Exclusive Interview with Jackie Marua on new EP Thirteen Eleven - Mastered by Christian Wright

20th February 2022

We’re honoured to feature the new EP by Jackie Marua Thirteen Eleven. This unique rap, poetry and spoken word collection sees Jack come to terms with the tragic experience of losing his wife to depression in 2018.

With stunning production and a raw but beautiful honesty, Jack bravely uses his music to address mental health head-on. The EP was mastered here at Abbey Road by Christian Wight.


We had the pleasure of speaking with Jack in this exclusive interview:


Can you tell us about the project - who’s involved and what inspired you to write it?

"Thirteen Eleven is an autobiographical project detailing my journey of grief after my late wife's death in 2018 and then falling in love again. My wife and I had been together since school and married for just under two years with so many plans for the future when she died.

A few months after her death I went to LA (on a trip we had booked to go on together) with a few friends. One afternoon I said I wanted to make a new project involving vocalists and they suggested the idea of forming a project around what had happened to help with my grief process.

The best thing about it is that a bunch of my good friends are involved: CD Spinz, HJJ, Ryan Keen, Slang (Dan Dare) and Sillkey. I’m also really lucky that my friend Eliot recorded Holly talking a few years ago and I managed to work the audio into an interlude. This was heart wrenching to make but is so special and has over time become great to listen to."


How did the process of writing and producing the EP help with grief?

"The project has changed massively from when I first started it a few years ago. I scrapped pretty much the whole thing last March as a lot of what we had written was talking about things I had worked through in therapy. There were a few fairly angry songs in there which was obviously a part of my grief coming out.

In March last year my son was born and I have an amazing new partner who is incredibly supportive. The songs I had written before just didn’t represent the journey anymore so I decided to remake the whole thing. The only track that stayed is Jack’s Story - its a very accurate account of what happened on the day that Holly died.

Making the EP has helped me work through my journey of grief and articulate what I needed to say.


How do you think mental health is viewed in the rap/hip-hop scene?

"I think we are still very quiet about mental health globally. Yes, the conversation is happening but the stats of mental illness and suicide say otherwise. However there are some good people talking about it and I am joining this community within music because I feel it is my duty to talk about it, share my story and open up the dialogue wherever possible."


What extra support should be put in place for musicians struggling with mental health issues?

"I think that the music industry could offer counselling services or at least direct people to helpful resources. We need to break down the stigma attached to it and make it normal that anxiety lives within each of us. Musicians, like all humans, are sensitive individuals and writing music, performing or even just networking can all be pretty daunting stuff so I think people just need to be supported as much as possible."


Can you tell us more about being an ambassador for the charity Suicide & Co?

"My new partner Ruby actually got in touch with Suicide & Co once I had finished the project and told them my story. After sending them the project and having a few Zoom meetings Amelia, Emma and Aimee from the charity asked me if I wanted to become an ambassador.

After Holly died navigating the support that is and isn’t available was so difficult. Suicide & Co have an amazing Help Hub on their website, a helpline thats open 9am-9pm Mon - Fri and you can also apply for counselling services via an application on the website too. They are a suicide bereavement charity so they specialise in the aftermath, a period for me that was obviously incredibly hard and I wish I had known about them at the time."


What made you choose to master the project at Abbey Road with Christian Wright?

"It's Abbey Road init!? Having the opportunity to have the project finished off at Abbey Road and to be able to come in and hear it in the mastering studio with Christian was such a great experience. Christian’s mastering discography speaks for itself so having the final part of the process done by him was just brilliant."


What are your aims for the project / What does the rest of 2022 have in store for you?

"The plan is to tour the project as an interactive exhibition towards the end of the year and into 2023. I hope to provide a way to display all the footage and photos from life over the last few years during the making of the project whilst being able to listen to it.

If I had had the opportunity to hear and see someone else’s journey after a tragedy like this it would have helped me massively I think. I hope it will help others who are going through hard times and give people hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel."

#JackieMarua #ThirteenEleven #SuicidePrevention #MentalHealthAwareness #MasteredAtAbbeyRoadStudios

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