The voice behind the viral hit "Your Mrs", Jay1 is taking the UK rap scene by storm. We sit down with the musician to talk family, fans and jamming to the beat of your own drum.
When it comes to writing great rap and hip-hop, Jay1 believes that you don’t pick the beat, the beat picks you.
This philosophy has guided Jay1 all the way to Youtube’s Top20 videos and into the O2 Academy. His journey from aspiring rapper to one of the UK’s biggest talents has been a swift and remarkable one, kicked into super drive just this year when the artists’ grime single “Your Mrs” went viral with over 30 million streams.
However, Jay1’s journey to success has been in no way conventional. Starting his rap career in Coventry after leaving London with his family at 17 due to rising living prices. Most of the UK’s rap scenes are located in London, Manchester and Birmingham, but this did not stop Jay1 from pursuing his passion and making a name for himself. If anything, the added pressure of establishing a career as a singular force made him work that much harder.
In tandem with hard work, Jay1 tells us that his success wouldn’t be possible without his strong support system. Encouraged by a loving community of family and friends, Jay1 was able to navigate the fast-moving world of hip hop with heart and conviction, building upon the success of “Your Mrs” with an expanding body of work. His summer hit “Mocking It” made “Your Mrs” look like child’s play, with 2 million streams in its first 3 days of release and his debut mixtape “One Wave” was released to critical acclaim. From Radio1 to Capital Xtra, the UK airwaves and digital spheres can’t get enough of him.
With each new release, Jay1 cements his name as a future star of Britain’s rap scene and saturates his sound. His early music reflected a keen ability to capture the hook-driven attention of listeners with party-popping tracks, while his new music shows that this dynamic artist can blend nuances of dancehall, grime and even instrumental ballads to create R&B with depth and richness. In the album “One Wave”, Jay1 moves from the sensual ballad of “Tropical Love” to the skeletal piano flairs of “Ay”. On the inspiration for his expanding sound, Jay1 says that it is down to creative spontaneity, experimenting during recording sessions until he finds a sound that clicks.
It definitely seems like Jay1’s music has clicked with his audience, who come in droves to see him at O2 academy shows and festivals such as Take Off and Park Life. The rapper tells us that being on stage is where he really comes alive and connects with his music. Hearing his fans cheer gets the adrenaline pumping and brings new energy to his tracks that even Jay1 can’t predict. Sweaty and buzzing from the show, Jay1 can’t help but carry the crowd’s energy with him, from the afterparty all the way home to the recording studio.
Seeing fans locally and around the world connect with his music is one of the best parts of the job, he explains, you never get used to hearing people sing and dance to words you’ve written. Fans regularly reach out to Jay1 to share how his music has helped them through difficult times, and he says it is the biggest motivation even when he lacks it himself.
Reflecting on the journey so far, Jay1 describes it as a whirlwind. To see how far he’s come in 12 months is equal parts insane and gratifying, lighting the fire under him to keep pushing further. But first, Jay1 is going to take some time off to just be Jason, he admits. To really give this snowballing career his all, he has to pause and give some energy to himself first. The artist is looking forward to charging his batteries for a bit, but not for too long. He has his eyes set on new material, bigger venues and the superstardom that is already simmering across his existing music.
It’s clear that for Jay1, this beat is just getting started. Until then, check out ‘Mocking It’ here.