Art & Design blog
Multi-talented artist Jay Clique originates from the steel city of Sheffield and has developed his sound over the years taking inspiration from his childhood music. Gospel music plays an integral role as well as R&B and Hip-hop. Jay often refers to Ludacris as the “first rapper I really got into”. XETH met with the producer, rapper & singer this month to discuss the album he’s working on and what inspires him in the studio.
XETH: At what age did you start to take an interest in the field you work in?
Jay Clique: I started rapping at 13 although I used to write poems and lyrics before. Age 13 was when I featured on my first track. I did that for years and it was only when I turned 20 that I turned to production. At first it was out of necessity as I needed beats to rap on, but slowly my interest in the creativity of production grew so I combined the two.
X: What’s your proudest achievement so far?
J: Releasing my first album, The Rebuild, online would be up there especially for the vocalist in me. I pushed myself to do things I wasn’t comfortable doing on there, singing being one of them. One song in particular, which is called ‘That Dress’, was the first song I ever sang a verse on. I remember going to the studio and Seppy, the sound engineer, heard the demo. He was like “yeah man this is fire” so I asked him to sing it and I’d do the rapping. He challenged me to do it and I haven’t looked back since.
X: What’s the most challenging aspect of your work?
J: I think getting people’s attention, these days it’s not just down to talent. A lot of the work you do in music today has to have a gimmick. Due to this it’s hard to get people to even hear your stuff because you need a dance move or repetition or videos which can be expensive.
X: What are your top three favourite songs?
J: I have a lot of favorites which change so this is such a hard question. However there are a few songs I found myself singing as a kid and still sing them from time to time so I’ll give you those. Not necessarily in this order but…
Leave Me Alone by Michael Jackson
My Way by Frank Sinatra
I Believe I Can Fly by R Kelly
X: What is your favourite London music venue and why?
J: In terms of a place I’d love to perform, I love The Jazz Cafe in Camden. I’ve only been once but the energy in that place was amazing. The stage and surrounding area is quite engaging and it’s got a beautiful balcony which differs from other venues of that size that I’ve seen. The event was a soul orchestra and I was definitely in my element. The music and vocals complement each other nicely
X: Name three creatives who have inspired you over the past 10 years?
J: Again there are more than these three but being exposed to music by these artists has definitely had an effect on me. Kanye West for his production style as well as lyrical content. Ludacris for the pronunciation of his bars and the way he plays with concepts. Producer, Rapper & Singer Ryan Leslie; this man is definitely where I aim to be creatively
X: Have you got any exciting projects coming up in the near future?
J: I am working on a new project to release hopefully this year. It already has a name which will be ‘10,000hrs’. The reason for this is to do with the famous rule created by Malcolm Gladwell, which is to say if you spend 10,000 hours at something you will perfect it. As I’ve been spending a lot of time doing music in its different forms, this project is to kind of address this. I’ve already got some features lined up and I’m really excited about it all. I will be producing the majority but not all of it too so this will be nice to have both sides of me on a full project.
X: If you weren’t a musician what other career would you have chosen?
J: Acting. I would definitely have gone down that route. I used to write plays for a local youth club and also star in them. It’s always been close to my heart but music definitely had a stronger pull.
X: What advice would you give to younger people who want to work in the creative industry?
J: Throw yourself in and don’t wait for people to do it with you. If you see an opportunity, take it and run with it because there is absolutely no telling when the next one will come up.
For more information and tour dates, visit Jay’s website
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