The British nascent pop-R&B singer talks his debut album, TikTok, and the zodiac.
While Jace Heyman’s friends were out playing football as a kid, he stayed at home harbouring an encyclopedic knowledge of R&B, which now spans retro greats like Mario or Justin Timberlake, as well as those front and centre in 2022, including Ella Mai and The Weeknd.
With debut album, Love Under The Influence, Hertfordshire’s Heyman hopes to make a decisive stride towards the echelons of R&B success in which his heroes reside. Aside from music, he was also known as his school’s talented dancer, and the boy has a business and Spanish degree under his belt, plus 2.3 million likes on TikTok too.
If you’re wondering if there’s anything he can’t do, so are we, but what we can say for sure is this all-rounder is already capitalising on his abilities, rolling them into one and emerging as an artist with some serious intent.
Head below to read our chat with Jace about his new single “Star Sign”, his favourite artists, and how he’s using TikTok to make it…
Hey Jace, how are you? Where are we speaking to you from right now?
Hey Wonderland! I’m very well thank you, I hope you are too. I am in sunny(ish) Hertfordshire. I created a little home-work office during the lockdown. I can spend hours on end in here sometimes.
Massive congrats on your debut album Love Under The Influence! Can you unpack the title for us?
Thank you! I came up with the album title mid-way through 2021, when we had two-thirds of the track demos. I realised the songs we were making were all about love but influenced by something – time, other people, partying, alcohol etc, so I thought the best way to sum up the album would be Love Under The Influence. It is a creative yet simple title which I’m quite proud of.
The UK went into its first lockdown in March 2020, incidentally the month you dropped your debut single. How has that journey to now and releasing your debut album been, especially amid such turbulent times?
I dropped “Drunk Text” not even knowing what was to come in the next few months after. It did not help as I already had performances lined up and so many ideas, so it was a bit heartbreaking. However, the lockdown made me and the team more creative with marketing, getting the track out there with the power of social media. It made us think on our feet. I personally think we did a great job and learned so many skills which have helped me release my album. It still can be difficult as during the lockdown everything became more digital, which created more competition. Nevertheless, I’m constantly learning as these challenges come.
Your commitment to music goes way back. We read that as a kid you stayed home to study your favourite artists rather than play football with your mates! Who was the first artist to really make an impression on you?
I remember when I was younger, the only artist I would ever watch or listen to was Michael Jackson. It would have me in awe how he could sing and perform for hours and make it look so easy. I wanted to be like Michael Jackson. However, I can also say that his impression helped create other amazing artists such as Chris Brown, Usher, Justin Timberlake and Ne-Yo, who I also look up to and take inspiration from their music and performance styles. Michael will always be at the top of the list as he is the King of Pop and shaped some of my earlier musical memories.
Once you made it to secondary school your talent was identified, and you became known as ‘the dancer’. What was the performance you gave that first made you stand out?
I don’t think I can pinpoint one performance, but in my last year of school, I got involved with so many things that it would have been hard not to notice me. I played the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz musical which displayed both my singing and dance talents. That was a gruelling week of long shows but my stamina became amazing. I was also choreographing and performing for every dance show I could get involved with, inside and outside of school, and training at a performing arts school, Warriorz, which is hip-hop and street dance-based. I still go back, to this day, for classes and to catch up with my teachers.
You went to university to study business and Spanish, but at what point did you realise that music was the only career for you?
I knew the whole time I was studying that I wanted to go into music and dance as a profession. I also had a mind blank of how I would do it as I didn’t have any connections or knowledge. It’s funny because I would spend more time in the dance studio than in the library, but my tutors don’t need to know that. I would say that when I met producer and label owner, Devin Greenwood, I was pushed to take music seriously and he has been a great mentor and music guru these last two years. I love what we are building together independently. During this time I’ve also met amazing songwriters and even a mentor, Jamei Black, who features on Love Under the Influence. She has helped shape my songwriting to what it is today, with weekly songwriting sessions during the lockdown. Music is about people, and artists become superstars with the right people around them, so I think I’m on the right path. University was still a great experience and I would recommend it if anyone is not sure what to do. Give it a go and see where it could lead you.
Do you think the subjects you studied could be incorporated into your artistry? Will we ever hear you singing in Spanish?
I actually started writing songs in Spanish before English. I am a huge lover of reggaeton and I have artists such as Ozuna, Nicky Jam, Lunay and Rauw Alejandro on repeat every day. I would love to collaborate with them. In this album I have a small bit of Spanish in one song, if any listeners find it on the album I would love to receive message of that finding! I have some Spanish songs that I will most likely release with future albums when I have a larger fan base, or maybe touring in Latin America and Spain. I love the language, culture, people and of course, food, especially from Colombia, which was my favourite trip I’ve ever taken.
We love your latest single “Star Sign”! You’re a Scorpio, what parts of your personality do you attribute to your zodiac sign?
I’ve been told I meet all the typical Scorpio star sign traits. Emotional, ambitious, resentful, honourable and jealous, to mention a few. There are some I don’t totally agree with but emotional and jealous are two I can unfortunately say is correct. Not in a bad way of course. To write “Star Sign”, I did a lot of research into horoscopes to make sure I got the personality traits correct. I used the line: “And us Scorpio so careless”, because that is one trait I know all Scorpios will relate to. We do have a tendency to be a little naive and spaced out at times. Scorpios are also very thoughtful and mindful too, so we always give you our 100%, which is exactly what I put into this album.
You have an amazing TikTok with no less than an impressive 2.3 million likes. How important do you think TikTok is as a tool for artists making their way today?
TikTok is the new Instagram, TV, Netflix, and adverts all in one app. Once you find your niche and how the algorithm works for you, it can be a really good way to blow up your product, music or brand. I am always finding new ways to use the app, but it helps to have 50K fans that not only like my dance videos but have found my music and make videos to them. It’s free advertising. If there is any advice that I can give to any artist, it’s to jump on Tik Tok and test the waters with different things and talents you have and keep posting until it works. It took me almost a year to blow up on the app, with one video reaching two million viewers in under a week. Hopefully, I can grow to reach millions of followers on the app, I feel like it’s almost a small family on there that I can provide content to every day.
With a debut record now under your belt, what’s next for you?
As well as pushing my album worldwide, I have a few singles and projects lined up for the end of the year. I think people will hopefully gather a hint of what type of music it might be. I also am already thinking about my next project. I wrote so many songs during lockdown and 2021, and so I think it’s time to start getting them out there. As well as new music, I’m also performing at Island Summer Splash in Croydon. This is my first ever performance and festival so I’m killing two birds with one stone which is amazing. I’ll be performing some songs from my album and also TikTok dances, with a few surprises. This week I’m celebrating my release in Soho with an album launch party, which will be just a chance to get my friends and fans together in one room, meet people and let our hair down after all the hard work. It is going to be a busy second half of the year with my release, so I’m excited to see what the rest of 2022 has in store.