At teenAGE we believe in the exceptional, and we love to celebrate TEENs and young adults doing great things in their communities and making waves for themselves. So naturally we caught up with musician, photographer and future social worker, Jevon Matthews and picked his brain on creativity, healing and growing from loss, and standing apart from the pack.
Read below for the St Mary native's thoughts on the aforementioned.
teenAGE: Which high school did you attend?
Jevon Matthews: St. Mary High School.
tA: What were you like in high school?
J M: I believe I was an average student. I was active in extracurricular activities and clubs; I was a part of the Spanish club, 4H and I was a part of the music club where I played the keyboard/piano. I also played cricket for the school.
tA: That doesn't sound average to us! Did you always want to be a social worker?
J M: No. When I was pretty young I lost my niece - she had brain tumor and she died at 3 years old - and that made me want to become a pediatrician so I could help children.
tA: We're sorry to hear about your loss. If you don't mind us asking, how do you think that kind of grief early in your life shaped you or influenced your personal philosophy?
J M: I think it gave me a different view on life. It made me value those who I have now because it taught me that anything can happen. My family had to stick together in that time and that taught me a lot about importance of family. [The loss] was actually also what brought me to cricket which I used as an avenue to channel my emotions in a healthy way.
tA: You're a musician. What instruments do you play?
J M: I play the piano, I play the drums and I dabble on the lead guitar. But I also like the saxophone and the bass guitar and want to learn to play them too.
tA: What drew you to photography, and what do you like most about it?
J M: The allure of capturing people's emotions. It's refreshing to be able to do that. I like that photography provides a different view and perspective on life for me. Overall photography is something that I enjoy and it enhances my patience and creativity.
tA: What gave you the push to go pro?
J M: I'm a student intern at the Mona Information Technology Service (MITS) on the UWI Mona campus and the individuals that I work with in the ISS Department are family to me. They share their knowledge with me and working with them inspires me to do more and to fulfill my potential. As a student intern there I also met the co-founder of Island Media Jamaica and he approached me to join his team of photographers.
tA: It's been said that photography is a fairly saturated field right now, what sets you apart from everyone else as a photographer? And what keeps you motivated?
J M: I believe every photographer has their distinct style and their own personal drive or motivation. For me it is genuine love and passion that increases every time I see or take up my camera. Working with other photographers and seeing other photographers' pictures also gives me a boost and encourages me creatively.
tA: Working and attending university must keep you busy. How do you find the time to study while balancing your passions?
J M: I can't say I balance all my passions but prioritising helps me to use my time in a manner that ensures each passion is at least embraced. But basically, I make schedules, and I remind myself that school is important.
tA: What inspires you most?
J M: My inspirations come from my family, close friends, seeing others' successes and the joy I feel whenever I help someone. It is all like fuel that allows me to go on.
tA: Do you have any advice for TEEN entrepreneurs trying to find their niche?
J M: (1) If it was easy everybody would do it and, (2) it only seems impossible until it's done. (3) If you're thinking of doing something that will improve you personally or your professional prospects just go for it! You'll either learn [a lesson] or you'll achieve success. And finally, (4) always include the Almighty God in your plan - never leave him out - pray, have faith and be patient.
Jevon is from Cool Spring, St Mary. He is passionate about music and helping others. His desire to inspire and bring hope has resulted in a life lived in service of others at church, at school and in his community. He has proudly served as a volunteer assistant teacher during summers at Mount Angus Primary School for over four years, and has lead the Social Work Students' Association (SWSA) at UWI Mona in service projects at Bellevue Hospital and numerous children's facilities during his now complete tenure as president. For more on Jevon's photography check him out on Instagram at: @versatile_jevon, or @_deluxephotographyja. Get in touch with Island Media at @islandmediaja on Instagram or send them an email at email@example.com.