Jez Dior is here to prove music needs no labels. Drawing elements from all genres of hip-hop, R&B, pop, and rock, the Los Angeles artist delivers heartfelt records that touch on his own personal struggles and experiences. Jez isn’t worried about numbers or clout, his main concern is impacting the youth in the same way Eminem did for him. Read more…
Being the son of Steve Dior, the punk rock guitarist who played with the legendary Sex Pistols, music is more than just a dream, it’s an outlet. It’s a safe space where Jez can pour his deepest thoughts and feelings that otherwise would never see the light of day.
One year ago, Jez released “Sober,” which reveals his own journey with substance abuse and the need to take control of his life. This lead to a hiatus which had Jez in straight album mode, locking himself in the studio and really honing in on his craft as a singer/songwriter. Now, he returns better than ever with three brand new records.
For those who don’t know, who is Jez Dior?
Jez Dior is an artist from Los Angeles, California. Raw and uncut. I try to be very personal in all of my music, and very emotional. I’m just here making music for all the kids that were just like me growing up.
Where do you fit in the realm of hip-hop and R&B?
I would definitely say my stuff is leaning more towards hip-hop, but all the new stuff I’ve been making — and sort of the stuff from the past — has always had an alternative edge to it. We always have live guitars in the studio. Some songs on the project, I’m not rapping at all. I’m actually just singing, which is a new thing for me.
The whole project is eclectic. We have different vibes all over the place, but I think the emotions of it tie everything in together. So I wouldn’t call it just hip-hop, or anything R&B, or just alternative, I think it’s a mix of everything.
You’re from Thousand Oaks, how does that play into your life and career?
I haven’t been back there. My grandma still lives there, so I go back and see her. But other than that, I haven’t been back there in a long time. Thousand Oaks is weird, it’s like a little melting pot. Thousand Oaks reminds me of Liverpool, in a way that there’s nothing to do there and it’s so boring, so everybody just made music. There’s so many bands and artists that I have come out that area, it’s crazy, The 805 has so many artists come out of there.
How important is it to come to LA as an up and coming artist?
I mean, everyone comes here from all over the world. It is the home of music right now, or at least for our type of music. All my friends from New York have moved out here. It’s crazy. The whole industry is here and the energy is here, so I think it’s very important actually.
You released “Sober” last year. Can you talk about your headspace then compared to now?
My headspace then, I was very excited because it was the first time that I had ever been signed. Everything was so exciting and brand new to me. When I wrote “Sober,” I was sort of in a different place. I was in a more depressed weird zone. But now, I’ve been really calm. I’ve just been in the studio working on this project. We haven’t been playing any shows or anything. I just put my head down and went to work, and now I’m really excited to get back out there.
You recently just dropped 3 new songs, can you talk about the creative process?
These three songs are all very important songs to me. The song “Cocaine,” which is the main focus of these three, is probably the most important song I’ve ever written in my life. It’s a big one. don’t wanna spoil too much about it, but that’s one of my favorite songs I’ve ever done. “Come and Go” is featuring Rome from Sublime, which is really dope. Especially growing up in the 805, because everybody loved Sublime. I mean, everyone in the world loved Sublime.
I was gonna say! Sublime is legendary.
Me and Rome had a session – maybe six months ago was the first time we met. We made that song within the first hour of meeting each other. The song is really important to me to because it’s about my dad and also his relationship with his. It’s a good one. I’m excited about that. “Kiss You Good” I did Mick Schultz who’s an amazing producer. Shout out Mick because he built this whole new compound for himself, it’s sick.
He’s amazing and we wrote that with Chris Wallace who’s basically my right hand man for writing. he writes everything with me. That’s a song just about the trial and tribulations of being in a relationship.s
They say you draw influences from your father in these 3 tracks. How is your relationship with him now?
