A song of solidarity, J-Milla’s Unlock the System is a call for love and support of the family and the Yuendumu community suffering the loss of Kumanjayi Walker.
Twenty-two-year-old J-Milla, Jacob Nichaloff, was born and bred in Darwin and is a proud Mak Mak Marranungu man. J-Milla had been visiting the community of Yuendumu two weeks prior to the alleged murder.
“I have a connection with the community … being in the community and experiencing what the community was like, everyone was so welcoming,” J-Milla said.
“After hearing the news, I was shocked … I was just there two weeks [before]. It was an eye opener, it made me feel shocked and upset for the family more than anything.
“I put myself in them mob’s position and [see] things from their feelings. Making a song about it was my way that I could show my love and support to the family and the community themselves.
“At the end of the day if that was one of my brother boys, that’s deeply upsetting. I wouldn’t know what to feel and I don’t really want to know, it’s painful.”
Having a strong love for storytelling from a young age, J-Milla began writing his own lyrics at 11 and has since found a way to channel his feelings and voice.
Sitting down to write Unlock the System, the words flowed easily.
“It was meant to be. I was on a plane flight going back home to Darwin from Adelaide, and I was sitting on the plane in my own world,” J-Milla said.
“Usually instrumentals are so hard to find … with this instrumental it came fluently and I found it straight away. That was a sign it was meant to be.”
“At the end of the day I want everybody to understand how the family is feeling … I put myself in all positions and tried to see everyone’s perspective but nothing stood out more as when I put myself in the family position.
“I’m a family man … I want everybody to show support and love for the community.”
All the earnings from Unlock the System are going directly to the Walker family to help them with travel and legal costs during this time.
“All proceeds and earnings from this song and its streams are going to the Yuendumu case and the family. I want people to know, I’ve done this to support and love all those … my earnings are for them.”
Unlock the System had an early release and is already attracting attention.
“The song has been spotlighted on Triple J – meaning I’m the artist spotlight for the week. It’s also on a Spotify playlist called ‘New Music Fridays’ with Australian and New Zealand artists that has over 300,000 followers, so that’s lifting the streams. It’s my first time being on a big playlist and I can’t wait for all those streams to come through.”
A new year and the chance to change, J-Milla hopes everyone can come together and move towards Reconciliation in 2020.
“I just want to see a change. I know making these hot topic songs, people can get sick of it.
“This won’t be my last song I will make about this, but I will slow down. I’m going about it in different ways, I want 2020 to be positive.
“It’s a massive change-up, we’re not in the teens anymore we’re in the 20s so let’s make that change and move forward.”
To stream Unlock the System and support the Walker family, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5bn7JlJ7Go.
By Rachael Knowles