by Silke Hartung

Q&A: Jeiel

by Silke Hartung

Q&A: Jeiel

Recording and performing over the previous few years as Jeivenchy, Filipino Kiwi singer-songwriter Jeiel Ian Veloria told NZM in mid-2022 he hoped that through his music people will find themselves empowered to rage, and finally get themselves out of a toxic situation. Only a year later his songwriting’s attitudinal shift has been significant enough to demand a change in artist name, to the more plainly honest and intimate Jeiel.  Silke Hartung talked with him about his new introductory single Hello.

When did you move from Te Whanganui-a-Tara to Tāmaki Makaurau, and why?

I moved here last December. Everything was starting to feel too much of a routine. Every corner was too familiar. I did not like that. I wanted to see change, so I started with my surroundings, packed my bags and moved up. I like being here now. There is a lot more going on. More gigs. More venues. Different vibes. Unfamiliar spaces. New faces. It’s a little overwhelming at times, but I see a lot of possibilities.

Any tip you would give to other musicians moving to Auckland to find their space?

I’d say go out there. See what’s happening around. Check out that gig. Talk to people, be amongst the people. Send that DM to the guitarist you had been stalking on IG. Who knows, maybe they’d be happy to help.

It’s quite a big deal to change artist name, but you recently went through that process, from Jeivenchy to your real life first name, Jeiel. What was your thinking behind the change?

I recently had a shift in writing style and it produced a different tone in my work. I wanted my artist name to reflect that. I still write catchy hooks and melodies, but I try to give more thought and transparency to it. Transparency about my experiences and what I feel.

For me a name can come with a character. When I was writing for Jeivenchy’s character I avoided appearing vulnerable. I always thought my inner child was too naive and exposing. In a way, changing my artist name to my real life name can signify that I am allowing my inner child to be heard. A character can be a certain way or style. Jeivenchy, sassy, extra and superficial. Jeiel, my inner child, vulnerable, soft and naive. It could signify a shift in genre, sound, or in my case, how I write.

What’s the story behind your recent single, Hello?

I wrote Hello in early 2022, when I was not in a good place. I got on the piano and wrote about what I felt and what I was hoping to feel. It took 15 minutes to write the song and it did not sound like a Jeivenchy record!

I worked with Hybrid Rose and Joe Harrison to produce the track, each had a version of their own. I ultimately chose to produce the track myself and released this version. Seb Judd, aka Chequered Patterns, did the mixing and mastered it.

You’ve got an upcoming live gig at Nice Goblins, a relatively new venue in Mt Eden.

I discovered Nice Goblins as a venue last July. I went to see Babe Martin and KMPT. It’s cosy, walls covered in art, intimate and cute. You could get a tattoo there during the day.

The show will be a vocal and musical showcase. Me and my band will be creating pop punk versions of my songs. It will be a mini concert consisting of recently released music, Jeivenchy’s hyper catchy songs and some covers.