My relationship with him now is amazing. If you would have ever told me a year or two years ago that my relationship with him would be rekindled and amazing – there’s still flaws and I still have feelings from the past, but if someone would have told me that we would be like this now, I would have never believed it. We’ve done a lot of work to get to this place and he still has work to do with my sister and mom, but he and I are pretty good.
Are you both sober now?
He is sober from heroine, which was his massive problem. He still smokes weed and drinks wine. And I am definitely sober from what my issue was, which was Xanax. I still drink but I only drink. I don’t even smoke weed.
I’m sober also, so I have to ask, is Hollywood still a trigger?
You know what, no. I moved away from Hollywood six months ago, but I think the initial thing was just I was young. It was the first time I got money. Right when I got to Hollywood was the first time that I ever had money in my life. I was young and I was still using Xanax. You put those together and it was a nightmare. I’m lucky I didn’t die honestly. It was that bad. But fast forward years later, I’m in Hollywood all the time.
What do you do to stay grounded?
I play a lot of soccer. I watch a lot of soccer. That’s like my other passion other than music. ‘Cause you can’t really play soccer when you’re all fucked up.
That was actually one of my questions, what would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
Definitely. Soccer is the only other thing I care about.
You’ve been in debut album mode for a minute. Talk about the journey and some of the challenges you face.
It’s been crazy. It’s been so long. “Sober” was supposed to be on the album, and then you have your ups and downs with everything. We’ve been working away steadily and sort of quietly for a long time. The process of making the album, we’ve really run into no issues.
It’s been really, really nice and I’ve just been in a creative zone for a long time, which I’m thankful for. [knock on wood] But my headspace is good for that. I’ve been wanting to get – especially these songs – out for a minute. It feels really nice to be at that point and get things moving again.
What do you want fans to get from your story?
Growing up with a single mom and a fucked up dad, not a lot of money, not good in school — just being in bad place like I was as a little kid and getting in a lot of trouble, just focus. If you have a dream, just go for it. I didn’t even graduate high school and I’m sitting here talking to you and doing the whole shit. I’m not telling kids not to finish high school of course, but just follow your passion.
And if you can find your passion early — that was the biggest thing for me, was finding my passion as a kid. I was young and I had one thing in my mind, and I was gonna do this. That was it.
I love that you aspire to be like Eminem and have a similar impact on the youth. Now that we’re in 2018, what is it exactly you want to do for them?
The same thing that Em did for me, the same exact thing. I just want to be that outlet for them the same way that he helped me put on my headphones and just be able to get away from all the bullshit that I’m going through. I think it’s so sick that the youth now, their taste in music is incredible. I think it’s all down to festivals. You can have a rock act playing over here and Lil Uzi Vert playing over here, and they love them both. I think that’s really cool.
What is your take on the music industry?
It is what it is and it’s been the same way for a long time. There’s people in it that I love and there’s people in it that I don’t love so much. There’s a lot of fake bullshit that goes around, but there’s a lot of really good people in it too. I made a lot of friends that way. I think certain labels are different than others, and you just have a lot of different characters in it.
What did you do with your first advance?
Blew it all. Blew it all on clothes and drugs and partying. I actually rap that on one of the songs on the album. Yeah, that will never happen again. [laughs]
What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
On any given day, wake up — I actually just started with a personal trainer so I’ll be doing that. Hit the studio with whoever. I’ve been having a bunch of different sessions with a bunch of different people. Usually all the homies are around. At this new spot I got in Studio City, it’s cool because I’ve got a big backyard and we’ll be barbecuing. I have a studio in the crib too. Just hang out with the homies and my dog. I’m always with my dog. Maybe play a game of soccer, run some Fifa, just chill.
3 things you need in the studio?
Good vibes. It’s so weird, I can’t record if I’m not dressed. If I’m just like in sweats or something, I feel like I can’t record. So I have to be dressed. And then, some liquor.
Lately since I’ve been doing the personal trainer, I’ve been on like Grey Goose and soda. But normally Jack.
Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
Either Oasis or Drake.
Liam Gallagher from Oasis. That’s my favorite band.