Welcome to Part 2 of Yarn’s exclusive interview with the Noongar Wongi hip-hop artist and activist, Flewnt. If you haven’t already, you can read Part 1 of this interview here. Through this interview, we discuss with Flewnt his upcoming projects, performances and his aspirations and advice for Indigenous youth wanting to get into the music industry. So, let’s get to it!
What will your upcoming performance at the Perth International Jazz Festival involve?
“Massive performance coming on November the 6th. [At] the Perth International Jazz Festival we’ll be doing Flewnt’s Boorloo Block Party, so make sure you don’t miss that one. It’s gonna be awesome; it’s gonna be like those old school 90’s block parties where like everybody just gets around and it’s just jumpin’ and bumpin;’ live instruments ya’ know...it’s gonna be poppin,’ and it’s at the Piazza on corner in Northbridge right next to the big screen…”
Tell us about your recent project with headspace and what it entailed. What is the message you hope to convey through the song created for this project?
“..The project’s actually called Visible. It’s a project about making health more visible to the public. We know that, particularly in black culture, it’s almost like a taboo thing to talk about your mental health. I’ve noticed it a lot amongst young men, and we know that there’s mental health issues in our community, ya know, all we have to do is look at the suicide rates, and our people being put into prisons and all these things, and underlining all these issues has got to do with mental health. So, we’re making songs that talk about that, and that was one of the verses I just spat from Desert Rose. Desert Rose is the song that I came up with with Scotty Wilson...from Broome. [We talked] about growing up as young black men...and we turned it into a beautiful song...with Uncle Alan Pigram...and Optamus making the beat. It’s just such an important track, it looks into the lives of Scott and myself, and I sort of created the story of a young black man going through struggle and strife, but then coming out of the other end as a complete and powerful person. And, that’s sort of the story of the Desert Rose as well, symbolically.”
If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?
“I would probably change the way we are looked at over here in Western Australia. I feel like we get forgotten about a bit. There’s so many artists that are just absolutely incredible and are creating some of the best music I've ever heard in my life over these ways...It’s so hard to break into the music industry when you come from Western Australia. I mean, thank goodness for social media, that’s like one of the best platforms that we can put our stuff out on…I guess that would be a big thing I’d change is like, we’d send more love, or at least, I wanna try to build something over here.”
What are your plans for the future?
“I guess when all this COVID stuff comes down, I wanna tour; I wanna go ‘round the country; I wanna spread the message; spread the word about what’s happening over here in the southwest, ya know, get our Noongar voice out across this whole country...I wanna keep releasing more music; I wanna play bigger shows; I wanna just grow as an artist and as a human [being].”
Which musician would you like to collaborate with next?
“In the hip-hop sorta way, one of the musicians I’d love to collaborate with, hopefully soon, [is]...JK-47. I just love his style and everything he’s doing right now, and I reckon that he and I would do an awesome ‘eastcoast-westcoast connect’ - I think it’d be great to bring the mob together like that. So, shout out to JK, brother if you see this, hit me up king!”
What advice would you give to kids out there who are interested in getting into the music industry?
“I would say that it is a hard road; a hard battle, but it’s worth it once you start seeing results. And, like I said before, if you have true purpose and meaning behind what you want to do; if this is something that’s more than just a hobby and you want to chase this dream and really believe in it, there are enough avenues. And, the music industry isn’t just necessarily always making it straight to the top; there’s all these steps along the way, and you need to understand what does success look like for you? That doesn’t necessarily mean touring the world and making millions and millions of dollars. Success might just be that you get to make a career and a life out of making music, I guess that’s all a part of the question. So, the music industry is hard; it’s difficult to break into and actually establish yourself in. But, once you get a foothold in there, and you’re making something that means something, trust me people will just flock to you.”
And so, we say a big thankyou to Flewnt for sharing his incredible story with us and our readers. At Yarn, we are passionate about sharing stories of First Nations artists, their creative journeys and how they give back to their communities. Honestly, we need more musicians like Flewnt in the world who are dedicated to their community; who advocate for social justice, and who continue to make waves of change amongst society as a whole.
You can check out Flewnt’s socials here: