An Interview with Julian Lennon: As He Is Andrea Seastrand February 12, 2014 Interviews 45 Photographer and philanthropist Julian Lennon’s past couple of years have kept his schedule booked and the master melodist in his element whether in the studio, in front of or behind a camera, or supporting his charity’s efforts. As demonstrated on his latest album, Everything Changes, and in his documentary, Through The Picture Window, Lennon is as much a work in progress as is his art and is a man modest enough to know when to give in to the creative spirit, leaving only the best result with his fans and worthwhile causes. Curator for an exhibit commemorating The Beatles’ 50th anniversary of their first U.S. tour, Lennon’s eye for photocomposition brings a unique Beatles collection to the public at Morrison Hotel Gallery Feb. 7-28. For more on Lennon’s White Feather Foundation and what compels him, read on and visit julianlennon.com. Hello Andrea. How are you? Hello Julian. I’m well. And you? I don’t know. (Laughs) I haven’t got a clue. I’m delirious; it’s been a long day. In brief, I’m heading off on a trip to Ethiopia and Kenya next week on behalf of my foundation and last week I had to have all the necessary jabs and shots, the likes of typhoid, hep A, and—what’s the killer?—Yellow Fever! Yes, that’s it! That’s the one that’s kept me in the dark all week! Oh my God. Today is the first day I’ve felt normal, I kid you not. It’s been about a week now and there were some moments where I couldn’t get out of bed. It felt like I’d been hit by a truck, seriously. Every muscle and every inch of me felt like I’d really been in a car crash. It was incredible. And a 12-hour fever, that was a joy. So, bear with me. I’m coming out the other side of the tunnel right now so you’re getting me at a good time. An ounce of prevention, right? Oh wow, this is true. If this is a sample of what these diseases are like I could only imagine how horrific the real deal is. Horrifying. Absolutely horrifying. Anyway, so there we are. I have other questions for you but, since you mentioned your foundation, I’d like to talk a bit more about that. What takes you to Ethiopia and Kenya? I had the great pleasure of meeting Dr. Jeffrey Sachs in New York last year who’s doing The Millennium Project in Kenya, which is another thing I latched onto last minute. Initially I was heading out to Ethiopia because my foundation had done a water campaign with a great organization called charity: water who I think are phenomenal and I think have done some incredible, incredible work. So last year we’d done the water campaigns because  was deemed the Year of Water by the UN. We made a lot of money and set up new clean water wells in many, many locations. I decided, after meeting Scott [Harrison, charity: water CEO] last year in his offices in New York and hearing that they take about four trips a year where they take groups of people out to the sites, that the only one that I knew I had a clear spot for was this trip coming up at the beginning of February. Normally they take groups of 30, 40 people sometimes but this was just about six or eight, Scott and his wife and one or two others. I thought, well, this would be much more my cup of tea. I’ve actually never done anything like this before. I’ve never gone on the ground. I figured that it was one of those things I needed to do in life. And I believe it will be a life-changing experience for me. Not to namedrop, but I’m quite close with Bono occasionally and I mentioned I was going. He said, “Jules, Ethiopia was what turned my life around, what changed me into the man I am today in putting RED and the One Campaign together.” I told him that was good to know because I have a sense that that’s going to be a driving force behind me from this point on. So it’s going to be an experience and a half but I think at 50 I’ve done, pretty much, most other things and I can really support my foundation by getting on the ground and seeing the reality of the situation. Also, not just as a photographer, but for me personally. I really wanted to get in on this to do some editorial photography and also some artistic stuff of the people who are incredibly beautiful, the landscape which is incredibly beautiful and put either a book or an exhibition together on behalf of the foundation too, or auction off for the charities involved. Again, a life-changing experience that I think will push me even further toward more humanitarian, environmental goals and aiding those issues in the future. Without question, I sense that in me. Of course, I want to ask about the exhibit you curated for Morrison Hotel Gallery. This is a huge time in Beatles history, how might the exhibit offer something more unique than other tributes to the band’s legacy? Well, let me see here. I’ll do a little roundabout. So there were talks about the whole Grammy thing, being involved or being part of that. It was all a bit mad and trying to get information out of that scenario was like blood from a stone. Who’s playing what, everybody was keeping schtum about who’s doing this, that, and the other. And I live in Europe anyway, not that I can’t get on a plane, but it was like if I’m going to be involved in any way, shape or form then I need to come out there for rehearsals. Like I said, blood from a stone. At the end of it I said, “You know what, I’m just gonna wish you all well. Have a great time. I love you dearly, but uh…” Another thing I wanted to do was stand in the