10 Questions: Deezer Series – Jay Prince
What’s good people! We’re back again alongside Deezer with another edition of 10 questions. This time around, Daniella wanted to delve deeper into the world of Jay Prince…
What was it like growing up in East London with a passion for music? How were you able to branch out, solidifying a career for yourself both in the U.K. and abroad?
Growing up in Canning Town, Newham was great. I grew up with a solid group of friends which I’m real grateful for. Growing up there was a solid community of kids with similar interests and there were a lot of opportunities to express that – youth clubs, football clubs, these things took place weekly offering kids like myself growing up in my neighbourhood a chance to really do something positive with ourselves. I used to attend a youth club called Hartley Centre which was in East Ham where I’d start recording music for the first time ever at the age of about 15, and also went to another that was right by my house in Canning Town which was organised by some of the older guys on my street.
It was also difficult because of just other things that would go on, violence etc. You know it can really give you a perspective at a young age to where you wanna be in your life. So I’m thankful for those youth clubs and the people I had around me and still have. I think thats how I’ve been able to branch out, at a very young age I was encouraged that things can go the way you want it to with a little direction, and that’s what I wanna be able to offer to the young kids that grew up in similar circumstances or just kids in general, a sense of direction and guidance, that can really be the difference in your life.
You’ve spoken about working in retail before you began your music career. What advice can you give to upcoming creatives working in careers that they aren’t necessarily passionate about?
I say listen to your heart, it can be hard leaving something that has security.
I worked a few jobs before fully doing what I do today, from being a paper boy riding around Newham with my boy at 6 in the morning, to being a sales man for a phone company whilst trying to get a degree at University at the same time, to being a steward at a football club. One thing that helped me was using those jobs to fund my passion so I could then go on to do what I love having a job helped me pay for my studio equipment, which then led to me being inspired to take on film photography (loungeinfilm) and putting together a collective (DRMCLB) where we create a platform for ourselves and other creatives to come together and do what they love. From then on everything started making more sense for me. When you know you’ll know.
You released your mixtape Late Summers in 2017, showing the world what you are capable of lyrically. I Believe In You(featuring Mahalia) particularly resonated with me. Where did the passion to create such a heartfelt track come from?
For me, it was coming to a realisation of just understanding it’s okay to be myself in everything I do. We often worry about what people think of us, how we come across, and sway what social media feeds us, it can really mess with loving yourself you know? All this worry and focus on what’s going on but no time to live your own life. I feel like we all at some point put on a front to impress people in what we’re doing. I tend to ask myself and identify what I can do in my position to help continue putting that good energy into the world.
Your COLORS performance has reached over one million views and is undoubtedly one of the standout performances on the platform. How did the opportunity to perform come about?
I’ve always been a fan of the platform, I feel like they always got dope artists on there killing their performances so I was excited to do one. I was touring with Chance at the time and we had a stop in Berlin and they knew I was gonna be in town so then we just connected and got straight to it.
It seems as though underground music scenes are finally getting the attention they deserve. How do you feel about seeing the emergence of more and more platforms dedicated to bringing underground music to the forefront?
It’s a good time for music and art period. I feel like if theres a time to really voice what you feel and express yourself its now theres an audience for everything and the times have changed from where you had to have a particular following or as they say now days “clout” but honestly I love discovering artists I’ve never heard of because there is a lot of amazing music and great messages out there that needs to be heard.
In your interview on NANG Selection you spoke about being a ‘low-key’ guy. Would you say keeping low profile helps to keep you grounded as a musician?
When I said at the time I meant it in a way that I don’t feel like I don’t need to be out here overcompensating for things that are out of my character. Things move at a very fast pace nowadays the last thing you wanna do is start playing catch up, I like to eliminate that factor. I just keep to myself and the ones I love around me continuously learning everyday about myself and the world. Perhaps the word “low profile” wasn’t the perfect word to use, but yeah definitely having the right people around you and just keeping focus on what matters will keep you on a solid path in anything you do.
How would you describe your sound in a couple of words?
For those who may be new to your music, in what ways has your sound changed since you first started making music?
I’ve grown with every release, understanding and learning a lot more about myself for the most. That to me is an indication of how my sound evolves, as I grow you hear it in the music too with what I speak about and how I choose to tell my story.
Let’s put it out there. Which artists do you look up to and would like to collab with in the near future?
I don’t really look up to artists I have more of an appreciation for what artists and any creative brings to the culture, art, expression more so because to me that can really open doors for more great art to come through, and honestly I just wanna work with anybody that just makes good shit. One person I definitely wanna work with at some point in my life whenever, Robert Glasper.
What can we expect from you this year?
I’ll be putting out my EP this year called CHERISH so a lot of music coming out this year that I’m very excited to share. Also gonna be heading back to SXSW and Coachella in the next few months.
Jay Prince was previously a ‘Deezer Next’ 2017 artist – the global music streaming service’s dedicated programme that offers support and development for artists across the globe that are on the brink of something special. The line up for Deezer Next 2018 has recently been announced with the likes of Jorja Smith and Yxng Bane forming the line up.