NEW ARTIST SPOTLIGHT-GOLDBOOTS (JEFFREY WALLACE)
POSTED OCT. 6TH, 2017 | BY TONI POSTELL
Jeffrey Wallace is a 25-year-old videographer and photographer based out of Richmond, Virginia. He attended and graduated from James Madison University in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Health Science. He is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated and he currently works for an advertisement agency as an assistant video editor. Last week he spoke with CSUITEMUSIC.com Music Editor Toni Postell.
What inspired you to become a photographer/videographer?
It was a mix of things. My mom always had a camera in her hand and was always taking pictures, so I think that was always in the back of my head. And once I really got into photography it gave my mom and I something to bond over. She is one of the most creative people I know.
What really got me started with photography was In high school (I was a freshman) there was a senior on my varsity basketball team named Asa Jackson who was taking a film photography class and I thought the work he was doing was cool. I talked to him about the class and one thing that got my attention was that there weren’t any right or wrong answers. Sure, there were concepts that had been proven to make an effective photo but my teacher Mrs. Tarbox explained to us that rules were meant to be experimented with. And that was what made it so interesting. Other classes felt like I was just memorizing dates or formulas. In my photography class, it felt like I was actually making something that I was proud of. I didn’t feel like I was wasting time learning things that I didn’t care about.
When it comes to videography, it kind of just fell into my lap. I had a roommate that is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. and a couple days before his probate he asked me if I would film it. I said of course and kind of did it as a gift to him in a way. That was my first time ever filming something and after that, other orgs around campus started asking me to help them with videos. From then on, I just grew to love videos. Around that time is when I started to dive into really watching and appreciating online videos. I was always really into companies like The Fader and Noisey’s videos I started watching day to day documentaries of artists like Mac Miller, Wiz Khalifa, and Wale. So videographers like Rex Arrow and Orli Arias had a really big influence on me.
Who is your inspiration?
From a videographer perspective, I’d say Kendy Ty, John Merizalde, Rex arrow, Spike Lee, and Quentin Tarantino are my biggest inspirations. Their work really stood out to me in terms of the way they were shot and they’re great story tellers. Aesthetically their work is amazing and in my opinion they exemplify what it means to be “cinematic”.
What is your overall goal you want your fans to see in your work?
When it comes to videos I really try to give people a better understanding of the artist I’m covering. Getting a chance to be behind the scenes with artists gives you a whole other perspective of them and gives you a better understanding of their music. Every artist I’m interested in I watch their interviews, documentaries, etc. about them so I can get a better sense of them as a person and their personality. So, I guess you can say my main goal in terms of video is to help the viewer see their favorite artists in a light they wouldn’t normally get a chance to see them in.
When it comes to photos and my Instagram page, I really try to uplift and encourage my followers by being transparent. One of my friends Mike Gee (@24bucks) is a super talented photographer and me and him were having a conversation about social media and our work and I remember him telling me… man this goes beyond getting reposted by these big social accounts, it’s about making an impact. Social Media gives us a platform to connect with and help people. Until that conversation I hadn’t thought about it in that way.
So instead of quoting lyrics and what not, I’m posting quotes that are relevant to my mood at the time or whatever I’m going through. I don’t just pick a random positive quote and post it, sometimes I don’t even pick a quote at all. I just say what comes to my mind. Some people might think it’s corny, but as long as somebody is listening and it’s helping them get through whatever they’re going through, I don’t care. Just like everyone else I’ve gone through stages of depression, heartbreak, failure, etc. and two things helped me get through these things: God and encouragement from others. Life is unmerciful and It’s not meant for you to go through alone.
The other part of my goal is to inspire people to follow their passion. I was a health Science Major in college with little video experience, but I chose to stop making excuses and really go after it. The chances of me going on tour with Goldlink were slim to none. But I made a plan, put in the work, and spoke it into existence. So, if that’s possible for me then there is some much possibility out there for everyone else. You just have to go get it.
You did Goldlink's tour last summer, how was that experience?
It was a blessing. I’ve never told him this but he is one of my favorite artists and his first album And After That We Didn’t talk helped me get over a relationship I had with a girl that broke my heart. That album was so transparent, it really resonated with me. It was refreshing to hear an artist put out music that was authentic and transparent. There are no artists out that sound like Goldlink.. he’s in a lane of his own.
