Will Jay is striking out on his own, after having first made it big with the group IM5. His first-ever EP, self-titled ‘Will Jay’, consists of five new songs and is available now.
Will is a true musician—a talented instrumentalist, songwriter, producer, and of course, singer. We caught up with to ask about his musical influences, his talents beyond music, life as a solo artist, and his first single off the EP, ‘Gentleman’.
It sounds like your family had a big musical influence in your life. Can you tell us more about that?
My family’s been a huge influence on my music; my uncle’s a piano teacher and he’s actually the one who got me interested in music at all! One of my earliest memories is me playing on a dusty, old piano my grandfather passed down to me and my uncle teaching me how to play Fur Elise by Beethoven.
How does being a classically trained pianist affect your songwriting?
Coming from a classical piano background, I know a lot about music theory and that helps a lot with creating interesting melodies and different chord changes. The piano also makes it easier for me to hash out my ideas and turn them into something that isn’t musical nonsense. Knowing your way around an instrument just opens up a world of possibilities so if there’s any aspiring singer/songwriters out there I’d seriously recommend taking up an instrument.
You started in musical theatre and acting. Between acting and singing, which type of performing do you enjoy the most? Would you ever go back to acting?
I definitely feel most comfortable and confident when I’m singing, so I would pick musical theatre over acting. Right now, music is definitely the focus but if the right part came along I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to it!
You were an original member of the group IM5. What does it feel like to perform solo on stage as opposed to with bandmates?
Performing by myself vs. in a group was definitely the biggest change when I decided to become a solo artist. I definitely miss the feeling of having other people on stage to have a good time with & bring the energy up; for that reason, I definitely want to have a live band for my upcoming shows.
Who are your biggest musical influences of today’s top artists and how do they influence you?
I’ve always gravitated to the genuine singer/songwriters, old and new. With today’s artists, I’m really inspired by Adele, Hozier, Amy Winehouse; I love the real instruments in their music as well as the honesty in their lyrics. My all-time favorite would have to be Elton John.
Of the 5 songs on your self-titled EP, which one means the most to you and why?
I really love every song on the EP and each one shows a different side of me as an artist. If I had to pick one, I would have to say ‘One of Many’; it personally means so much to me and I feel like that song gives me a different relationship with the people that support me and allows us to connect as human beings, not artist and fan.
Can you tell us about the music video concept for ‘Gentleman’?
When I write songs, I immediately picture a music video. Writing ‘Gentleman’, I saw the video chronicling a first date: you start at the house, go to the diner and then back to the house. I also felt like the retro, uptempo feel of the song lends itself to the old Hollywood era of Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, so I thought it’d be fun to incorporate that style of dance as well. I couldn’t be happier with how the video turned out and it’s such a great visual representation of who I am.
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