QueenGJ (Gass Jallow) is a Creative artist, singer, rapper, and entertainer. She is best known for her unapologetic extrovert personality traits, creative style, as well as her fearless approach to club hosting and live rap performances.
Tell me about yourself, how did you end up here?
Well, My name is Gass Jallow I’m 22 years old, born in The Gambia in two cities Banjul and Baku. Came to Sweden at the age of 5 and was raised in Stockholm. I’m a traveler and rich in life experience. a spontaneous, go-getter, and laid back. I just don’t like going out that much. But when I’m outside I’m lit and the vibe creator. I’m here today because I’ve made a big impact in my city, community, and people’s life. In the past, I’ve been a bit more of the background of others' art, work, and success but now my time has come. It’s time for me to let myself shine through.
When did you realize that music was for you and how did it happen?
I’ve always known music was my destiny from an early age. When I was 9 years old, I had this one important goal of mine and it was to join “the musical class ” in school, I wanted to develop my vocals and learn more about music. I remember applying and getting denied 3 times because the teacher told me “I wasn’t good enough”. I went home and felt like my whole world fell apart, but something in me wouldn’t give up. As I was home I kept trying to figure out a plan to still get in,
I told myself “If I truly want to do music then I must get into that class by any means”. And It wasn’t an easy mission, but I went for it! I put time and effort into figuring out ways to sneak into their daily rehearsals and learn as much vocal training as possible, so I could get another chance to get accepted for my next addition. I managed to sneak in many times until I finally got caught and there I end up in the principal office chair. It was said that other students had been seeing me in their classes and that I’d been missing out on my classes. I end up getting a warning to not enter there again, I remembered at that moment I broke down into tears, feeling like the whole world was against me. As I was crying and trying to explain myself, The principal calmly walked up to me and said “You’re one stubborn little girl” and said the magic words I’ll never forget “Gass, I’ll help you get into musical class”, she decides to convince The head of the music center to give me a one month trial to be apart of their class. Which later lead me to go there full time. At young age giving up was never a choice and there and then I proved to myself everything Is possible.
How had that story shaped you today?
Looking back today at my childhood, life wasn’t easy for young me. I was never handed anything. The word “you’re not good enough” still followed me as I got older and affected me deeply. The older I got the bigger challenges got, and the painful words became my reality. I was often told my dreams were too big and wouldn’t be able to pressure them. So In my early teenage, I dimmed my light more and hide in the shadows of others. I always felt like I took too much space even when I didn’t try to. I tried to always not be seen, and at some point even stop showing up for the school group photos, and there I build up insecurities.
Do you think you should do something different?
Years passed and I never spoke about my music to anybody but myself. The close people to me knew of course but no one pushed me to fully commit to it except Mike. When I was 14 I had a phone buddy, who I could share everything with. Mike always wanted me to sing for him and spend days and nights listening to me talking about everything. I like to say he was my soulmate, he always told me there is something special about me and if God chooses me, I shouldn't let other people project their opinion on me. He wanted me to share my voice with others. The day he passed away I huge part of me disappeared, I remember wanting to sing for him at his funeral but got scared and never did… Today it’s something I regret deeply. But in the mid of all these painful tragedies and heartbreaks, there was still this strong fire in me, that came out of me now and then that everyone knew of me. Once I heard the sound of music, I automatically started dancing and it didn’t matter who watched or laughed at my moves I kept on letting it flow. Dancing took me to another dimension each time. I think it’s because it always brought me closer to the child in me, who loved music and dancing in her little world. Although I wasn’t showing my vocal sides as much, I still found myself in the studio and watching others create. I just loved being around it and always found ways to be a part of it whether it was a session for me or others. In class 6 there was this one girl who used to rap so well and everyone made fun of her but I admired her so much. The boys used to say “girls can’t rap” and that challenged me. One day I asked her to teach me how to rap and wow I can’t explain but the empowering feeling was something I knew right there was missing in me.
How was it later in life?
At age of 14 teens, I started to be a part of behind-the-scenes for other creative projects and acts, simply because I wanted to learn more and I sure did. It has been an interesting journey so far and it taught me a lot about myself and others' stories. 2018 That's a year I’ll never forget! Few years before I met a guy named Jonathan, who was a then promotor and he truly believed in me! He heard me rap, play a few demos of mine, and then challenged and convinced me to perform live.
