Get to Know Jay Isaiah [Interview]

Ian Hansen

Jay Isaiah’s art is all about emotion and feeling something. The way he sings over groovy beats through addicting harmonies showcase exactly why Jay Isaiah is gaining traction like he is. His most recent single, “Garden,” is a great resemblance of what he offers to the music community. Get to know more about Jay Isaiah below:

Congrats on your most recent single, “Garden.” What was the direction you took and where did you find inspiration for the track?

Honestly, we made that song six or seven months ago back in like November. I’m always a person who loves good weather and coming from Toronto, you don’t always get that. For me, it was making something that could transport me to that summer feeling. 

You’ve had a big year already before “Garden.” “Over U” already has over 100,000 streams. How do you feel about the reception your music has been getting this year

This year has probably been the best year I’ve had in a little while because of the fact I’m finally getting to release music that I’ve been wanting to release without any outside influence. It’s just been a great response all around. It’s been a lot more personal and is slowly and slowly opening me up which is something I’ve always wanted to do. It’s been a great response.

What other goals do you have this year, and what else do you have in store that fans can look forward to?

I’m working on the project for this year and will hopefully drop an EP for around September or October. That should be a real indication to where I am heading sonically. It’s definitely a lot different than what I’ve done in the past, but it’s starting to feel fresh to me. There are definitely no outside influences. We are locked in making what we love to create. 

How do you feel like you got to that point where you feel like you are making music that is really true to yourself and is getting yourself to where you want to be?

It was a lot of change and self-reflection. There comes a point where you outgrow certain people in your life, and sometimes the hardest thing to do is let go of those people. In all reality it’s sometimes not those people, it’s also yourself. I changed my surroundings and my way of thinking and really reflected to get to a place where I needed to be?

I feel like when artists create music for themselves, the fans relate to that most. What do you want fans to get from your art?

Honestly, one thing I’ve always wanted people to gravitate toward is emotions and just feeling something whether it be happy, sad, or mad. I feel like we’ve kind of gone to a generation where feeling something makes you less of a person rather than the people who don’t feel. It’s the complete opposite. You are way stronger when you can actually be vulnerable with people and speak your emotions. 

Being from the Toronto area, how does that have an influence on your sound if at all?

Stuff is starting to get bigger. For me, the R&B was never too large up until the past couple years with a big thanks to the R&B Radar and R&B Tommy for the culture that we do have here. For me, it was also to make music that would transcend Toronto. I never want to make music just for Toronto. I always want to be on a global level. The early years of the Toronto music scene was like dark melodic stuff. I was never that person. 

Take me through the beginning. What got you into singing in the first place?

I grew up in a musical family. My mom and my dad were both artists and songwriters. For me, as I was growing up, I spent all my time in the studio. Obviously, you grow more of a curiosity the more time you spend there. I started a more untraditional way. I didn’t really learn instruments or techniques. I kind of started out by writing. I started out as a rapper too. It wasn’t until like grade 11 in high school where I kind of got into singing. That is because I ran into one of the producers and engineers that I still consistently work with. He built my confidence. He understood I had a good voice, but it was about how to use it properly. For me, learning was singing more.

Your beats are very groovy. What do you look for in a beat when you cook up?

I haven’t gone through beats in awhile. We usually make stuff on the spot which creates the best vibe because we can come in with the intention of wanting one thing and leave with another. In terms of creating something like, “Garden.” It’s about how quickly it grasps me. How quickly it pulls me in. If it’s super sad, it’s about having that feeling translate through my vocal melodies and the melodies through the beat. 

What is one piece of advice you’ve learned while growing as a musician that you’d tell your younger self?

Just follow your path and don’t get caught up in watching other people’s success and how they did it because what they did might not work for you. It’s a process and you have to follow along with that.

Where will Jay Isaiah be in the next five years?

Hopefully one of the biggest artists in the world. That’s what we plan to be.

Describe your music in three words?

Fun. Freaky as a term of endearment. Relatable.

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