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Interview: Artist & Engineer JayceJanae

JayceJanae is a young artist, engineer, producer, and vocal coach hailing from Norfolk, Virginia. Her musical beginnings derive from her military family moving from place to place, so she was exposed to many different cultures and sounds. Her love for percussion from the sixth grade carried out through her college years and was the catalyst for her first steps in the world of music. She applied her mass communications audio recording technology degree into an internship with Prime Records in Norfolk and became a full-time engineer.

On May 20th, she released her debut project Harmony Road. It is an eight track album filled with youthful sounds describing her Hollywood lifestyle and not trusting any hoes that throws off her energy. It was spearheaded by her single for the album, Blue Janey.

Jay: Let's talk about the leading single for the Harmony Road album, Blue Janey. What influenced the song title? From what I heard, the song paints you recognizing your superstardom and what comes with a fast life.

Janey: I have my cousin Britt to thank for the creation of Blue Janey. I would say it was an unintentional banger. She came down to visit me from Texas so I showed her the studio at Prime where I was working and I asked her if she wanted to make a song. It's her voice that's featured throughout the song “It's dark then a mug in here” and “Janey” which is a nickname she’s called me since I was a little kid. The song's hook came from a saying I used to sing a lot: “ Blue Janey, Blue Janey, and a rockatoonataney”.

There’s no meaning to it other than it being tied to my childhood. I just threw it together with the song we were creating. I have her to thank for my love for different genres of music. At the time I was just signed to Prime so I sang about how my dreams were coming true and manifesting the star life I saw for myself in the near future.

Jay: How was your internship with Prime Records? How did they help you propel your craft to where it is today?

Janey: My internship with Prime was great. I feel like I advanced and learned pretty quickly. I was recording full-time in a matter of months. In the beginning, I was pretty shy when it came to talking to the artist because I feared messing up but I learned quickly I wouldn’t improve if I didn't keep going and get in the seat. I interned under Moye and he was really helpful in answering any questions I had Biggz always put us on to different resources to learn from and sitting in on his sessions drove me to learn more. They helped me with learning the business side of music as well. The number one thing I've learned is to always be a student! There are so many plug-ins and tools you'll never know them all.

Jay: Earlier in the year, Prime Records released a collective project Primo Maximus. It featured other artists on Prime such as Free Drizzy, 1800 Goon, and Haze Banks. I noticed there were an EDM and House Mix of other versions of Monologue on the project. On Harmony Road, there is a version different from those two that made it on the project. What made that the final cut for the album and not the EDM or House Mix? I felt like the EDM mix would have diversified the project's production a bit more.

Janey: There are three different remixes on Primo Maximus: the EDM, HOUSE, AND DRILL mix. I agree to add one to Harmony Road would have diversified it but the collective project was to highlight the skills of the team as a whole whereas my project was a debut for the songs I have worked on since the start of my musical journey so I went with the original version.

I want to give a huge thank you though to those who worked on the remixed songs cause they snapped! The original producers of Monologue are AyeLil (IG: officialayelil) and 1800Goon (IG: 8teenzone_). For the creation of the EDM & HOUSE remix, I have 1800Goon to thank, and for the Drill remix Moye (IG: whatyoucookinmoye).

Jay: Describe your experience at your very first SXSW festival.

Janey: My first experience at SXSW was so surreal. I couldn’t believe that it was really happening the whole time. I’m used to traveling and visiting new places so I was all for the adventure so being able to perform there was just a huge plus. I already had it set in my mind that I wanted to just talk to as many people as possible. I actually was only supposed to perform once while I was out there but the next day when we went to an event held by Urban Fetes I saw the stage was empty. I immediately went up to the DJ and asked how I could perform and was able to get right on stage.

That moment was crazy and unexpected but like I said I wanted to take any chance that popped up. I was able to watch rooftop performances and was talking to verified artists and didn’t even know it. It made me feel a little less nervous because everyone was so chill. It made it even more fun than I was out there with people I knew who are also dope artists Big Troye, The Baby Don, and DjayyRxch. Shoutout to Blacauerbach who got me the performance slot in the first place!

Jay: Did the greats out in the 757 area like Timbaland, Missy Elliot, Nottz, and Bink influence your ear for music? Or can you recall certain sounds you listened to as you moved around from place to place with your military family that inspired your sounds?

Janey: I lived on the east coast for most of my life, but Missy Elliot and Timbaland have always influenced my ear for music. Becoming the female Timbaland is a goal of mine. I have always loved his production and how he implements beatboxing into his process. That’s what got me into beatboxing and creating beats.

Missy Elliot’s whole style of music and persona captured my intention since I was a kid. I remember my family went on a trip to Legoland and they had this attraction where you could karaoke a song and they'll put it on a CD and I chose her song Work It. My dad says he still has it too. Moving around has definitely had a big effect on my taste in music but I would say when I joined the band in 6th grade it really deepened my love for music as a whole. Like I said before my cousin put me onto a lot of music too, especially from different cultures.

Jay: What advice would you give to people that want to get into engineering?

Janey: Some good advice for those learning to engineer for others is to learn music theory, even just basic music theory. If you plan to learn engineering to record other people, definitely practice good communication skills. I've learned a lot of artists appreciate feedback and guidance during a session. I wouldn’t say you have to go to school for it, I did, but there are tons of good resources online to learn as well. Trust your ear and never stop being a student!

Jay: What are your plans for the rest of 2022?

Janey: I plan to continue promoting the album and drop more singles. My main focus is to build up my fanbase and collaborate with more artists. I do have a couple of business ideas I am trying to get underway.

Jay: Who are some indie artists that you would like to shout out?

Janey: There are a lot of talented artists I have come to know through recording in the studio and performing but I def want to shout out ANA MONAE, PAIGE JOINER, THEBABYDON, MARVP, SPANK, FREE_DRIZZY, MARQB, KILX & WAYNETHEBRO, CAY, and 1800 GOON.

Jay: What was the best no you have ever received and why?

Janey: I would say the best no I probably received was not making the basketball team in high school. Although it’s not music-related it helped me discover a love for throwing in Track & Field. This landed me a scholarship to the school I graduated from Barton College. Life probably would've been a lot different if I had never gone there but who knows.

You can find all of her music and social media information here.

Visit her website

Written by: Jay Guevara. @justinhisprime on all social media.

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