audience, you know, clapping with the audience (laughs), watching other people sing Beatles songs (laughs)? For me it would be Celebs Do Beatles Karaoke Night. I don’t need to see that (laughs). I’m not being rude. That whole thing is not my cup of tea. I’m just not wired that way. Again, I wish them well. I just think events like that can be—not saying that it is because I haven’t seen the performances yet—can be a little on the cheese factor side. I prefer to know The Beatles as they were, when they were. There can never be a reunion anyway so I just thought I’ll send them my love, wish them well, hope they have a great time. Prior to that, Timothy White, a dear, dear friend of mine who’d done my second and third album covers and also was the one that curated my first exhibition at Morrison Hotel Gallery, got me into photography. I’ve since gone on to do many projects, events, and shows with this group. Now, Timothy has become one of the partners in the group. Last year alone I think I did anywhere between three and five projects or exhibitions with them in New York, L.A., and popped up in Miami for a bit. I just thought, because I’m much more focused and my passion, first and foremost these days, is much more aligned with photography that something like this could work really nicely and would be much more sentimental to me on so many levels, not only with my association with Dad and The Beatles and being the son, but with being a photographer and artist. I just thought, what a nice and much more beautiful and humble way to approach this than joining the circus, so to speak. There were hundreds of photographs to look through, so many that I’d never, ever seen. So I took it onboard and thought this would be such a beautiful thing to do. Just to find the images that, to me, were very unique and special that were able to tell me a story. I was able to look at their faces, look at their eyes in those images and know exactly what they were thinking and feeling at that moment in time. So I went on my gut feeling. It took a lot of time because there were so many great shots. It was not about the technical aspects of any of the photography, it was purely driven on what I saw emotionally as a son, as a man, and as a photographer trying to capture that moment and bring it forward to my life these days. I agree with you. The pictures I saw were special and wonderful in their rarity. I think so too. There were some that had similarities but there are a couple there that I’ve just never seen before. I thought, wow, such a great moment, such a great moment. This makes me more than happy. And to be able to come at it from this angle, from a different place entirely from everybody else and just do my own thing with these photographs is, for me, more than special, more than enough from my perspective as my version of a tribute to them. Lastly, let’s talk about your latest album, your app, and the documentary. What I took from the documentary is that there seems to be something compelling you to compose, whether it’s music or photography. Why do you think that urge is so persistent? (Laughs) I often question myself on that one, too. I guess, because I’ve had quite a few years off here and there and moments of reflection and trying to find oneself, to a degree it’s all about pride and purpose in life. I can’t just sit back and do nothing and that goes for every aspect of my life. It’s like, I can’t sit on a beach. I can’t do that. (Laughs) I would love to be able to lie down and not do something but I’ve just become, over the years, one of those people that feel the need within to produce, to create, to experience, to share. Without it I’d be a very unhappy person. It’s my version of an artist’s way of relating and being able to have a conversation with people. There’s got to be purpose in life for me, otherwise what is the point? I feel I’m fortunate that I’ve found a good many levels there, on the creative front. Music, photography, documentary making, the charity and foundation. That’s a busy life as it is. I’ve been blessed that they’re all things I love to be a part of. It can get overwhelming at times, don’t get me wrong. The past two years, putting the projects that you see before you—the documentary, the 14 videos, the two albums, the app, and anything and everything else that’s gone along with that, the exhibitions I’ve been part of—it’s been full-on at times. It’s not like I can say it’s been an easy, floaty little ride. The underlying stress to make sure that all of this stuff actually happens and comes to the fray is a lot of work. I think things will be a little easier and smoother for me down the road now that I’ve got that bulk of work out the way for a minute so I can leave that with people and breathe for a little bit and get on with new projects which are already lined up for the next year. There’s not that much time off in my schedule at the moment, but that’s fine. It’s kind of what keeps me going. Julian Lennon’s photo exhibit commemorating The Beatles’ 50th anniversary of their first U.S. tour is being shown now through Feb. 28 at the Morrison Hotel Gallery. His new app, Through The Picture Window, is available now on the app store. For more details on the event go to morrisonhotelgallery.com, and for more on Lennon and his photography, music and charities, go to julianlennon.com. 45 Responses steve rainbow February 12, 2014 What a wonderful person you are be happy and continue in your work and interests in Peace. Reply