When good times go bad, take a deep breath and you’ll be back in the game in no time.
Originally from Maryland in the US, Jalen N’Gonda moved to Liverpool to study at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. Recalling James Brown and modern days acts such as Leon Bridges, his music fuses the best elements of soul, rock ‘n’ roll and jazz. We chatted to him about moving to Liverpool, Marvin Gaye and taking a deep breath when the good times go bad.
Hello Jalen, what are you working on at the moment?
Hello, I’m currently working on new music with fellow songwriters in London and Liverpool.
What are you listening to, reading and watching at the moment?
I’m listening to Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, Burt Bacharach, The Beach Boys. Just loads of 60s early 70s stuff. I’m not really reading at the moment, but I should! And I’m watching Mad Men TV series. I love it!
You hail from Maryland in the US, but moved to study in Liverpool. Did it take a while to settle in your new surroundings?
I quickly grew accustomed to living here actually, with a little help of new friends.
What do you like about Liverpool, and what do you miss about home?
I like the parks, nightlife, neighbourhood pubs and the cheap taxis. But I do miss the food from home and the TV shows there.
Do you have any advice for those who are living away from friends and family?
My advice would be to keep in touch with friends and family from home and embrace the new friends and family at the same time.
What would constitute a ‘perfect’ day for you?
Waking up on a warm sunny day with the smell of a full cooked breakfast waiting for me. Then going outside with friends and family to a trip to the pub for a few drinks. Then we go to a record store and discover a copy of a record called Guess I’m Dumb by Glen Campbell in mint condition sold cheap. Then we all go back to mine to dance to the record several times. Soon afterwards we order loads of food together while watching Mad Men.
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
My friends and family.
Complete this sentence: “Ace mental health for me means…”
Not having to look in the mirror too long.
What do you eat to stay healthy?
Fruit. Tomatoes, the occasional salad.
Do you have a daily routine of exercise or do you make it up as you go along?
I get up and do 20 push ups before jumping in the shower then 20 push ups before going to bed.
Here at The Mind Map we remember playing football and ‘tag’ – running around the playground everyday and loving it – can you share a similar memory?
I did the exact same thing as a child but played American football and basketball.
What three songs lift your spirits?
What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye, I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times – The Beach Boys, Guess I’m Dumb – Glen Campbell
What is your favourite self-help book, or motivational quote?
The self-help book for me is The Art Of War by Sun Tzu. The quote that motivates me is ‘The future belongs to those who prepare today’.
What advice do you offer to friends when they are feeling overwhelmed?
Take a deep breath. Take a good sip and take a few moments. You’ll be back in the game in no time.