Photo cred: @demiigawd on Instagram
CAY is a singer from Chesapeake, Virginia that refuses to let anyone classify her as one thing. Outside of her singing endeavors, CAY is also a photographer and graphic designer. Ever since her debut EP AREUOCAY in 2019, she has expanded her skill-set to incorporate her music into all of her other creative avenues. Like many other entrepreneurs that get into the professional world of multi-media, she faces the challenges and benefits of being a jack-of-all-trades. However, she is stepping into the forefront of music through her power of authenticity supplemented by self-validation.
Back in January, CAY performed for Blckheartsclub's Pussy Is Power 2 show in Virginia Beach. This year, CAY is looking to keep her momentum going with her latest single TIP$ featuring another 757 area artist, Lex Lucent. The female collaboration displays a sense of knowing their worth, confidence levels, and only giving attention to what pays them.
Jay: Let’s talk about your new single TIP$ featuring Lex Lucent? How did the collaboration with Lex Lucent come about?
CAY: Well, before that, Lex and I were working on a song dropping later on this month. That’s how we got connected. One thing that I noticed about the music I released is that I don't have many features. I also noticed that I haven't done anything with female artists. All of my music is focused on female empowerment, so I was truly excited that she’s my first female feature. We complement each other well. I’m not picky with my music but I’m meticulous about why I choose to do something in my music. She brought out the energy I wanted from her on the track. I like her flow and aesthetic. It kind of helps me get out of my comfort one because I don’t typically have songs that sound like that. It helped me step into whole another genre.
Jay: In your interview on Blckheartsclub, you considered your debut EP AREUOCAY as one of your biggest accomplishments. Can you go into detail about that?
CAY: I was asked this question before in different contexts. I had a hard time answering this question but for myself, the person I have been until now, there are certain things I know I'm supposed to do. Being good in school and pursuing college, I felt like that was the right thing to do. I felt like those were things considered as accomplishments, but this was something I wanted to do and I'm proud to have stuck to this idea. I did it for self-approval more than anything else. That's why that is my biggest accomplishment.
Jay: As a graphic designer, what are some of your favorite works? I see that various animation and 8-bit pictures are animation styles you focus on.
CAY: I have done these bobbleheads like caricatures in the past. I really like those. It’s cartoon-esque and I play around with different variations of the cartoon style. Everything I’ve done recently like the TIP$ cover art is my favorite to date.
Jay: For those that aren’t familiar with Chesapeake, Virginia, and the Eastern Virginia region, what are some good venues to hit up to see indie artists perform?
CAY: I did a couple of performances and different locations with people to put on for indie artists for the underground community. Utopia Feni and Elation Brewery Company are two that come to mind. The Pussy Is Power 2 Blckhearts event I performed at was similar to a house show so that was really cool. I haven’t performed too much yet but I feel like out here. Unless you’re at the NORVA, as indie artists, we have to make our own spaces.
Jay: Not only you’re a singer, but you’re also a songwriter, painter, photographer, and graphic designer. Which profession did you begin with first and what influenced you to pursue those different career paths?
CAY: The first thing I ever did creatively was drawing. My aunt is a pretty good artist so when I was little, I would draw with her in church. As for something to pursue outside of it being a hobby, modeling was first. I wanted to be a model since high school and sophomore year of college I went down that path pretty heavily. I had friends with clothing brands that would hit me up to shoot. I would do self shoots as a way of playing with the idea and I did not see it seriously until people hit me up about it. I did one fashion show in New York for this woman who makes crochet garments. Malik Sparrow started his serene culture fashion shows helped me get into modeling. I walked in each of those.
I tried to find different shows but at some point, I didn’t feel passionate about it. Photography looped into there because if I didn’t have anyone to take photos, I would make my own shoots. Eventually, it led to me teaching my friends how to shoot because I taught myself. Painting is a hobby, it’s not one of my strong suits and music came after that.
Photo cred: @jeanbeaaan on Instagram.
Jay: I have been writing since 2008. In that time span, I wrote poetry, pursued music heavily for two years, published books, and wrote for various platforms. When I stopped recording music and pursued journalism in 2016, it opened all of these doors that weren't open to me as a rapper. I stuck with journalism and the writing stuck with me through different mediums such as poetry and returning back to doing features for people. Have you ever noticed when you do one thing, good favor comes to you instantly and that good favor gets better as time goes on?
Cay: Modeling and music brought me the best energy. That’s why I kind of stuck with music because it allowed me to do all the things I like. I still incorporate modeling, photography, and designing with music. With music, it was definitely something that comes about more naturally. With most things I try to do, I do good at and pick up fast. It was a point of putting in overtime to get better and get the results you’re trying to get. Most of the things I did, I knew I got to a point of my natural ability couldn’t take me further and it’s the thing that unconsciously happens of whether I care to dive deeper at that point. It didn’t get to that point where I can’t go all out for this one or that one. I didn't feel fully connected to pursuing it in one way. Music definitely challenges me to pursue myself and what you go after should push you. I love I get to do everything I like because I don’t have to let go of the other things I do when I do music. It gave me the most reaction and good feedback and different opportunities so fast. I don't have to push too hard on it because it is something I feel like it’s pulling me towards to do.
Jay: Do you think it’s better to be a jack of all trades or a master of one thing? They do say that a jack of all trades is a master of none.
CAY: That’s very true. That’s what I was telling you. To reiterate, I got to the step where I hone in and master this skill and It’s definitely something that held me back. Its not that I have different interests but I face certain mentalities where if I let this go, I can’t do it or pursue it because I chose to pursue that fully. I really like that point of doing one thing that opens doors to bring all the other things together. That’s why I like to do music. Going all-in with my music is very scary because of how I was raised, it’s completely insane of pursuing music on a serious level. It’s not what people I looked up to and it's something my family didn’t do.
Now, I’m in a different mindset, I’m very focused on the life I want from myself and right now from where I’m at today and what’s working and coming for me, music is bringing that. I have to put coins in here and do that, but for me to go too hard in certain areas would take away from music. You need to master one thing so time can come to work on those other things.
Jay: Who are some indie artists that you would want to shout out?
Cay: I’ll say some people from my way. Definitely shout out Nicholis, Chet Atlas, Lex Lucent, Third Eye Rye, and Kai.
Jay: What was the best no you have ever received and why?
CAY: For me, I’ll look at it like this. I was working a bank job last year that I was at for three years. I was in a period where I didn’t know what I want to do next and knew that job wasn't what I wanted to do. I was stuck in between making my family happy or appearing as being successful. The best no’s then was every job I applied to that didn't align with what I wanted. Even though it put me in a very interesting space. It’s a lot of different emotions such as fear and anxiety. Thanks to being around that time of uncertainty, it made me become excited about my future and take charge of what I want to do. I’m glad I had that time to know what I want and go head on to what I want rather than falling back to the cycle of trying to get out of a job I got into.
CAY's music can be streamed on all platforms. Follow her on all social media @areuocay .
Written by: Jay Guevara. @justinhisprime on all social media.