JAY ELLE BIOGRAPHY AND INTERVIEW
My name is Jay Elle. I am a singer, songwriter, and guitar player. I write pop songs, most often appearing under the label “singer-songwriter.” The songs are a bit on the mellow side for the most parts these days. Since it’s only my guitar and myself at the moment you might say that the overall sound could also fit in the urban-folk category. I play a nylon string Ovation guitar which gives me a fairly unique sound. Think of it as a reprieve from the digital world for a moment, a vacation island for your ears.
Band members / instruments played?
I love performing with other musicians. Yet, I find that being alone with my guitar and my voice is both more challenging and freeing. I think lyrics are very important and the genre gives me ample room to bring together what I believe to be interesting lyrics and music. I don’t exclude recording and performing with a band of course. I might start with an acoustic ensemble though.
When did you start your music career?
I started playing with bands in high school. One thing led to another and pretty soon all I was doing was playing music, or at least that’s all I remember doing. I don’t spend much time in the past unless I need to recall some specific emotions for a song I am writing or a performance.
Where are you based?
I live in New York City. The city that never sleeps and where music doesn’t sleep either, not even for a catnap.
Your main influences/inspiration?
I admire anyone who writes well-crafted songs from Cole Porter to many contemporary writers you hear on the radio today, in all genre. Of course, I have my preferences, writers who combine lyrics and music in a very unique way, and happen to be amazing musicians and singers, some of which are now classics: Billy Joel, Freddie Mercury, Paul McCartney, Sting…etc.
By the way, I am a big fan of Billy Idol, Katy Perry, Elvis Presley, Pink, Avril Lavigne, Celine Dion, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Pat Benatar, Eric Clapton, Jay Z, Beyonce, etc… so the list is quite long and eclectic. Add to that great composers like Bach, Chopin and Listz, to name only a few, and the list of influences and inspiration becomes endless. I listen to everything really. And everything influences what I create musically. In fact, everyone. Inspiration does not come only from other musicians but from the people in your life, nature, pets, life events, life itself. Life is a unique experience for each of us. Can you put a life in a song? In a few CDs perhaps.
I have Pandora on a lot and they feed me whatever their algorithm dictates. I also listen to indie radio stations, so who knows what I will hear.
I always strive to create better songs all around. Spend more and more time on each note or word. There is a limit to the pre-frontal cortex creative process though. The “thinking” has its limitation. The “critique” is bound to its knowledge. At some point you want to minimize that voice and free the artist.
There is always a struggle as the industry folks, all of us really, have picked up rules along the way, such as “the title of the song should be repeated often,” or “lyrics should be relatable by as many people as possible.”
Well, these are not bad rules but you can easily sound trite if you follow them too closely.
In the case of “Twelve on Sunday,” my first single, the song voices a father’s concerns about his twelve year old daughter out there, by herself, on the streets. I understand how it might not appeal to a large audience by the rules I mentioned earlier, but it is more interesting to me as a rarer subject matter than a guy who’s girlfriend just left him.
Though that subject, being left by a girl, can be treated in so many interesting creative ways. The possibilities are endless. Some song writers can really twist things around in the cleverest ways.
Major achievements so far?
The single “Twelve on Sunday” has been well received by fans and at a number of radio stations and more stations are picking it up. It’s very exciting.
Thanks to all the music lovers for being out there. I am grateful when someone spends 3 to 4 minutes listening to a song of mine. Time is the most precious commodity we have. I do my best not to waste the time someone grants me by striving to be the best writer, singer, and guitar player I can be.
Have you worked with any established names in music? Say a bit about the experience.
I have had the pleasure to work with a great number of studio and live musicians here in New York City. Margaret Dorn, Wayne Pedzwater, Jett Harris, John Dubs, Byron Estep, etc… Every interaction is a learning experience, an opportunity to discover and create music in a way that is unique. Collaborating with other musician is one of the most exhilarating experiences you can live through.
About your release:
Name of your music release:
“Twelve on Sunday” is the first single to come out from the album titled “Twelve on Sunday.” The release date was May 15, 2016 for the single. The label, Halfmoon Records, will release three other singles starting in September until the beginning of 2017 when the full album will be made available.
Name of their producer / studio where recorded:
I have worked with a number of extremely talented producers in the past on various projects (Warren Schatz, Bernard Edwards, John Dubs, etc…). For this album I thought I should rise up to the challenge. The album was recorded at Varick Studios in New York City.
When I hear the words “music producer” I am immediately reminded of the quote by Frank Zappa:
“I don’t produce other musicians’ records. No matter what happens the producer gets blamed. If it doesn’t sell, it’s the producer’s fault. If the record does sell, it should have sold more, and it’s still the producer’s fault.”
The best lessons in music production I have learned are:
“It’s all about the song and the audience. Forget you exist. If you want to make a mark step in fresh cement and leave a foot print.”
“If you want to be perfect become a robot. Be human! Don’t be afraid of emotions.”