by Jeanette Young
In this month’s edition, I thought I would invite you into a snippet of my world. Most recently I have been working with an amazing artist called Junior Garr, who is a singer/songwriter and the founder of The Spirituals Choir.
Junior has embarked on some amazing projects since working with The Spirituals: the first being ‘The Black History Project’, which was aired on TBNUK and the second being ‘The Christmas Project’, which was filmed at the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral. Can you believe it?!
Junior’s most recent project gained a lot of media attention, and many people were blown away with their sound, the reimagined songs and the styling of the choir. Oh, and let’s not even get started on the eclectic hairstyles… I had the pleasure of styling both projects, which was an amazing experience.
I decided to interview Junior Garr to allow you to capture the essence of who he is and how The Spirituals Choir came about.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Intuitive, adventurous, creative
What made you start a choir, and how did you arrive at the name?
For the longest time, I have wanted to create something for Black History Month. In July 2020 I thought maybe I could form a choir to interpret some Negro Spirituals, and tell some stories around them that pertain to our current times. In August, my team put out a call to see if people would want to audition… and the response was quite overwhelming. We auditioned people virtually, picked the best singers and got to work. Towards the end of the project, we were trying to figure out what the name of the choir could be, but were running out of options. On the morning of the filming and recording, I got the name ‘The Spirituals’… It was a bit of a bold move but I knew it was the only suitable name for our community and our sound.
Who are The Spirituals?
The Spirituals are essentially a collective of singers, songwriters and creatives from all over London – artists in their own right. These guys and girls are amongst some of the most talented, warm-hearted and sincere people I’ve ever met, and it’s such an honour to work with them.
How did you land the project at St Paul’s Cathedral?
After The Black History Project, my vicar, Jamie, approached me with an idea of bringing hope to the nation over the Christmas period. Our current times meant we couldn’t attend the Christmas Carol services at our churches, so the idea was that we would bring the carols to the people of Great Britain – online. At that time the government had warned that they would be announcing another lockdown, so I suggested the only place we could pull something like this off would have to be in a massive space, like St Paul’s Cathedral. Jamie pitched the idea to the Bishop of London and she loved it, so we created something special.
Why did you decide to get a stylist on board?
Firstly, I love fashion, and I think style and presentation are essential to our human experience. How you present yourself is an external expression of your internal being, informing others of who you are. The job of the stylist is as important as the writing, arranging, composing and performance. Stylists aren’t just the icing on the cake; their role is intrinsic to the final product, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I also wanted to expose the choir (from its inception) to the idea of considering how they look and how they present themselves whilst performing. Every element of the project, including styling, is essential.
What was it like working with a stylist?
I loved the process of working with you, Jeanette, because you think outside the normal scope of any other stylist I’ve met, and pay great attention to detail so nothing goes unnoticed or unchecked. I think it’s important to choose the right stylist, and I chose to have you on board because of your expansive creative intuition. I feel like I learn something new every time we work together.
What artists inspire you, and why?
Takashi Murakami, Axel Vervoordt, Zaha Hadid and Hans Zimmer. Apart from Hans Zimmer, the other artists aren’t musical, and I’ve done that on purpose mainly because of where my creative thoughts are at the moment. These artists move me because they create in a way that goes beyond reality into other realms that can only be realised in the genius of their minds.
For both projects you have either narrated or played an instrument. Will we ever hear you sing?
Lol, I get asked this question all the time! We’ll have to wait and see.
What’s coming next?
We have just released The Black History Project EP on all digital platforms, so please check it out!
For more info on Junior Garr & The Spirituals Choir, go to:
For more info on Jeanette Young Stylist, go to: https://www.instagram.com/jeanetteyoungstylist/?hl=en
Styling – Jeanette Young Hair – Nekela Alleyne & Niiella Dankwah Coffie.
Photography – Amie Croft