About 5 years ago
I received a phone call from Jurnee (remember our Hollywood shoot?) to tell me she got engaged. Overwhelmed with a mix of emotions — ecstatic being the predominant one — I’ll be honest: my world stopped for a second. By this point, I had just graduated college under a year ago and we’ve been living our own lives on opposite sides of the country. The wings of time have been flying swiftly under our feet, so it’s been terribly easy to get caught up in our own endeavors: I was trying to find work in a recessionary period, she’s been going on auditions building her acting career. The 3-hour phone calls we used to have in our mid-teen years turned into shorter check-ins; although, enough for her to give me the best advice about anything I needed help with or how to quickly turn a negative into a positive (she’s always looking at the glass half full, as we all should). So it was no surprise that in my mind having not really seen her much during her dating years I quickly asked myself: to who?! Yes, I knew who. Of course I did. But when Father Time has his way, you wake up one morning without having truly appreciated or taken advantage of the years that have come to past. I’m here to report that in a nutshell (or an eggshell to keep up with the bird motif, why not), getting to know her fiance — Mr. Josiah Bell — and the true love they share between them has been beyond inspiring and enlightening. His name also starts with a J to add to the eight-person Smollett family of J surnames, so that’s just coincidentally awesome.
Josiah’s an extremely talented musician with an incredible sense of style. In his teen years, he was already producing and writing music for other established artists. In fact, at the age of 15, he put out his first record and it went gold, which quickly proved to his parents that he can flourish as a singer, songwriter, and producer for the rest of his life. His latest release? Love Moon, a track he produced a co-wrote with a friend. It’s difficult to say that Jurnee wasn’t an inspiration for this song, as she is for all of his work — their love sets the premise for literally everything they do either together or individually. But there’s also a love in the song for life with an overwhelming desire to say “thank you.” The simplicity of the beat — a building classic guitar line that’s playful yet seemingly busy — suggests a “thank you” for all the simple things, those that we let fly by and easily take advantage of without the consciousness and ownership of time. While musical inspiration comes in many forms, Josiah finds a major source of inspiration in art. “Music is a palette of colors,” he says, “I’m just putting them together.” You’ll even see that his single cover is art, specifically double exposure photographer. “It’s my absolute favorite thing ever!” His video, which was just released last week featuring Jurnee, is even shot with double exposure. Additionally, he enjoys the works of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Mr. Brainwash to churn his musicality forward. I personally have been trying to surround myself with art for the very reason of inspiration: I recently used up a bunch of old magazines and created a canvas piece for my kitchen, and I also live in the art district of New York where major artists showcase their work.
As I’m sincerely interested in entrepreneurship — and Josiah and Jurnee are running their own brands and businesses — I’m always curious to know what “rituals” people follow to keep them going day-after-day. My dad always told me that if you follow the every steps of people who you’d like to be, do everything, eat everything, and say everything that they do until you can mold your own fashions and create your own path that works. For Josiah, it’s morning meditation, listening to a vinyl record daily (he even listened to Adele’s 25 on vinyl while the rest of the world downloaded it on iTunes), running, and a tuna niçoise salad from Tender Greens. Regarding the latter, both Jurnee and Josiah enjoy a part vegan, part pescatarian diet with one cheat meal a week. Funny enough, that cheat meal is usually an açai bowl — a snack most people would consider part of their healthy track.