A Day In The Life: Jaguar Jonze
We chat to Jaguar Jonze about being diagnosed with COVID-19, supporting the Brisbane music industry and how she is passing the time.
When Jaguar Jonze started out on her American tour in early March most parts of the world were still operating as per usual. However, the pandemic situation escalated quickly resulting in the last seven shows of her tour being cancelled.
After arriving back in Australia, the Brisbane-based artist received the results confirming she was infected with COVID-19. Since then she has been in isolation, sharing her experiences and keeping the community creative. (ps – it is a fact you all need the Jaguar Jonze colouring books in your life).
The Creative Issue: You recently spoke out on Triple J about being diagnosed with COVID-19, how important is it that the community hears stories like this?
Jaguar Jonze: I think it’s super important to bring it away from the anxiety-inducing articles, statistics and restrictions, that we get in our feeds all day everyday and to hear first hand that we need to take precautions, look after our society and realise that it does affect individuals. We also need to know that we have an amazing healthcare system in place and that the help and structure is there for your care and recovery.
TCI: What was the overall response to sharing your diagnosis and story?
JJ: Most people were grateful for the educations and I’ve had some people share back to me that they were hiding their own diagnosis out of fear and found comfort in people going public about it. I’ve had some inconsiderate and insensitive responses, which I know just comes out of fear, which I can help dismantle. the hardest responses have been the careless racism but it’s water off a duck’s back for me. I’m used to it haha.
TCI: In your case how has the pandemic impacted your work?
JJ: Well, the obvious effects have been the music industry shutting down. I’ve had my tours cancelled for the next four months, recording plans have to be readjusted to working individually over the internet, and that makes collaboration hard. Having no cash flowing income makes planning and surviving difficult, but we’re all going through that at the moment. The fatigue from the virus has been my main difficulty, as I can’t stand for more than ten minutes without feeling shortness of breath and exhaustion. I try to take each day as it comes but trying to create as an artist where I can.
TCI: What did your daily schedule look like while in isolation?
JJ: I’m still in isolation until I get discharged from the hospital. It’s day 22 for me now. Everyday, I wake up, shower, make breakfast and get into my emails. In the afternoon, if there’s nothing pressing, I’ll try to be creative – draw, write songs, work on music, do some photography. That keeps my mind sane. Sleep and naps happen as much as possible, whenever I need it, and I’m gentle on myself about rest. When I can get over the fatigue and exhaustion, I really need to bring exercise into my routine somehow, as I feel the low moods and anxiety has been building up due to only being able to sit and lie around.
TCI: Are there any practices or activities you have found particularly helpful while isolating?
JJ: We’re really lucky to have the internet. I’ve found it helpful to connect with my community, partake in lifestreams and FaceTime with my friends and family. That’s helped me stay connected and… frankly, human.
TCI: As social distancing continues are there any new hobbies or projects you are thinking of trying?
JJ: When I was bed-ridden, I started thinking of ideas to help everyone who is stuck at home, so I started drawing the ‘Jaguar Jonze Colouring Books’, for everyone to be able to download for free and have something creative to do. I also wanted to showcase and support other amazing visual artists so each volume, which focuses on each of the songs on my upcoming EP, is put out with my own and two other artists’ work. It’s been a lot of fun. Every week I’m live-streaming, colouring in together and running a little competition. Seeing everyone’s entries has helped fuel my creativity. It’s so cool to see everyone’s different interpretations. You can find the colouring books each week here.
TCI: How can the Brisbane community continue to support local artists during this time?
JJ: I started a Patreon last week, which I was scared to do, but have been overwhelmed at the support I’ve received. I think it is really important to support local artists how you can – if they have a Patreon and you’re not impacted by the current situation, then pledge, or buy merch, buy music, commission artworks, stream, request the songs on the radio – anything for them to be able to get some flow back.
TCI: Is there any advice you have for people struggling in the music industry at the moment?
JJ: I think we’re all using this time to be creative and be prepared for when the world starts up again. I’m still figuring out how I can survive so I feel strange giving advice but I’ll share what I’ve been doing. I’ve been trying to think out of the box – which is why I started up a Patreon and am looking into a lot of grants that have come up due to this. There’s a great Resilience Fund that’s been put up by the Australia Council which I will be applying for. I’ve seen other people busk online, push merchandise specials, etc.