EXCLUSIVE Interview With New York City Singer-Songwriter Jay Elle
Jay Elle is a New York City based singer, songwriter and guitar player. Jay Elle’s heart and emotions are his driving forces. His curiosity and appetite for life makes him an avid listener of all music genres. Influenced by classical music as much as pop, rock, rap, country and R&B, Jay Elle believes that songs should carry positive energy and messages that bring people together. Jay Elle takes you on a journey while openly sharing his experiences.
Jay Elle shared some of his experiences and wisdom with us in this EXCLUSIVE new interview…
Indie Pulse Music: Thanks for taking the time, Jay. Please tell us about your latest EP, “Ease Up.”
Jay Elle: You are welcome. Thank you for the opportunity. My latest EP, “Ease Up” is a collection of groovy, uplifting, guitar driven songs. Writing is a daily routine for me. I spend as much time as I can playing guitar and singing and trying out ideas, writing down lyrics. Then some of these ideas stick around. They keep running through my head and I develop them further. When I get really excited about them I record them. I felt I had a handful of great songs that I could share with the world. Time is the most precious commodity there is so what leads me to release new songs is my conviction that I won’t waste the listeners’ time when they listen to them.
With “Ease Up” I wanted to share optimistic and positive messages and talk about moving on from situations that may not be perfect or not working out at all. There is enough negativity around. We should keep in mind that negative headlines get us going. Some folks out there know how to push our buttons. We don’t have to get roped in. I am optimistic about the future. I wanted to share that view. The songs are groovy and hopefully will get listeners going when the world around them seem to be going from bad to worse.
IPM: Your current single, “Ease Up (Into Love)” has done very well on the
national airplay charts. What do you attribute that to?
JE: Yes, I am so grateful for the way the song has been received. The feedback from reviewers and listeners is that the songs have great melodies and grooves. They find it refreshing. They like my voice and the how I arrange the guitar parts. The songs are well written, dynamic and the messages are optimistic and uplifting. I am humbled by the feedback. It’s motivating me to write and record new songs. My thanks to everyone who is playing the songs.
It’s important to mention that Brent Kolatalo (https://brentk.com/), who mixed the EP has done a fabulous job. I am so impressed by his work. He is a brilliant artist. His mixes are perfect. He deserves a lot of credits for how well the son has been received.
IPM: If there was one band that you would have loved to be in, aside from
your current situation, what band would that be, and why?
JE: What a great question. There are so many. I would have loved to play with Derek and the Dominoes. So much to learn from that album if you like playing guitar. I would also love to play guitar for Sheryl Crow or Katy Perry. Different artists and songs. Sheryl has great guitar tracks on her songs. I am thinking that Katy might appreciate more guitars.
IPM: How did your eclectic style of music develop over the years? What
bands/artists would your fans be surprised to know that you like
JE: My number one drive is curiosity. So, not only am I always listening to new music but I look into how it was put together. I try to understand how the artists came up with the songs. One thing leads to another. I hear a cool vocal line or guitar part and I try to sing or play it and listen to more songs with that type of vocal or guitar arrangements. When a bass line catches my attention I dissect it and compare it to others in other songs. Sometimes it’s just a few notes. I store them in my head or record them and then eventually there is a blend of melodies and styles that sticks around somehow.
I write guitar driven songs for myself but I listen to lots of music and songs that feature other instruments. Bach cello suites for instance, or Chopin piano preludes. I also listen to opera, lots or raps and R&B. Acapella groups are wonderful. Fans might be surprised that I have listen to Himalayan throat singers. Talk about different.
When it comes to guitar playing, I listen to Eric Clapton and Andres Segovia. My songs are guitar driven for the most part. I try to combine a little classical finger picking with some traditional pop song harmonies. With certain grooves it makes for interesting blends and sometimes it has that country flavor.
I listen to the songs of great songwriters such as Billy Joel, Diane Warren, Berry Gordy, Paul McCartney, Sting, Freddie Mercury, Stevie Wonder and so many others.
IPM: How is the music scene in New York? Any live shows coming up for
JE: New York City brings together an amazing bunch of creative and talented artists. You can learn so much from attending any show. As far as the immediate future I am focused on writing new songs. Towards the end of the year I will look to play in small clubs to see how the audiences respond to the songs. I am open to opportunities in the meantime of course.
