Interview: Jazmin Williams, Author of 5SOS: The Fans’ Story

One of our long-time contributors and pillars of the Wicid community, Jazz, has a book out today and we were lucky enough to get an interview from the author herself!

Hi, Jazz! How?s it going? You started yourwriting career with Wicid and CLIConline (R.I.P). Could you tell us how youfeel your engagement with Wicid helped you at the beginning of your career?

Hey! I’m well, thankyou! Wicid opened so many doors for me. From interviews to reviews and even theeducational side of it like gaining qualifications. Everything I did with Wicidwas something I could put on my CV and by the time I got to 2014 where I firstapplied for the voluntary position of my now full-time job, it was such a hugebulk! Like I looked back and it was like “Wow, I did all of this?” There wereopportunities that are so rare for just any Joe Bloggs to get access to and Ithink it’s important to take each and every opportunity given to you,especially if it’s going to benefit you in the long run!

Your book is outtoday – tell us more about it. How did you manage to write it – did you usecontacts in the industry for quotes? What made you start to write the book?What was the overall experience like?

The book is called 5SOS: The Fans’ Story and tells thestories of numerous fans who are fans of the Australian band, 5 Seconds ofSummer (known as 5SOS). I write for a pop culture website, called Maximum Pop,and between working for them and also being a fan myself, I was hearing andreading countless fan stories that were so powerful and moving and just reallytold the story as to how music is a universal language and can really be powerfulfor many people, no matter who they are, or their background. Despite thedifferent stories, they all had the same ending. It’s also beautiful because alot of the fans didn’t speak first language English so to read their storiesand how a band with a different language still impacted them hugely was just sofascinating and empowering.

After making a fewfriends in the industry through my experience, I knew how to get in contactwith the right people to send the book, so I thought it would be worth givingit a shot. Many fans make ‘fan books’ to give to artists but I wanted this to besomething else – something the fans could keep as a momento of their experienceas a fan and also to send to the band themselves.

I found the websiteto create the book from a friend who I met in Wicid a few years ago! She wasonly ever at one residential training weekend but she published her own bookand I was fascinated. I kept the website written down because I’ve always likedthe idea of writing a book someday.

The experience waspretty exciting, not how I ever expected writing a book would be because itwasn’t just me writing, it was multiple fans sending their stories. The processwas about three months and because I didn’t want to jinx it, I literally told 5friends and that was it. My parents didn’t find out until two weeks ago! It waslong and sometimes tiring, because I would work on the book after work and lateinto the nights, but the whole experience was intriguing and just so much funto work on as my own secret project.

Where can we buy the book?

The book iscurrently available on the Blurb bookstore online and is available at thislink:

You now workfull-time for Maximum Pop. Tell us about your average working day – you musthave lots of stories!

People actually getjealous of my working days because I work from home! I can sit in my PJs allday which is very lazy of me, but I feel like you need to be comfortable whenyou’re in the zone, haha! But I do a lot of work. I’m a main writer and alsohelp spread the word about fan projects, which is this new way fans engage withthe artists. A normal day would be writing up original, interesting andexciting news pieces as well as features (think Buzzfeed but pop culture). Thenthere’s typically a Q&A thrown in once or twice a week. Sometimes, I getvery lucky and interview people I’m a fan of which is both amazing and also SUPERscary! For example, I interviewed YouTube phenomenon, Tyler Oakley, which was aphone interview and my heart was racing. It’s funny because he was doing aphone press junket that day with all these big names and we were there – heprobably spoke to all these posh people in swanky offices and suits and thenthere was me on my bed, in my PJs, clutching onto a pillow to calm my nerves,hahaha!

Another story isthat I managed to get to interview the voice of Baymax for Big Hero 6 and theDirector but some of the answers gave spoilers and I had yet to see the filmbecause I had been working! A bit gutting but I wouldn’t have changed it foranything – can you imagine, a young valleys girl interviewing Oscar winners!Insane.

What advice would you give young people looking to makeinroads into the media/creative industries?

The industry isn’tas plain sailing as something like teaching or medical school, etc. You reallyneed to do your research and get your foot in when you can. Wicid is afantastic way to get experience and at such a young age range, too. It’s anearly start and you’ll be surprised what a little old website for RCT can haveto offer. The job I’m in didn’t have an advertisement. I so happened to bebrowsing around the website after reading an interesting article about HarryStyles and I saw a little tab saying ‘work for us’ and of course, I was goingto click it! It was a voluntary position for 18 months and now I’m paidfull-time and working from home. Do your research – look at as many companiesas you can. Send emails, introduce yourself, get yourself out there. I waslucky to be accepted with Maximum Pop, but it’s not always that easy. A ‘no’ doesn’t mean failure, it just means you haven’t found THE right place yet. Andnever ever give up. I wanted to give up so much with my career path, especiallywhen the careers officer told me it was difficult to get into, but as WaltDisney once said, “We can all achieve our dreams if we have the courage topursue them,” and I live by that.

Sometimes, youngpeople in RCT may feel there’s not much going on. Would you recommend thoseyoung people start writing for Wicid?

110%. I felt theexact same at 15. I was so bored and wasn’t a fan of going out like other peersand my creative juices were flowing but had nowhere to be used. Then when Ifound Wicid, it was like an itch had been scratched. You don’t have to be thenext J K Rowling or Shakespeare and writing or creative media doesn’t have tobe your career path. It’s all fun and a good hobby to be invested in which youcan gain SO much out of. Give it a try, you never know – it could change yourlife, like it did mine. 

Related Article: Interview: Mytton Sanneh

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