Jeymes "The Bullitts" Samuel | Singer, Songwriter, Producer, FilmmakerThis Jack-of-all-creative is Jay Z and Jay Electronica’s favorite unsigned artist.—CHRIS YUSCAVAGE
GIVE JEYMES “THE BULLITTS” Samuel all the credit. Whether serving as executive music consultant for The Great Gatsby (Warner Bros. Pictures, 2013), directing a star-studded cast in his first film, They Die By Dawn (Film Village, 2013) or recording his undefined debut album, They Die By Dawn & Other Stories (Kilburn Lane Music, 2013), the U.K.-based artist deluxe has been the soul controller. Here, the 34-year-old reveals how he, without a major label or Hollywood studio, made a name for himself.
VIBE: How did you break into the music business?
Samuels: The first person I wrote for was Icelandic folk artist Emiliana Torrini in 2005. After that, I ended up writing and producing for Mr. Hudson’s album when he signed to Kanye West. Then, Jay Electronica and I met. From there, my name got out as an interesting person to watch.
Why do you think Jay Z chose you to help him select music for The Great Gatsby?
Artistically, [Jay-Z and I] speak the same language about going places people haven’t gone before. With him, he doesn’t care whether you’re famous. He cares about what you’re bringing to the table.
How did you convince big names like Michael K. Williams, Erykah Badu and Isaiah Washington to appear in your indie release, They Die By Dawn?
I took 100 flights to build the cast. When I met [actors], I didn’t say, “It would be nice if you could play…” I told people they needed to be part of the movement.