INTERVIEW: Jaycee relays the importance of authenticity to established and up-and-coming artists
Words by Byron Zeledon-Torres
We recently chatted with Perth artist and producer Jaycee following the release of his latest track ‘Missing Piece’ in April and his appearance on the 2022 season of ‘Big Brother’.
In this interview we see the idiosyncratic nature of Jaycee in not only his artistry, but in his personality - “I’m just being me”, he makes clear.
Jaycee explains his career from the conception of his music making to where he is now and where he wants to be in the future. We delve in deeper into his transparency and honesty as an emerging and now established artist.
After speaking with Jaycee, it’s immediately evident that he has a ‘do whatever it takes’ approach to his craft and he conveys that this was nurtured in his younger years as a musician. “As a kid my mum bought a guitar for me when I was 10 years old, and I taught myself how to play. In school I joined all the school bands and I always practised while everyone was playing at lunch”.
Jaycee was willing to sacrifice socialising as a kid to work on his craft and reaping the benefits in the future. This carried on after he finished school, as Jaycee continues to say: “It wasn't until I graduated high school where I said I was going to do this for real. I started busking and joined a few bands that fell through. I saved up a bit of money and bought my own recording equipment and built my own studio and started producing and mixing music”.
Going against the grain also parallels his experience in the business side of music being an independent artist. “I never thought I was doing anything different, I was just doing me and always putting my best foot forward and making content. I did not realise it was different until these types of conversations. Then I see other people with their one post a month with a black and white image, link ups, trying to be cool, but I am different, I am real. That is my mission statement for the year, being real and having a personal relationship with my listeners”.
“People think you must do it a certain way, like you must do this and that, but the truth is you just have to do you. I am not from the hood, I am not trying to be tough, I am just representing who I am, and other artists need to return to that.”
Across his social media (particularly Instagram and TikTok), Jaycee is frequently interacting with his listeners. Moreover, Jaycee dislikes the word ‘fans’ as he strives to establish a more personal brand, where the music is permeated throughout his various pursuits. Entering the world of ‘Big Brother’ was perfect for Jaycee because it showcased his personality and stripped the music part away from him.
“It was such a crazy experience, 24/7 there are cameras on you, and it was the first time I was on national TV. It was such a culture shock, but it was such a great experience! The challenges were sick; we never get to do challenges like that. They are so weird and different, and they provide such great competition which pushed me to the limits.”
Jaycee explains that he has always strived for success, and not just in music. His ambitions and fearlessness in actively trying to diversify himself led him to take on an alternative route to most people. “I love the idea of doing it differently and paving the way for the new generation of artists. I did not necessarily get the industry look, the collaboration, the big feature, I had to find my own way and am still doing that as I have a long way to go”.
Jaycee wants to pave the way for up-and-coming artists and match the influence of the artists he grew up listening to, having been first influenced heavily by rappers such as Dr Dre, Eminem, 50 Cent, and Kanye. However, as he delved into making music he resonated more with artists such Russ, Joyner Lucas and Tory Lanez, which is demonstrated in Jaycee’s melodic approach to his rap flow and his singing style showing ultimate finesse.
This finesse is seen not only in his music, but in his personality, clothing style and overall artistic approach. “The music industry is evolving; you can't just drop songs anymore you really have to be someone people like”. Jaycee has found a way to integrate his personality into his music which is involved in the creative process behind it. “I will start off with a beat, I will find some samples, add some drums, a loop, make it to about 50 percent, and improvise with my style over it. I like finding a pocket and seeing where it takes me”.
“My overall sound is so versatile, I have songs where it starts off with guitar, live trumpet, my catalogue is extremely versatile. I have reggae, rock, punk, and straight bars. My production style is all over the place, sampling, trap, programming hi-hats”. Jaycee is not genre rigid, he is not stuck in one lane, and he is prepared to prove that even more with his new album ‘Calm Before the Storm’, which he will be touring in June.
Jaycee has a current goal of selling out his live show and making it the best there is in the Australian music scene. He wants to be solidified as the “top dog” in Australia. “No rapper in Australia scares me, no Australian music amazes me, I am not saying I don't like our music, but I just do it differently”.
With the goal of being an international artist one day, Jaycee realises that he is not trying to out rap the best, but he is trying to make music that is timeless, artistic, diverse in soundscape and vibrations. Songs that move people, and create memories that last a lifetime, which will be seen in his live show. “I love performing live, performing live is the best part of it all, I live on the stage. It comes natural to me, like a meditation, so present, so powerful”.
Lastly, Jaycee has a message to all up-and-coming artists: “Be yourself, it's easier said than done. Don't be scared to experiment, don't be scared to look corny, cheesy. Trust that what you are doing is right. Trust that you will get to the next level, you must be fearless and put the work in”.
Words by Byron Zeledon-Torres