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Juan & The Pursuit of Happiness, Dontmesswithjuan’s conceptual debut album, explores how human beings deal with the concept of purpose. Her fictional character Juan goes in search of happiness, this eternal human quest. Each song is a level he needs to go through to get to the next. This album is the first endless cycle that Juan will live forever.
Happiness is a timeless quest of humankind. In some other periods of time, suffering was considered a good thing, especially for the arts. Today it seems like we are obsessing about perfect happiness as a point to reach, as proof of life success, as a characteristic trait we need to have to be a part of society. As if we could magically find it and have it forever. This is what the title ‘Juan & the Pursuit of Happiness’ questions. Happiness has always been pulsing and shaping societies. It is a cycle we are doomed to live over and over again…..
With this album, Dontmesswithjuan hopes to offer a healthy escape. A confronting adventure if need be. But most importantly, a vital sense of not being alone.
Stephanie commented: ” I have been fascinated with the concept of happiness for the last ten years. First feeling lost myself, I had to ask why, and it started this magical journey. Why do we feel lost? Why do we need to escape through so many addictions? Are these addictions just keeping us from finding ourselves? Why do we live in a society where so many people need to take pills to feel like they fit in, to feel like they can function, to feel like they are ‘normal’, to feel like they are happy or at least ‘look’ happy, to feel like they deserve to live. Why do we search for one unchanging truth, one easy answer, one magical recipe? Why do we try to eliminate the ‘negative’? Why do we stagnate in our blinding comfort? This album is my own research and personal navigation through these questions.
It was made over four years and three countries, as if, ironically, I also had to live this album over and over. A lot of time to think about the world on long bus rides, my favorite activity. Think, observe and listen. A lot of traveling has shown me that happiness is not found in what the system taught us. It is not found in material possessions, delusional reputations, or instant gratification. I actually got to see a lot of happiness in people living closer to a survival state. But what is happiness anyway? Do we need it to survive? Is it just there, all along the way, whenever we want to look at it? For me, understanding that life is difficult and using this as a starting point, knowing I am never safe from an abyss, makes the expectations, the pressure, and the illusions to attain perfect happiness, fade away.
And many times I can see it, right there… right here… Happiness.