- Words Elle Evans
- Photography Cal Beasley
The UK’s ascending ‘Alt-Pop’ voice, Jay Lewn, discusses his latest ‘Loverboy’ EP, the transition from behind the scenes to the stage, and more.
Sitting comfortably in the wacky and wonderful world of ‘Alt-Pop’ is the UK’s very own Jay Lewn who has paved a lane of his own that weaves a slew of complimenting genres into one from R&B, Pop, Funk and Jazz. Bursting onto the scene back in 2019 with a selection of impressive singles, Jay Lewn, from a young age stumbled across his passion and love for music. From becoming classically trained to then maintaining a high and reputable service within music engineering and song writing, the budding artist stepped out of the shadows and became an artist in his own right.
As we celebrate the release of his brand-new EP named ‘Loverboy’, the 7-track project explores the different perspectives and views that come with love from the good and bad. Journeying through a diverse and silky selection of sounds, Jay’s eclectic and authentic artistry opens a gateway of escapism for his listeners to indulge.
We got the chance to catch up with Jay Lewn – mid studio session – over Zoom to talk all things ‘Loverboy’, the transition from behind the scenes to the stage, his journey up until now and more.
The past year has been wild for many reasons! How have you found it?
It’s been good! Lockdown made me face creative demons because there was nothing else to do, you couldn’t go to the studio initially. I wrote and tried some stuff out; it was a time for rediscovery, I guess.
Has it helped shape your music in any way at all?
Yes, because the ‘Loverboy’ project was pretty much written and produced in lockdown, the whole project is a product of what happened. Everything was done remotely; I would just send stuff over to people or do it myself. I took everything back and produced and mixed it all in my room; even with the features, I was never in the room with them.
For those who aren’t aware of your come up or journey in music so far. Could you tell us a little bit more about how you were introduced to music?
I’ve been doing music from a young age, I used to play piano. I have always been behind the scenes, I trained to be an engineer and I’ve done a lot of writing which has been great, but over the past 3 years I had song ideas that I wanted to do myself and not give away to other artists. I tried them out to see where they would go, and I got more and more into it and that’s when I realised that it’s really fun. Looking back on the earlier stuff, I think “Meh, it’s alright!” but there is always room for growth and reflection.
How did you find that transition? Did you find it easy?
Erm, yes and no. I remember when I got my first live show, and it was so bad! I was a nervous wreck. The more you do it, the more you build your confidence and realise it isn’t so bad and that goes beyond just being out at the front and in the studio. The more you give yourself room to create you give yourself license to try new stuff out, what I thought was out of the ordinary before is actually quite chill. I am definitely still learning and developing and grow with it, but it’s been a process for sure!
Were there any major influences that you grew up listening to that have helped shape your sound in any way?
When I was younger and at the early stages of writing, I listened to a lot of Frank Ocean and Odd Future in my late teens. Stevie Wonder has always been there for me, I love the artistry from people like Prince and David Bowie. I love JPEGMAFIA so much, his attitude is great. Then there are artists like FKA Twigs which I love. Maybe not directly but these artists’ energies are something I see, for example with JPEGMAFIA, he’s not anywhere near what I am doing but the energy that he gives is something I want to stand shoulder to shoulder with. It’s not the exact music they are making, it’s the actual artist that I am inspired by which is great because it leaves you to be inspired by loads of different people.
You’ve recently dropped your sophomore EP ‘Loverboy’. Tell me a bit more about the title of the EP and the concepts – if any – that you wanted to push?
‘Loverboy’ for me is made up of different perspectives on ‘love is a muse’ because love is the ultimate muse for musicians. I wanted it as a concept record so that each song is a different perspective on the same thing, “Still Blue” is a heart-break ballad with me and JGrrey, “6 Figure Flow” with Kish! is about being out and about and feeling the love from people within friendships and “Glitter Ain’t Gold” is loosely based around a character from OnlyFans, “Bloom” is more nostalgic with a rose-tinted view growing up and the images surrounding coming of age. It was definitely a great way to anchor different viewpoints and tie them all together, ‘Loverboy’ is the character I had within the project, and it’s developed into a weird and wacky project.
“Topdown” was the first single from the EP that you dropped. What was it about this track that made you decide that this would be the first taste of what to expect from it?
We wanted to start with a defined song, it felt good, and it was the only one that was co-produced here and in the states. There was a real live feel to it, I wanted to start the year with something that would cut through what was quite a dark and cold month [laughs]!
You have a few features on there as well! How did these come about?
Kish! was the first feature that I got; I’ve been a big fan of what he is doing for a while now. I hit him up and sent him the “6 Figure Flow” beat and he really liked it; I initially wanted him to sing a part of it but he said no! *laughs* Jaz was the second feature I got, and I’ve known her for a while because I mixed her COLORS show and her single “Petty Lover”, so we’ve been on each other’s radar for a while. I sent her the “Still Blue” and “Glitter Ain’t Gold” instrumental, she really liked “Glitter Ain’t Gold” – this was before the beat switch – and I said “Cool, I hear you on it but let me make you something different” so I produced the beat switch for her, and it became a completely different song. Jaz recorded it and what she sent me back is on the record – literally the whole thing! With JGrrey, she’s local to me and we’ve been working together. Similarly, she liked “Still Blue”, and I wanted to do a different perspective, but I still thought something was missing so I asked her to do an intro section, so I produced that, and she went for it and that’s how it happened.
In what ways do you think this differs to ‘Form 01’ project?
Production-wise it is more adventurous and lyrically it’s more established, I have matured more as a musician. Even with the collaborations, I was open to working with more people because with ‘Form 01’ it was largely only me and one producer. Beyond ‘Loverboy’, I’ve got music coming out that I think is more pushing so with each stage of the Jay Lewn journey, we will be expanding on what we did before.
What do you like to do for fun?
I mean, I like to go out [laughs]. I’ve been recovering from the Bank Holiday weekend! I love to cook, but I just love doing music. One thing I love is disappearing away from everything and coming into London for work and dipping back out. I love having time out of the madness and that why lockdown has given me so much creativity because there was nothing else.
What else can we expect to see from you this coming year?
There is a lot of new music coming! This EP was finished and mastered in June, so it’s been done for the best part of a year now. I’ve been trying out some Funk stuff and a Disco song actually! There are a lot more UK and US features on the way as well.