When was your first gig?
My first QUEENGJ performance was in “Trädgården”. It was after that performance I remember telling myself “This is all just a practice before the big stage”.
“When people tell you not good enough,
You start hiding from the world.
But you can only dim your light for so long.
Music’s my destiny so it found me again,
and this time it’s here to stay. When your true passion calls on you, there is no
choice but to follow it unapologetically.”
What kind of music did you grow up listening to?
In the Gambia, I grow up listening to Senegalese music and Indian music. In Sweden I listened to late 90s Hip hop, soul, and RnB, I loved MTV! Then I got introduced to dancehall in 2011, but today I pretty much listen to everything such as afrobeat, amapiano & more.
How did your career start?
I wouldn't say my career has kicked off as big as I want to yet, but I’m on the right track for sure! I have been working on my own music lately. And I’ve recently gotten many opportunities/collaborations from brands, Promoters, and venues to perform live with my unreleased music, which has pushed me, even more, to want to release my music ASAP. I might be in an early stage of my career but I can see the clear, big vision and success ahead of me Inshallah! I’m very excited about this journey of discovering new things and developing more of my sound and art.
When did you realize that music was something you could make a career in?
Very late actually, I think I was around 16 years old. It was when I started to travel and made friends with international artists and creators who live off it full-time. Because here in Sweden it’s quite rare that musicians live under the pressure of their art full time. Most artist always has some extra job or freelancers on the side to survive. I feel like many people do music here as a hobby. Well, It’s not like the American pop star lifestyle. But maybe the time has changed, I hope so. As for today, I know music is more than art. Music’s just like any other business and political party. The only slightly different is that is more of a personal thing, it’s your own story and brand you putting out there. Which can feel pressuring, frustrating, and intense, and taught especially on today’s media platforms, people can be insensitive, harsh, and mean to the artists. They forget we’re humans too and social media it’s not the best place to be at always. But that’s a part of this roller coaster of challenges, it’s not always glamorous and fun once it becomes too serious therefore It’s extremely important to have a strong, loyal, smart, genuine, and supportive team to fall back on when you have some setbacks.
Do you find that your music changes you or does the music change with you? I experience both in different periods. Lately, I would like to say I’ve affected my music more than the music itself affected me. When I’m in the studio or alone jamming to music I’m very emotional, focused, and present at the same moment. I feel safe, excited, and relaxed when I create. Singing allows me to let my emotions flow and rapping allows me to express my alter ego… It is always a statement when I start rapping! I know I’m THAT IT GIRL aka that b* who gone say whatever she want unapologetically and stand on it. On the other hand tho I truly get inspired by others' stories and my own experience which leads me to be this open and free to create.
Which singer would you dream of a collab with, dead or alive?
The top 4 would be - J Cole, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Youssou Ndour and dead ones Pop smoke, XXXTentacion, and 2 pac. Although I want to work with many new creators both big stars and upcoming ones. I look into people's potential a lot. The next big artist could be anybody, It’s important to not underestimate anybody. Everyone deserves a chance and time to develop, you never know what magic or impact you could be creating with someone once y’all are in the studio together.
What do you do before a performance?
Not that much, I usually just talk to God, practice my songs, or worry about my outfit. Fashion is an important part of me. I often overthink the crowd’s reaction, but only because I know there to watch me but they don’t know what to expect. It’s a very interesting and proud moment, I’ve managed to grow a supportive crowd by simply being myself WITHOUT releasing music. I can only imagine how much bigger it could get once released. Inshallah!
Do you have a preparation ritual or something?
hmm, hard question. Well, secret many people don't know of me, when I feel like people don’t like me or doubt me… I always manage, to find a whole new embodiment of my energy. And that’s how QUEENGJ got created, she is my alter ego and very different from Gass. 2016 is when I gave her a name. I just perform better when I get upset. I know it sounds weird but it works for me. Can’t complain either, I kinda like it.
What can we expect from you in the future?
BIG THINGS! I’m just getting started. Your girl has recharged and worked on her! Moving forward expect a lot of FIRE, unapologetic confidence, statements, carefreeness, realness, and slaying! IT'S QUEENGJ time and my sound will make noises. Just hold on tight because I’m coming out becoming the next big STAR and I’m more ready than ever! I believe god has very big plans for me and I have no choice but to complete my mission. Soon y’all get to see me on bigger stages near y’all cities.