love, family, music and building pyramids with jaden smith
As the son of Will ‘n’ Jada and the elder brother of Willow, Jaden Smith’s gene pool is nothing short of extraordinary, as is his mind. Talking to the 16-year-old is like being sucked into a wormhole galaxy far, far away...
A source of effervescent energy, Jaden Smith's visceral young mind works at a million miles an hour, and is perhaps why he's able to be not only a rapper and an actor like his dad, but also a clothing designer, filmmaker, photographer, philosopher, philanthropist and builder of pyramids. Smith's enthusiasm and appetite for life is nothing short of astounding. This is a young man in love with love, in love with life, in love with ideas. We asked Jaden to break down the top ten things he loves the very, very most…
"Right now, I'm standing in front of a pyramid that I'm building. That's pretty much what I've been working on for the past month. That and studying trigonometry, so I can get all the angles into this pyramid. It's currently standing at 12.5 feet tall, but when it's done, it's going to be about 16 feet. I'm building it because I realised that school is not going to help me. I needed to assemble my own school, where I get to learn whatever I want. So I'm studying trigonometry and building pyramids. I'm about to build three more that I'm going to be living in, sleeping in and spending all my time in.
I got into pyramids when I started to read books like Pyramid Tower. I really love ancient societies. I learned a lot about the effects of putting a living being under the shape of a pyramid. Rats that die underneath one, and have been dead for months, don't smell because they preserve their bodies. It's the power of the pyramid. It preserves human beings too. But really, I just like their shape, and I know that geometry unlocks the brain. I keep adding more pieces of wood to this pyramid and it's starting to look more and more mathematical.
When I realised that I'm going to get more from this life by educating myself on my own terms, I started making albums, performing, building pyramids, designing clothes. I was like, "Wow, I never liked math and now I'm doing trigonometry." People are like, "Oh, you're a mathematician." No, I'm a mathmagician; I'm building a pyramid. You come to see me and I'm hanging outside a pyramid? That's magic to me."
"I really, truly love making and writing music. Acting was just like, "My dad makes movies, I should be in a movie. Let me try that, that seems cool." When Willow started to make music, I realised I wanted to try that too. People are always like, "Oh yeah, I'm going to pick one thing and do this for the rest of my life." But no, wake up in the morning and whatever you want to do, do that man. I just bought a C300 so I can shoot short films with my friend Moises. I'm so excited about music that I work on it every single day. I'm going to drop a project in October because it's been two years since The Cool Cafe. I have multiple albums that nobody has heard. I don't play around with honesty, I tell people who I am. Even if people might upset me, I still say it. It might make people uncomfortable because they can't accept those things about their lives and the things in my head. Every time I get on the mic, I'm just letting out my soul, and whatever is inside of me. It's me, my subconscious, my unconscious, my super-conscious. My sister: she's a huge part of the album as well."
"My dad is pretty much a philosopher. Nobody really knows the extent of how smart my dad is and all the things he knows, except the people that have met him. He knows so many things; he's into mathematics, so when he sees me getting into maths and sees me building, working power tools and learning how to cut angles he's like 'Wow', and that makes me feel really good. I'm proud of the attitude that my dad and mum gave me, I would be nothing without them. I respect them so much, they're the greatest people in the world. They're the people that I was put on this planet with and they have raised me to be such an amazing person. Well, I don't want to say I'm an amazing person, but I see so many sad people in the world that just don't have fun, they don't like anything that they do, they don't like the life that they live. They're not excited to wake up in the morning. I'm excited to wake up in the morning because I know that today is a new day. I've been walking around the place with no pants on today, like, 'It's going to be so fun to see how fast those people kick me out, it's going to be so great."
When you look at life, you can literally have whatever you want, that's what my dad and mum always told me. My dad always says, 'You can literally do anything. Don't think anything's impossible, ever. You put your energy behind that idea, it's going to happen.' My dad recently told me that he's discovered the key to life. He said, 'You have to make yourself awesome and then you have to make the people around you awesome and then it just keeps spreading until we have awesome consciousness.' I'm going to start waving the earth flag around. The next place that I go to, I'm repping earth to the hardest. Honestly we all need to come together."
"I get my heart broken like once a week, but you can break your own heart with the power of your mind, without even having another person, because we're all trapped in our minds. We never really stop to think, right now, this second that I'm talking to you, is the furthest in time we've ever been in the entire universe. The future is black, we don't know, but we're constantly moving into the future. This is a new second, this is a new second... another one. We're right at the edge of time, nobody ever realises that, they're too busy on Twitter or Instagram or thinking about their boyfriend. This is the furthest we've been, right now. I'm in love with every single person on the planet. Every single person on this planet knows one thing that I don't know that they can share with me and there are things I can do with that person that I've never experienced before.
When I look at the mathematical ratio in my body, the perfect ratio is pretty much just a measuring stick, so is every tree, every plant and every root that was born here. When I see that, I think, 'Wow we're all connected mathematically. We're literally all one.'"
"I love the topic of love. I think teenage love is so crazy, so blind and so awesome that I'm glad Willow is here to express to us what it's like to fall in love at whatever age Willow is. I don't know what age she is, because she's too smart to even have an age. I can't express love, teenage love, or what it's like to fall in love with somebody in one day. I'm glad there are people in the world that can express that. There's no music I can listen to that gives my point of view on life besides mine. When I think of love, I think of energy, I think of dark matter in space we can't see, I think of light. When I think of light, I think of the fact that we can't even see the light because of the way that our eyes work. When I think of love, I think of the universe and how big it is, and how much of it we can't see because a huge percentage of space is dark matter. But if we had different eyes, we could see in a different way, it would be a fluorescent pink web of consciousness that spreads throughout the galaxy. Those are the types of things that come into my mind when I think of love. I read a lot about love and everything pretty much says that it's unspeakable, it's something that can only be thought, it's something that can be discussed, a hundred percent, and I love that. If I'm making music that one other person likes, that's all I need. I'm building a pyramid that one person in the world likes and that person is me, that's enough. If I'm living in a pyramid, watching a movie on a huge projector with two other pyramids, and we're chilling, that's my life. That's when I'm going to be designing crazy technology and LED lights for the world. That's where I'm going to be."
Text Hattie Collins
Photography Columbine Goldsmith
Styling Djuna Bel
Grooming Sandy Ganzer at Jed Root.
Photography assistance John Baker.
Styling assistance Taryn Shumway, Jessica Kim.
Special thanks to Fawn Boardley.