My music is a fusion of all these different elements to create a canvas
The Oxford dictionary defines the word ‘mosaic’ as an individual composed of cells of two genetically different types. This definition rings true for the artist, producer, and songwriter who hails from the island of Jamaica. Tessellated, whose real name is Joshua Meeks, is a 22-year-old musical sensation who embodies the core foundation and evolution of Reggae music. He studies the art on every level to create music of an otherworldly beauty.
His sound is so special that he was sought after by Apple Music, one of the largest streaming service platforms. Tessellated wrote “I Learnt Some Jazz Today” while in college and adapted his original tune as “Bounce” as Apple’s theme song for its AirPods advertising campaign. Dancehall heavy hitters are also noticing his sound, seeking collaborations, as Tessellated has been spotted in studio with the current Queen of Dancehall, Spice.
Tessellated recently signed a publishing deal with Sony/ATV UK and as an independent artist has seen great success with his smash single “Pine & Ginger,” which has close to 6 million views on YouTube. I was able to catch up with Reggae’s newest sensation to discuss his sound and creative process.
How do you describe your sound?
I describe my sound as a fusion. There are the Jamaican elements where it is a little bit of Reggae and a little Dancehall. Then I will sprinkle in a little bit of the Hip Hop elements. Then I will throw in some Jazz, some R&B and some Pop.
Your sound is very eclectic. Even when I watch your videos, it takes me somewhere else. It is like you are painting this canvas with not only the lyrics but with your videos as well. How do you come up with the concept for your videos?
I have a lot of people that work with me closely who are amazing and help me with a lot of my visuals and my more animated graphics when it comes to my videos. It really is a collaborative effort you know…I have a lot of ideas and these people are amazing artists in their own right so they have their ideas, and we just work together to create something great.
How do you differentiate between the different hats of being an artist and a producer?
I have on both hats all the time which is a blessing and a curse. I have a lot of bredrins that are artists and they can just say give me a riddim and boom they just voice the riddim and they are good, but for me, I am very particular about my sound, so even if I work with somebody, I have to have production on the things that I voice on because it has to be arranged properly and I also mix and master my own music.
You received a very amazing opportunity to collaborate with Apple music. How did that come about?
The song that I recently released is called “I Learnt Some Jazz Today,” I did it in collaboration with Apple for their new AirPods. It has been doing well and I have been receiving a lot of positive feedback from it.
You recently signed a publishing deal with Sony/ATV. How did that come about and how does it feel to be signed to a record label?
An A&R from Sony/ATV UK (Scott Gordon) had been following the music for a while and reached out. We were in touch for a while and when I went to London I went to their office and met the team. Soon after we sealed up the deal. It definitely feels reassuring to have the support of such a large company and amazing team.
There is a new movement taking place with the new generation of artists such as yourself and Koffee that is taking Dancehall and infusing more Reggae and Hip Hopto give it that crossover feel the music once had. Is it something you consciously think about when you are creating?
It is definitely a conscious thought and it is a similar thing for a lot of my generation. Back in the day in Jamaica, you listen to the radio and you listen to the records so you have a very limited scope of music you can really access. Whereas my generation, we all grow up listening to YouTube, iTunes, pirating music, so we are exposed to all different kinds of music and naturally when we create, all those different influences are coming in.
That name Tessellated, how did you come up with that name?
A tessellation is a very specific type of a mosaic. At first, I actually saw the word somewhere and I thought wow I like how the word looks, it was very symmetrical and I am big on aesthetics. So I looked it up and it said it is a mosaic and my music is such a fusion of all these different elements to create a canvas. It is the same as a tessellation, all these different things coming together to create one seamless thing, it connected with me so I chose that as my name.
How does it feel that people are finally starting to know your name?
Music is a connecting thing and people’s minds have been opened up to the music. So, when the music is accepted on a bigger scale, that is the greatest thing because they accept my vison and my mind.