When Brendan Meadows asked me to participate in this years COVET II show I didn’t hesitate. The Covet show is an interesting concept, you take a group of photographers (21 this year) and ask them all to submit a location and a “muse”, these are then put in a hat and each photographer pulls another’s location and, yet another’s muse! The whole idea is to push us beyond our comfort zones and to force us to be open to change. The final result of Brendan’s crazy experiment is 21 images that will hang in a show for ONE NIGHT ONLY (details) and then will be auctioned off with the proceeds benefiting an arts foundation.
The muse I pulled out of the hat was artist SonReal (Aaron Hoffman) who was submitted by Louis Feller . To push my “comfort level” I worked without an assistant (well, LucyAnne IS wicked with the reflector!) using available light and a tripod. I am really thrilled with the results, thank you Louis and Aaron!
Victor John Penner
creative director for T/m
After our shoot, stylist Wes Ochitwa (from issue #001 /tokyo police club) and I sat down for lunch with SonReal. While I radiated in post shoot bliss (and beer), Wes O. interviewed SonReal, for you, our readers.
Who is SonReal?
I’m someone who has been working on music since I was a little kid…
(laughing) you’re looking at my notes…
I wasn’t even looking at them (laughing)…
NO cheating!! (LAUGHING)
…wasn’t even (laughing), OK, OK, SonReal is a singer and rapper that talks about his life in an introspective way.
Where are you from and how has being from there influenced you and your music?
I’m from a small town in B.C. called Vernon. Being from a small town and being white is obviously not the Hip Hop “standard” but being from a small town HAS shaped my sound and how I approach and create my music.
How did Hip Hop find you, or how did you, find it?
When I was really little seeing and hearing it on TV, like “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” (laughing). Later, when I was older I was in the back seat of my friends car and he was blasting NWA and listening to it, all the vulgarity and stuff, it was like WATCHING a movie, it just grabbed me. I got really excited about it and I bought my first CD, Method Man – “Judgement Day” and listened to that front to back and listening to everything these artists had been through and even though I was middle class, small town and white, their story spoke to me.
What has been your biggest “moment” to date, maybe on stage, an exhilarating feeling or connection?
On July 25th I had the CD release for my last album which is called “Good News” and it was the first time that I have been on stage that I felt like crying. It was SO crazy that there were so many people showing so much love. CRAZY. It was a big moment, I have worked SO hard and it felt like it was being paid back! Obviously you live that moment and move forward, but it was big for me.
What’s SonReal’s stage game?
I’m a pretty bouncy dude, I like to move around a lot, my stage moves are influenced more by punk rock than rap, and as far as what I wear on stage I wear exactly the same stuff that I wear on the street. Cut-off jackets, clothes I altered myself, skate stuff, vintage snap back hats, stuff I am comfortable in. I also never get too flashy on stage, I never wear my shades or a whole bunch of jewelery or whatever.
How did it feel today, wearing designer clothes and being in the center of the viewfinder, outside of your world, in the fashion world?
Yeah, I acted like I was almost uncomfortable in some stuff, but to be honest it was fun, it was cool and I actually really enjoyed it. I think that anytime that you step out of your comfort zone (as long as it is something that isn’t completely ludicrous) is a beautiful thing and I had fun getting in a really nice suit and a few other things that I wouldn’t normally wear and I think that you did a really good job styling me.
Thanks! Any final words for the T/m readers?
Yeah, I think that as long as you can be who you are, don’t be afraid to push out of your comfort zone to try different things, fashion, music or whatever.
artist / sonreal
photography / victor john penner for T/m
producer / marlisse penner for T/m
styling / wes ochitwa for T/m
grooming / lucyanne botham with lizbell agency
retouching / pongsakorn (pong) yananissorn for T/m
video / courtesy of sonreal / goodlifemusicculture
special thanks to the following for their support and/or loan of products and service…
covet show / brendan meadows
roden gray / rob lo & staff
sonreal / aaron hoffman