Jay Pryor on his new track Finding Our Way and working with stars like Louis Tomlinson
The 22-year-old Irish producer and singer-songwriter tells us about his music, past and present.
You probably recognize Dublin-native Jay Pryor’s name from his co-production credits on Steve Aoki and Louis Tomlinson’s hit collaboration, ‘Just Hold On’. He’s also remixed Niall Horan’s ‘Slow Hands’ (“When two Irishmen collide, good things happen,” Jay said) and Snakehips and Zayn Malik’s ‘Cruel’. An impressive and 1D-filled resumé. We approve.
At just 22, Jay’s already had a series of his own successful releases. ‘Teenage Crime’, ‘All This’, and ‘Fall For U’ have all seen millions of streams on Spotify and YouTube. Now, Jay’s teamed up with Steve James for his latest track, ‘Finding Our Way’.
We caught up with the self-made producer-turned-singer-songwriter to learn more about his recent rise to musical prominence — and what it was liking working with such huge names so early on.
Can you describe your approach to your music for any new fans out there?
The one thing I’ve always wanted to accomplish with my music and my shows is to give people a moment to disconnect from the world. We get so caught up with things that are necessary but can cause a lot of stress and put a lot of weight on people. I want people to feel disconnected from those things, forget about the stress in their life for a moment when they come to a Jay Pryor show or listen to my music.
Each one of your tracks on Spotify has over 1 million streams. That’s a massive accomplishment at just 23 years old. How does it feel knowing so many people are listening to your music?
It’s crazy! I never thought even 1,000 people would have listened to my music when I started. I take every achievement with great pride and gratitude and upgrade my goals every single day. With the age thing, people have achieved far greater at a much younger age and people have achieved far less at a much older age. Everyone is on their own timeline so I try to forget about that standard and just focus on my own personal goals and broader vision.
You’ve worked with some big names in music already. Is there anyone in particular that you’ve learned the most from or enjoyed working with the most?
I owe a lot to Nick Gale from Digital Farm Animals for believing in the music I was making and bringing me under his wing. He taught me a lot about songwriting when I was only focused on production and that opened a whole world and helped extend the barriers of my process. On top of that, my team is always encouraging me to try new things and be the best version of myself, which I’m eternally grateful for.
You worked with One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson and Steve Aoki on their track ‘Just Hold On.’ How was that experience?
That was a lot of fun. I didn’t believe any of it was happening until the song was premiered at Wembley. I certainly took that opportunity and ran with it and I’ve met some amazing people from it. Again, eternally grateful to both Steve & Louis for believing in my ability and vision and for being so cool throughout the whole process.
With DJs like David Guetta, Calvin Harris, and Zedd, how do you set yourself apart from them? What are some DJs/producers/artists that influence you the most when it comes to music?
Well, I first started making music when I got back from holiday after seeing Calvin Harris perform. He is still my biggest inspiration in the studio. When I saw him perform I had a moment of clarity at a time when everything was quite foggy for me. That is exactly what I want to achieve with my music. Giving people the same feeling. I don’t think I necessarily care about ‘setting myself apart’ from anyone. I just want to create what I feel is most connecting and personal to me. Inspiration and influence is a huge part of art and it’s natural to create music that doesn’t sound completely new and different all the time. I am a huge studio geek, though. Always trying to experiment with new sounds and ways to use them.
Electronic dance music brings an unadulterated joy to lots of listeners and is often a token genre for fans to just let go. What’s your connection to this type of music? What made you want to be a part of it?
I hope I’m not coming across like a broken record in this interview haha. I’ve repeated myself a couple of times, but I would have to say experiencing Calvin Harris on that holiday when I was 19 was like a whole new world and community opening its doors to me. I was always into Indie Rock and Punk stuff, but seeing him perform live opened up Dance music to me and since then I’ve experienced the joys of everything it offers. There’s just such a sense of belonging and a community attached to this style of music. It’s amazing. We’re all one big family.
Out of all the tracks you’ve released so far, what’s been your favorite? Why?
It changes all of the time, but recently I would say my record ‘All This’. My goal when sampling records is to pay homage to the artists that have been part of that original recording’s history. I first heard the Gwen McCrae sample in Cassius’ ‘Feeling For You’, but didn’t decide to put my spin on it until I stumbled upon the Avicii & Sebastien Drums version. All of these artists, for me, are a huge part of the original record’s history.
What’s one thing you’d really love to accomplish in your career?
I have a lot of things. I have a cork pin/vision board hanging right above my studio and I stick things that I want to achieve on that board on a regular basis. I also think that once I reach these goals I’ll already have upgraded them to something else, but one that sticks out to me is to headline Malahide Castle. I grew up in Malahide before moving to London two years ago and the Castle played a huge part in my childhood. It would be a great honour to be the first Dance music act to headline the Castle and it’s a massive goal for me. I have a reoccurring dream of bringing my father and mother on stage during my set. I think it will happen one day.
With the amount of fame that’s undoubtedly headed your way, what’s one life lesson you’ve learned so far in your career that could be used by your fans?
I think if you have a goal – no matter if it’s running the world or running for the first time – it’s important to know that it’s possible. I tell myself every day that ‘life is what you make it’, in every sense. We started this interview off with the fact that 1,000 was a huge deal for me, and a lot of the things I have achieved since then seemed impossible at one stage. It’s important to know that those things you dream of having are there for the taking, you just have to ask.