Mayne Champagne introduces a figure from his chequered past in his new single Joanna — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
“The writing of Joanna comes from the time in my life when I was a pimp, for a lack of a better word,” says the artist and ex-con born Jermaine Lawrence. “I grew up in Malvern, which was a troubled neighbourhood, and my mother tried to steer me on the right path by making me attend church and participate in the choir. The lure of street money was overwhelming, though, and I never was in a long term relationship with a woman if monetary gain wasn’t involved.
“Joanna was a person I met in high school who I had a deeper rapport with,” he continues. “More than any other woman I’ve ever known. She was the ‘square’ best friend I could talk to about subjects most criminals would find boring and uninteresting, and she was a consistent, steady person in my life of chaos. Joanna saw and appreciated both sides of me: Jermaine the hustler and Jermaine the intellectual.
“As the online escort business started booming in the late 2000s, I got involved. The money was great but I always felt like something was missing in my life on a personal level. I felt if I got Joanna involved in what I was doing, I could have the best of both worlds — someone I could build a future with both business-wise and personally.
“Not too long after she decided to work as an escort, I caught a gun charge and was sentenced to five years in the penitentiary. I had centred my life around another woman that also worked as an escort, but I felt more of a romantic and personal connection with Joanna. I decided to gamble on love and shift my focus, but it was the biggest mistake I ever made on both a personal level, and as a business decision. Sometimes you can’t have it all, but it makes for good writing and life experience. You live and you learn.”
Lawrence certainly has. Since those days, he has reinvented himself as R&B singer-songwriter Mayne Champagne and producer Jimmy Jump, delivering Grammy-worthy, platinum-selling tracks and contributing to Drake’s sophomore mixtape Comeback Season. Joanna serves as a preview of his forthcoming debut EP Evoking Emotions. Check out the song above, hear more from Mayne Champagne below, and follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.