IPM: What 3 venues would you most like to perform at locally, nationally
JE: I am always ready to meet people and perform anywhere. As long as the audience is comfortable and the sound is good. As far as venues, I have seen great shows in large arenas but never experienced performing in one. Perhaps one day. Madison Square Garden would be a great place. The sound can be a bit washed out. It depends on the band. A small theatre for an acoustic set would work well. Like an off Broadway theater. A few people organize home or apartment gatherings. These are fun. I wonder what it would be like to do one in an igloo. I love cold weather. My guitar might have a tough time though.
IPM: What has been the highlight of your music career so far?
JE: Definitely the completion and successful release of “Ease Up.” It takes a team for sure and I am forever grateful to Laura Patterson (Star 1 Records/Group), Sherry Lynn (Star 1 Group), and Michael Stover (MTS Management Group) for their tremendous work. It gave me a boost and I am writing new songs that I look forward to recording very soon.
The “Ease up” EP has been well received by reviewers, DJs, radio programmers and audiences of course. You never know how audiences will respond. So it’s really nice to generate positive feedback.
IPM: What advice would you have to offer a young musician, just getting
started in the business?
JE: Wow! That’s a challenge. I would say, get to know yourself and be yourself.
For example, if you are not detail oriented, learn to compensate for that depending on the situation. Studio recording might require you to be very precise when playing or singing with the other musicians.
There are very few things you can control as with most other businesses. So focus on what you can control. Getting really good at writing, singing, and playing instruments is all up to you. We all have strengths and weaknesses, more or less natural abilities, but studying and practicing will make a difference. It will give you more confidence certainly. How people react to your work is out of your control. You may love to play blues but might not find many opportunities to do so. So from a business standpoint blues music may not be the easiest genre to dedicate yourself to. Yet, the genre of the moment, pop, rap, etc, will be very competitive. Do what you love.
In addition, stay focused. Decide what you want to achieve and focus your efforts on reaching your goals. You will rarely have all the resources and time needed to do everything but you might have enough to achieve selected goals. Decide what is most important to you. Stay with it.
My focus in on songwriting and performing the songs as best as I possibly can live and on records. I look to recreate for listeners the amazing experience you get when a song gives you energy and takes you to a great place in your mind. Gives you a rush and maybe a tingling feeling down your spine. A great beat, cool lyrics, catchy melodies. Simple but moving songs that you want to play over and over. They can make time go faster when you are on the treadmill or make it linger when you are enjoying yourself doing something you love. You might want to make people rush to the dance floor and let loose. It’s interesting how some songs will do that when the one song before and the one after have the same beat but no one is dancing. Learn what you react to when you listen to music and decide what you want to pass on to audiences. Do the best job you can.
Be yourself and you will be different. And accept that. Even if you are passionate about a certain genre, if you were to list the top ten artists you love I would bet they all sound different from one another.
IPM: Any plans for a follow up single to “Ease Up (Into Love),” and if so, when do you think you’ll have that ready? Will there be a music
video for either release?
JE: The next single that we plan on releasing is “Take a Holiday.” The single is ready. It is the second song on the EP. It’s a fun song. I play slide guitar lines throughout the song. I thought that sound would definitely be different these days but mostly it suggests kicking back and relaxing. The slide takes it times to get to the next note. And sometimes it gets there a little late. It’s smooth and laid back. It’s upbeat though. It’s meant to remind us that we all need to take a break now and then. It puts me in a great mood when I listen to it. The release date is up to the team at Star 1.
As far as music videos I have yet to dedicate myself to coming up with great visual ideas for the songs. Considering the amount of time I spend on writing and recording songs I don’t have the time or resources to focus on videos right now. I hope my songs inspire other folks to create great videos. I am open to working with people on that but no plans yet. I am a musician at heart. It’s all about the songs for me. Close your eyes and make up the video as you listen. I don’t have to be in it. I’m sure I will get to it but right now I am focused on the next round of songs. Who knows… someone on YouTube might be inspired and put their smart phone to work.
IPM: Thank you Jay! Best of luck for a successful 2019!
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Thank you. Jay