ARTIST TO WATCH: Jay Bird
1) We like to start off our interviews with artists telling us something about themselves that their fans may not know. What is something about yourself that your fans may not know?
A: I am an absolute health and wellness junkie and that’s actually something that I’m focused on integrating more fluidly with my music. I’ve been meditating daily for a few years, I lift and exercise regularly, and I practice Kundalini Yoga. A lot of these things became more important to me in my life after overcoming some mental and emotional challenges in my life and I have made it my goal to use music as a platform to encourage, inspire, and motivate people to take care of themselves and find peace within.
2) Tell us a song you can't stop listening to right now.
A: I can’t stop listening to I’m God by Clams Casino. It’s a beautiful organic, electronic beat dedicated to David Higgs, a victim of suicide. His story was documented on the online forum 4chan where he shared his thoughts and feelings after being betrayed by his girlfriend. He said his final goodbye and wrote a suicide note in the form of an online post. It’s really sad because all of his online friends wanted to be there for him and stop him from killing himself but there was nothing they could do.
3) Where are you from?
A: I’m originally from Massachusetts but moved to San Jose, California two years ago for a change of pace and to clear out some new headspace for investing myself into my music career.
4) When did you first get into producing music?
A: I started singing in the choir when I was 5 or 6, picked up drums and guitar when I was 12, and started to produce when I was 18. I played in a number of indie, psychedelic, and folk rock bands and my very first self-produced album was supported by the band Fleet Foxes after I shared it with them on Facebook in 2010. I started making electronic music after my first rave in 2011 when I saw Bassnectar at Governor's Island in New York City.
5) How did you come up with your stage name 'Jay Bird'?
A: Jay Bird was something my dad always called me when I was younger. When I was playing in a band we went by the Jay Birds so I just shortened back to Jay Bird once I started pursuing my solo venture.
6) What kind of music style would you say you produce?
A: I would classify my music as Indie Electronic since its always been my vision to create music that has the energy and dynamics of electronic dance music combined with the heart and soul of my indie/folk roots.
7) When did you realize it was what you wanted to do full time?
A: I think ever since high school, I dreamed of being a successful musician, but it wasn’t until later in my life that I really started to understand what that would take. I’ve always had a lot of passion for my music but it took some challenging experiences in life for me to figure out that pursuing my dream deserved my full and complete attention. About a year and a half ago I really started to put together a serious plan and a deliberate strategy to make music my full time gig.
8) What artists do you look up to in regards to their production?
A: From the perspective of studying production I’ve been listening to a lot of Jai Wolf, Kasbo, Porter Robinson, and Nero. Conceptually they all hit a similar note for me and my goal is to tie that feeling together with the soul of artists like Tame Impala, The Vines, Passion Pit, and The Flaming Lips.
9) What has been the most thrilling moment of your career so far?
A: I’ve experienced some excitement from DJing and from mild online success with my releases, but what’s most thrilling to me is knowing that there are people out there that really believe in my work and my music. When people comment on my songs, message me on soundcloud, and respond to my release e-mails, it seriously makes me glow. I know that the number of people that I’ve reached is relatively small so far but I can’t help but think of the quote “To the world you might just be one person, but to one person you might be the world.” I just want to prove to people that if you can experience some of the lows that I have in my life and still manage to create meaningful music and art, then its really possible for anyone to reach whatever their heart desires.
10) What can we expect from your new release 'Calling'?
A: Calling is a big step for me towards that signature sound I’ve envisioned, particularly through experimenting with different ways of using my voice. For a lot of EDM and Electronic music, the expectation is that you have this flawless, pitch corrected, and pristine voice. For me there’s something so powerful in breaking down that expectation to have a real, genuine, and vulnerable human voice on a track telling a story like it’s coming right from someone sitting next to you. My goal is not to impress people with my music but to connect with people and I think that keeping things authentic and keeping the emotion raw with my vocals is something I’m striving to do and successfully evoked in Calling.
11) What plans do you have for 2018?
A: 2018 is going to be a really important year for me to completely establish my brand, create a serious body of work, and master my digital presence. I’ve been on a streak of releasing one song a month for the last year and plan to continue the consistency and build some momentum to start playing some live shows. Most importantly, I’m working on defining my signature sound and staying true to my vision of indie, electronic, and soulful music.
Follow Jay Bird: