We had the good fortune of connecting with Jai1 and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jai1, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Back in college, we use to have freestyle rap sessions at the late night cafe’. I would participate frequently and eventually elevated to where I would be requested to rap at the cafe’ at random parts of the day. That turned in to opportunities off campus and being scheduled for events. From that experience and my brothers in my ear about seeing me actually doing this as a profession, I gained the confidence I needed to move forward with being a rapper. I saw how music could impact and life and it’s a great feeling knowing that you as individual can provide that experience.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My Jai1music brand in one word is authentic. I don’t make music about what I haven’t been through, seen, or want to change. In a world where everything is instant gratification and microwave music, I make art that’s soul food. Soul food tends to stick with you longer. With that said, I am proud of the progress I’ve made since starting out. I came to the rap game late in the sense that my story doesn’t involve me dropping out of highschool to pursue music. My senior year in college is when I got serious about being a professional artist so I had to learn everything at a quicker rate. My music from a quality, depth and confidence perspective is 1000 times better now. I’m proud that as an independent artist I currently have my song “Black Power” on FM radio in multiple cities, just signed a publishing deal, and I have an active distribution deal via Bentley Records for my upcoming August 14th EP “Cruel Summer”. I was able to finally have representation under Greenupmgmt with Landon Greenup, but there were challenges I had to overcome to get to this point. It started with defining who I was and who did I want to be as an artist. Once I figured that out, I had to make sure I had a place to record, a producer willing to work with me, and finances to fund it all. That’s one of the biggest challenges i still deal with because as husband and a father, I have to balance family needs vs career aspirations. Frankly, unless someone invests in you, a vast amount of opportunities take money which in most cases can easily be outside of a set budget. In addition to money, fan engagement is an Achilles heel. There are so many people doing what I do and have chosen the career path I want, so it’s a slow grind unless your content goes viral. Then promotion companies offer “real fans”, “real engagement” that make your profile look good, but lacks substance at the end of the day. Building a consistent fanbase while working to grow your capital is the biggest challenge, but also the most rewarding when we do finally break through. Lastly, I want the world to know that I’m coming, and I’m hungry. I’ve staked everything on building my brand and career and there is know plan B for me. There’s only executing plan A, so I work my tail off to make sure I’m getting to where I need to be.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The ironic thing about me is that at heart I’m home body body(especially now with Covid). Being able to grill at home with drinks, and hosting a game night is cool to me. However if you coming to the city I would say Fry Street in Denton is cool if. They have a few bars but the drinks are cheap. For my people that care more about location than deep ellum and uptown is the move. Any thing from bars, restaurants, to seeing music shows. That area has everything some people look for. A personal favorite spot for me is the shops at legacy on the west side of Plano. I like the vibe of the places there.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Shoutout out to my mom for always praying for me, checking up on me, and being there for me to help pull me through the darkest times of my life. She’s been the constant in this life where I’ve lost friendships, relationships, and almost my sanity. She’s the best woman I know and one day I want to bless her so she can live her dreams.
Other: search “Jai1” in Spotify and I will populate as a verified artist on there. I’m also streaming on all other major platforms
Papertonestudios Aaron Morgan Payton