Maria Rodriguez February 12, 2014 Congratulations Julian So sorry you got sick glad to hear your better and have great plans ahead thank you for all the help you did for Kenya and The documentary i was trying to look p your fb to get more info on charities .. Best of luck to you Maria Rodriguez..:) Reply Linda Lou February 12, 2014 Very nice interview. I have a better idea of the kind of man Mr. Lennon is. Thank You. Reply C. Harvey February 12, 2014 Just to say, Cynthia Lennon raised a truly great guy. Thank you for the interview. Reply Judy Napoleon February 12, 2014 Julian, I wish we could have seen you at the Beatles 50th Anniversary Tribute, recorded on 1/27, and aired in the US on 2/9. Dhanny and Sean were there, but I REALLY missed you! Hope to see you here in the US soon. Reply Nita February 12, 2014 Julian, I’m amazed at how REAL and centered on the important things of life you are. Your Dad would be proud — and I’m grateful for what you’re adding to our world. Thanks. :) Reply Lou Fritz February 12, 2014 Your Father’s biggest fan….to this day. Have always found you interesting, Julian. As well as your brother, Sean. Reply Nanette Ames February 12, 2014 Suchswhat a wonderful intelligent , informed talented young man . Thankyou Julian ! Reply Linda (aka danzzing) February 12, 2014 Well done! Great framing of the questions. Appreciate your taking time to share his perspective, and, to Julian for providing the public with greater insight as to the many voyages his is on currently traveling. Reply bruce Polak February 12, 2014 Good on ya Julian!!…great thanks for your compassionate work providing clean water.(We last met swimming with Cetaceans on Maui and before that…shooting billiards with Arthur Stead and Corrine F in NYC)….Am a holographer/photographer…who knew your dad…All best J L..keep up the GOOD fight Reply deborah duley February 12, 2014 this young man is amazing…. Reply Micki Hope February 12, 2014 Beautiful tribute to your history. I hope I have the opportunity to see your work one day Reply Peggie O'Neill Baron February 12, 2014 I love this man! Indeed John must be proud! Reply Karen Huven February 12, 2014 It was a very good interview I have always wondered what your life was like then and now. Would love to see your photo exhibition but, unless it comes to Wisconsin I’ll never see it up close and personal. Possibly in a photo book. God bless you Julian and your hard earned efforts of your charitable givings. Did you know that in poor countries children don’t know water is clear? Casting Crowns a Christian band helps get wells done with contributions from their concerts. That’s where I heard that about dirty water. Reply Cheryl Bowen February 12, 2014 So glad that your life has taken such wonderful turns. You are John’s son but also your own man! Keep doing all the wonderful work that makes your life so fulfilling! Very proud of you Julian Reply John Ulrichsen February 12, 2014 So good to hear what’s going on in your life Julian. We don’t see or hear much about you in Wisconsin. I’m a fan & not because of your dad, loved him but I like what you’ve done in the past and where your life is taking you. I love photography also! Always have one of my camera’s everywhere I go. Best wishes to you! Reply model ginger lee February 12, 2014 Love you and your work Reply sheryl scheiterle February 12, 2014 you are truly the bomb I admire you and I wish you would call me 913 915-8232 Reply Ronnie Faircloth(femalle) February 12, 2014 Julian, I get on facebook I’m sure you are aware of.But the comments sme people have been making about you not being there at the Tribute for The Beatles are really bothering me.I went as far as to tell a lil white lie just to try and get them to shutty. Could you (or someone that works for you send out a comment as to the reason you couldn’t be there.Hell you can comment about it on my page if you want.I just want them to shut up!They have no right to talk about you or anyone for that matter not are they due the right to judge you. Thank you for listening ..he or reading..me out.A distand friend and fan. Ronnie Jean Reply Alan perkins February 12, 2014 I very happy and pleased of your work and career and moving forward doing it your way. Reply claudia parke February 12, 2014 You’re a class act Julian. Thank you for highlighting the important issue of water, and for your generosity in all things. Reply Leonora Orr February 12, 2014 Hi Julian, I’m the ‘Auntie’ who was born the same day as John, Oct. 9th, with the Harvest Moon in MIND, looking to SPRING! I also lived in Africa for 10 years, teaching, building latrines and water systems, writing grant. Wishing you WELL in all pursuits, Pumehana (Warmly), me ke aloha, Leah/Leonora, Artist / Educator / Gardener Reply Maria Rodriguez February 12, 2014 ok Julian i dont know what i am missing my friend ..you can inbox me anytime thank you for helping so many people i want to be part of the white feather foundation.. :) Reply Maria Rodriguez February 12, 2014 so happy your project went through i would love to help with the white feather foundation sorry you were so ill glad your feeling better can not belive or want to imagine how these poor people live its too heart breaking you r a womderful person please feel free to inbox me your friend Maria Rodriguez Reply Carolanne Cream February 12, 2014 I love this interview! Intelligent and interesting interview. So frank,honest and it reveals a side of Julian I was unaware. Thank you for posting