We throw an abundance of questions to East London’s newest hip-hop recording artist, Jay Prince.
Give us an insight into journey – where did it all begin with you?
With my journey its most definitely been a long one for sure, looking from the outside in it may not seem like it at times because of when things really start kicking off which has really been in the past 2 years. Music as a whole began with me from a young age I feel it is a passion that has always been instilled in me but my earliest memory of having interests in music was when my parents had got a Keyboard as a wedding gift, I was the only one at home that played the instruments and fast forward to the age of 14 I then began starting to write my own music and really practicing art, 17 years of age and that’s when I really decided to make this something I wanted to do for the rest of my life and be able to have a voice that speaks to everybody and give everybody something positive something to look forward to something . All in all give people truth and what I would I have liked to listen to .
How do you think the UK and London has shaped you, creatively as an artist?
The UK has played a big part in my creativity its not the same as anywhere else, and me living here all my life I have taken inspiration from particular genres that go from garage to grime and subconsciously this was not only able to shape the artist I am but more so who I am as a person, my art is me. And living in London its easy to get lost and try and finding your feet musically (personally) and also being brought up where you’re from and that goes for anywhere asides from the UK. Being from where I’m from (East London) I have absorbed so much culturally and it has really taught me how to balance reaching out to different audiences.
Did you grow up around music – are any of your relatives musical?
I was always around music from a very young age especially going to an African church which was predominately driven by music, African music specifically, my parents at the time would take me to church every Sunday and got me into playing for the church band which I eventually took part in playing the bass guitar at first and then went on to playing the keyboard for my church, my father was a Christian Deacon so him being associated with the church he wanted me to play some part in the church too and I had decided to take on music. My eldest brother was the first to introduce me to Hip Hop being 7 years older than me he was always a big Hip Hop fan so I guess to some degree he was musical. so yeah the majority of my life time has been spent around music in some way, shape or form.
What kind of sounds were you listening too as you were growing up – any guilty pleasures?
Growing up I was listening to a lot of Kanye West and Jay-Z, Common, OutKast and a little WU-Tang but with Wu Tang being so young I obviously had to do my homework as I grew up, same for J Dilla & Slum Village, like those were the guys for me especially Kanye West and OutKast, Kanye because of his production too being such a great artist with real good production and that was something that I always wanted to grow into doing in my career. and with Outkast because they are just some cool cats everything about OutKast is cool. I always had a guilty pleasure, I don’t know if I would consider this a guilty pleasure but I used to be so heavy into music from the South, Lil Jon, Eastside Boyz, and one of my favorite songs ever used to be Lil Jon “Damn” featuring YoungBloodz.
2015 is proving to be a pretty successful year for you – what do you want to achieve by this time next year?
This year has definitely started off in the direction, next year Im just looking to keep developing who I am as an artist and translating it in my music to create a really consistent and solid body of work, main thing is just really pushing boundaries and taking music and what I do to the highest level.
If you could have written a track by any other artist, which one would you claim?
It would definitely be an Andre 3000 joint, Prototype and A Day in the life of Benjamin Andre, absolutely love these records here.
How do you think you would fare as a creative without the aid of social media?
I can confidently say that I wouldn’t be where I am in my career if it wasn’t for social media, we live in a age where everything is now online everything you practically look for and want or need is online, and with my music I think it wouldn’t have the reach it has now if it weren’t for social media and all the social media platforms.
Do you think it helps or hinders a Musicians career or longevity in the industry?
I feel it’s a matter of how you use the internet and social media to your advantage it can most definitely help and really reach an audience you wouldn’t be able to locally, you can definitely grow a chain of supporters and new listeners everyday but at the same time it can be a hindrance mainly because of the age we live in being so digital there is music being put out every single second and it comes down to how do we keep up and also we always want something new, we don’t really sit down with music as much as it would have been a few years ago, with the internet its about have the balance of quality, quantity and exclusivity, creating a balance with all of these can be a long and slow process but there are results in consistency avoiding saturation.
Would you say you’re pretty fashion savvy? If so, do you favour any specific designers or labels / brands?
I wouldn’t put myself in the category of being fashion savvy but there are some cool brands out there that I have kept my eye on for new products like “Rains” “Nicce London” Nike” but i’m just a casual dresser anyway not really involved in the world of fashion.
Tell us more about the forthcoming year – what can we expect from you and we here can we see you perform?
This year I’ll be doing more shows around Europe and the US, the aim is definitely to keep growing and introducing more people to my music and what I do, growing that fan base. I’ll be having my first headline show on March 12 at the Red Gallery, will also be performing at SXSW for the very first time so I’m looking forward to taking part in that for sure !
Tell us more about the EP – are there any tracks on it that you’re particularly proud of?
The EP is my favorite project to date I enjoyed the whole process of making my ideas a reality and getting on board producers I really wanted to work with on this project, understanding the vision that I wanted to put across, the EP mainly focuses on bringing in inspirations from music I grew up on and also showing my growth as an artist and a person telling true stories of my real life experiences from family and love. The stand out tracks for me personally are Cruisin as it almost didn’t make the EP but it consists of very personal topics about myself and my father and younger brother which is something I haven’t touched on in my past project and I think this is one of the first songs where I feel I was able to express that with real quality in the music and the story at the same time, which is hard sometimes as the music may not always be right for the story vice versa, same with 1993 featuring my friend Richie Saps who is based in East London just like myself and with that song because its so close to home I wanted to keep it within the circle of people I grew up with who could channel simillar walks of their life and have an understanding of the vision I had for the song. Last but not leat Polaroids, 4U and Feel It these songs have been songs the people have made what it is today, the success of these songs were down to the people, these songs are songs which have been life changing and career changing because of the people and its who I do it for.
Words: Shane Hawkins