it was always music, and music in conjunction with movies. there’s something so powerful about watching a trailer and feeling your blood rush because that’s exactly what you want to be doing. that invincible feeling everyone keeps telling us we have is the feeling i get when “a long time ago in a galaxy far far away” shows up on screen and i’m waiting to see the star wars logo. it’s addicting. and when i see it and experience it, i know i need to do it. so why not, really.
Who are some women that inspire you in your life and work?
i really like ariana brown. she’s a poet and a beautiful soul who, through her words, have helped me unravel facets of myself i didn’t know my way around. she’s actually my favourite poet, and i know her personally. she delivers her truths with a certain peace about her, and i adore that. and i think she has that peace because she believes what she says. everyday i work towards the peace in knowing what i have to say with help someone because i have attached my own truth to it. i can’t lie to people. i can only tell them what i know in my knower. and she knows a lot.
if you’re looking for a celebrity answer, i like shonda rhimes. she created the most popular and successful tv dramas that air today, and she’s a black woman. if she can do it, then i can do more.
(you can find ariana’s poetry on youtube under button poetry. she also has a website under her name and she has a few chapbooks available.)
What are you passionate about?
clothes. looking nice. making sure that people know who they are, and that everyone woman i come across understands that they are a Queen and that they need to find their throne and take their rightful place. the way you walk, the way you move
your hands, the way you conduct yourself is a direct correlation with who you know yourself to be on the inside. and you can find your identity in who you serve, you can find it in plenty of different ways. one day, i decided it wasn’t fair that some people got to be royalty and others didn’t, because i wanted to be the queen. and then i realized there was nothing stopping me, so i made myself a title and started living it. and then i upgraded to Empress. i am the most powerful woman in the world simply because i found no reason not to be.
What is the most helpful piece of advice someone has given you?
it’s not even advice and it wasn’t even given to me directly, but at our annual church camp-meeting, the main speaker told us a story of a young man who was asked by God to do something. i don’t remember what it was. but i think he asked God why He chose that man specifically. and God said He went to like four or five other men, but they all turned Him down. God was looking for someone who He knew would be willing to do what He asked them to do.
and the point is: if you don’t do it, someone else will eventually. you’re not the only one who can achieve the goal you created, because it can be someone else’s goal. i learned that the hard way, and it’s still fresh and it hurts and i’ve been crying on and off for days and isolating myself and dealing with it. and it’s not fun, because you feel like you’ve failed yourself, God, your family, and everyone else who was rooting for you. somehow, somewhere, no matter what, it’s brought up. and the wound just expands, the pool gets bigger, and you wallow in your bitterness for a period longer than necessary. for a moment, i thought my jealousy would make me sick. but as of now, all it’s doing is making me sad.
if there is something in your heart that you want to do, but it’s hard; especially if it’s hard, push through, suck it up, and finish it out. because if you don’t do it, someone else will. God will find someone who’s willing, and even if you don’t think you will, you may end up regretting it. the light went out of my eyes. i don’t need that happening to you, too.
Why do you do what you do and what do you love most about what you do?
oh Lord, i don’t know how to explain it. like i said before: from a very young age i always felt a specific attachment to music. i would often cry myself to sleep because of a piece or a song that touched me. i would cry during movies because i understood, through the music, what the characters felt, and i felt it too. and i have a lot of feelings, and i like being able to measure them, talk about them, replicate them as best i can because they’re valid, valuable, and i want to remember them as vital things in my life. so i measure, talk, replicate through music. and i love it, because i can look back to a piece that i’ve written like two years ago, and reattach myself to something that i maybe don’t feel in the present day. it’s all part of me even if i’ve grown away from it. sometimes i just have to remind myself of that.
(songs/pieces that i feel very deeply include: we actually did it - alan silvestri, reprise - peter vronsky, the light - album leaf, aquaman - walk the moon, jinx - DNCE, winter light - linda rondstadt, so close - jon mclaughlin, prayers of the righteous - israel houghton, piano concerto no. 1 in a minor - edvard grieg)
Are there challenges you have faced specifically because you're a woman?
i’m binge- watching the tv show scandal (mostly because my friend said i should) and the main character is a black woman who is a gladiator in a suit. and in the episode i’m watching right now, she’s being scrutinized for something she’s done. scrutinized to the point of being threatened by anonymous men on the internet. and she said something to the affect of “i have 1000 threats of assault from these men on the internet because i had the audacity to be born female - and black.” and she has a serious point here, but for me it’s the other way around. people see my black before they see my gender and while it has made me stand out, it has also made me invisible. people rule me out when they see me because i don’t fit into their equation. i don’t work. i’m not the standard. for me, being female was never an issue. it was my skin. i have to prove to people that i’m just as important as my white female counterparts, because in my experience, when i hear the word ‘woman,’ or ‘female,’ i see white girls. when they’re talking about people who look like me, they put ‘black’ in front of it or ‘brown’ in front of it or something else. it’s like people found yet another way to make me less human by separating me from everyone else. it’s just another form of segregation, and i’m used to it.
Are there any particular people who you would absolutely love to collaborate with on something?
i’d love to work with christopher nolan, wes anderson, brandon stanton, shonda rhimes, jj abrahms, dustin o’halloran, beyoncé and anyone who was involved with lemonade tbh. i would love to do something in the realm of film, music, art, or all with any of these people. they have so much knowledge and i want to work with people who i know will help me make what’s inside of me tangible.
What would be your advice to girls and women?
if you have to think about whether or not you love or are in love with someone, you’re not. also, make a title for yourself. if you know who you are, making sure everyone else does, too.
Any stray thoughts?
i should probably download pokemon g