Many of us find ourselves on a journey in our lives. It can be physical or may be spiritual, and occasionally, it can be musical. For Myanmar artist J Par the journey is a little bit of all three.

Born into a Chin family here in Myanmar, she was just 9 when she took her first steps into the wider world, moving with her family, first to the Philippines, and then later to New Zealand to live. 

“Growing up overseas definitely helped me understand the beauty of language and how it touches the heart of people. You could hear a song and not understand a word but can feel it in your heart. Even after many years, I can still remember the national anthems of both countries word for word. Still don’t really know what it means, but I can feel every word in my heart.”

And so her musical journey was born.

Today her passion is R&B music, but her tastes are as eclectic as the collaborations she has done. She has a unique voice recognizable in the songs she has featured in with other local artists such as Vagarį, JAZ3, and Moe Htet. Her latest release is a collaboration with Valgarį with a song and video called Start Over.

“Valgarį and I initially worked on this back in 2018; it was supposed to be like any other song I’ve ever made, with a verse, chorus, and such. However, it just wasn’t flowing, and so we left it alone for some time. Then I heard Vagarį freestyle his magic on the piece, and the song came to life. It was nothing like anybody had ever heard, and I loved it” 

The song and the video package were significant to the artists and the production team.

” I have to say, EARTHboundMISFITS production team and Vagarį really came through with the planning of the music video. We had to shoot it all in one day since the warehouse we were using was only hired out for the day. It was nonstop and exhausting! Especially with the heat trapped inside the warehouse and not to mention our very thick jackets. Vagarį and I got very sick after the shooting. But in the end, it was all worth it because we made sure this was more than music and production.”

J.Par’s style may sit comfortably in R&B, but she has branched out into other styles and worked with artists here like ITT ENT and EARTHboundMISTS and has plans to collaborate with many other artists and producers.

She credits her wide taste to her family and her faith.

“The people that influenced me would have to be my own family. I was brought up within a church compound, so music was always around me with the church and all. Even then, I found that I was surrounded by different music genres—my aunties and uncles with crazy about country and rock. My brother was into hip-hop and R&B. My mother led choirs and was always playing Gospel music. Their different tastes heavily influence and have shaped who I am today as an artist.”

Her Chin background, she says, is also a big influence on her. 

“Being Chin definitely plays a huge part in influencing my music. One thing we as Chins love to do is sing and dance together. That’s why you will see many musicians here are Chin! It’s a part of the culture that I take a lot of pride in, and I will forever cherish. “

J.Par is unphased by this covid enforced downtime for the world of music. She believes Start Over is a movement, a gamechanger for the entertainment industry of Myanmar. She thinks that this is only the beginning of Gen Z.

“For the future of music in Myanmar, I see that we have a long way to go when it comes to reaching international standards. However, I’m not worried about knowing people are working extremely hard to make changes to this. If anything, I know we can easily bypass these standards. It’s just a matter of people not being open-minded enough for it yet. When the times come through, I can assure you that we will be doing wonders. For now, though, we’re taking it one step at a time!

Like any exciting journey, one step at a time is the best way forward, and for J.Par, it seems that her own journey has really only just begun.

Songs of J.Par you should check out :

See our playlist of J. Par songs here 

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmrQFoatJqk7YsvZDJ0IyySdSPhFxjwf4

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John Cutliffe
John Cutliffe is a music producer, musican and composer and has worked with well known artists in his native Ireland, Scotland, London and Nashville and has toured extensively with bands for 40 years. John has been living in Yangon since 2016.

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