this. Reply margery ruan February 12, 2014 I really like the things you are doing,stay happy. thank you for letting us see someone make the distance, and doing very well. Reply Ben Simmons February 13, 2014 Julian, I’m Glad to know that you are doing what your core tells you, as opposed to “Joining the circus” or as dad would say, “being on the Merry-go-round”. Good for you Julian, you are your own man, and I can tell that you love people and all of Gods creation. Dad would be proud, I know your mom is proud! Thank God that you have that individualistic spirit about you, just like dad. Bless you John Charles Julian Lennon. Sincerely, Ben Simmons PS Love knowing that you & Sean are bros. -Later Reply Sue Lemke February 13, 2014 The Beatles changed the world and have been my favorite band of all. Favorite song (I want to hold your hand, but love so many more, Hey Jude, She loves you, Listen do you want to know a secret, I would sing with my little brother and act it out. You don’t look fifty Julian. Reply Terry Aston February 13, 2014 I pray that the vaccines did not contain any Fluoroquinolones in them.If you have weird bizarre issues you got Floxed. I am a floxy….and I feel horrible everyday ..and live in pain all caused by BAYER and Johnson & Johnson …Check out “Cipro Is Poison” meet my good friend Jeff…Were doing a Rally May 8 & 9 th against these drugs.It is a WORLDWIDE epidemic and it needs to end Terry 410-483-4876 USA…No more vaccines The Cure Is Really Worse Then The Disease ! Reply Sharon Thomas February 13, 2014 Looking forward to seeing the photo exhibit. I was not impressed with the 50th Amniversary show. I will hold on to the memories of my youth, not the same without John & George; rather pompous of Paul & Ringo! Reply An Interview with Julian Lennon: As He Is, The Beatles music February 13, 2014 […] on Lennon and his photography, music and charities, go to julianlennon.com. Full article at theaquarian.com » By Andrea Seastrand ← Newer All Articles Older → Comments powered by […] Reply Denise Mannino February 13, 2014 Bless your work, and your courage for doing humanitarian service. That’s the best any of us can do in memory of our parents, ourselves, and for this privilege of life. Reply Robyn zach February 13, 2014 Julian Lennon has so done so much for planet earth. His continuance to strive to put an end to strife and create a unity of balance, peace, harmony and love in this world is embraced by many…and hopefully…someday by all. Reply Nancy February 13, 2014 I have such respect for this man. Reply Deborah Roche February 13, 2014 I would have enjoyed Julian performing Beatles songs on the Grammy show, he sound so much like his father, it would have been a very special performance. Yet, I understand, I can’t handle vague, it feels entangling, I have to have a direction a vision. Reply Luci sampson February 13, 2014 It’s good to hear about Julian instead of Shaun . I’m gonna check out the gallery he did on the Beatles. his dad would be so proud of him today too. Reply amy girt February 13, 2014 I agree w/you I felt the Beatles Tribute show was like watching karaoke!? I believe the world just needs good music! Turning back the clock seems the only way! The tribute seemed forced & not taken seriously? Hope you continue feeling well Julian! Reply Carolyn L Sullivan February 13, 2014 Julian Lennon is an amazing artistic individual. His art in what ever expression it takes is beautiful. What I believe sets him apart from many is his relentless humanitarian work. He really puts himself into it. It has nothing to do with promoting anything. I am always surprised how he keeps in touch with people. Where does he find the time? To sum it up Julian Lennon is a beautiful person who cares. Reply Jill McCann February 13, 2014 I loved John in all he did. Reply pat koenen February 13, 2014 Great to hear something about Julian Lennon was a 16 year old in 63 loved the Beatles. Remember hearing Julian record and thought he sounded so much , like his dad, I was actually food shopping with my kids first time I heard his music. A fellowshopper stopped in theaisle with this odd look on his face because your dad had been gone by then. We both said that can’t be John Lennonwe waited till the end of the recording both agreeing you sounded so much like him it was haunting, he would be so proud of you. Pat Reply Nancy Lee Perry February 13, 2014 Excellent interview and what is so wonderful about Julian, he tells it like it is and we enjoy hearing from him and knowing what he is doing. Thank you for such a fine interview. Reply germana esuperanzi February 13, 2014 you really have a plus I’ve been praying for you lol Reply kathy February 13, 2014 just watched your “Someday” video loved it. Makes me appreciate you as a person, ties in beautifully with my need to see there is hope for humanity. Thanks for the brightness thru the haze! Reply Kate Becker February 13, 2014 You are a wonderful Human Being! Reply Ann February 16, 2014 Huge fan of yours, Julian…..music, art, and charity work. That said, I think calling the tribute karaoke was a little rude. These were amazing musicians so happy to be playing the music that changed their lives and made them want to be a musician. I think it was a lovely tribute to the band…..wish you could have played a song as well and been a part of it. All that said, I wish you only love and peace and continued success! Reply Leave a Reply to steve rainbow Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.