I can’t really put the experience into words. Like I said before it was really cool to get to know the dude behind the music and honestly that was my favorite part. I learned a lot from my time on tour regarding documentaries and videography in general. There were many mistakes I made and some things I wish I would have done differently, wish I would’ve handled certain situations differently, but that’s part of life you know. Learn from it and keep pushing until the next opportunity reveals itself.
He’s such a humble dude and his loyalty is admirable. He really tries to put on for his hometown. Everything from his stylist, to his DJ, to his tour managers, to his friends are all based out of the DMV and he really treats them like his family and shows them so much love. Even if you look at his album a majority of his features were artists from the DMV.
“Once I care about you that’s it. I got you forever at that point.” I remember Goldlink telling me that at one point during the trip and he really lived what he was speaking. While we were on tour there were many conversations about how he was going to put people in positions to set themselves up for success. Lucas his stylist is in a league of his own and everywhere Goldlink goes he’s right there with him. Sunny who he shouts out on the album is an aspiring artist and there were multiple times on tour he brought him out to perform songs from his tape. Marvel his DJ has been rocking with him since day one along with his tour managers. He brought out one of the executive producers of At what cost Obi on the road with him as well and they would be bouncing creative ideas off each other throughout the duration of the trip. It was really a family.
I made a goal when I graduated college in 2015 and that was to go on tour with an artist that I was truly a fan of and I did that. It was definitely life changing.
Who is your favorite artist?
It’s hard to name a favorite, but I’m a big fan of Anderson paak, J. Cole, Kendrick, Goldink, drake, Toro Y moi
Where do you see your career in 5 years? 10 years?
In 5 to 10 years I see myself as a Director/Director of Photography of either Documentaries or Advertisements (I know those are on two completely different spectrums haha).Or owning my own media outlet similar to Vice. That’s the ultimate goal.
What is your favorite photo you have taken? Why?
My favorite photo I’ve ever taken is the one I took of Goldlink and Pharrell after his interview with othertone. I’m from the 757 or Newport News, Virginia so Pharrell is definitely a hometown hero. It was cool seeing two generations of Virginia artists come together and break bread over music. That’s was an iconic moment.
How do you feel about the current events that are occurring in politics?
There’s a lot of things going on, especially in the United States. I’m not a fan of Trump at all. I don’t think he’s fit to lead the country, but I think his Vice President is even less fit to serve our country. I’m not a fan of his stance on immigration, health care (even though he’s been back and forth on the matter). Overall I’m not a fan of his character point blank.
In terms of racial injustice, it’s been going on for hundreds of years, but as time has gone on it’s taken different forms. Whether that’s racial injustice in the workplace or in the police force. It’s sad but true. That’s why it’s so important as artists, athleters, business men, students, whatever you are… use your platform to speak out on these issues and start conversation. We have to continues to let everyone know these injustices aren’t going unnoticed and we won’t stand for it.
What advice would you give to the new generation of artists?
Don’t be afraid to fail. When you’re starting out, fear is what will paralyze you. The only way to get better at your craft is through trial and error, repeatedly. Constantly making something and getting that feeling of “not it’s not quite there yet” is a huge driving force in creativity. And that introspection helps develop you as an artist. I still feel that way when I put out work now. I’m nowhere near where I want to be and that’s what pushes me to get better.
In this line of work you have to take chances and really bet on yourself. The bigger the risks you take the bigger the reward you have the potential to receive. With that being said not every chances you take will be rewarded, sometimes you lose plain and simple, but getting back up and being willing to take another risk is what separates the good from the great. I’ve taken so many Ls man, but I just don’t stop.
Don’t get discouraged on your journey too. I’ve been told no so many times in the past couple of years that I’ve just become numb to it because eventually after all of those Nos there will be a yes, and that yes could lead you to an amazing opportunity. Also, reaching your goal is going to take time, I don’t care what you see on Instagram and how easy people make things look, shit doesn’t happen over night. I’ve been going hard at this for two years and I’m nowhere close to where I want to be. I’ve taken steps, but I’ve got a ways to go. But the grind is the fun part so enjoy it.