Last year we introduced you to London-based rapper, singer and producer Jay Carteré. A year later, the 21 year-old has 5 well-received rap mixtapes to his name, a growing video production company, and is about to debut his first dance EP The Love Story. We catch up with the man himself, who talks swapping lyrical rap flows and a hard backbeat for catchy, pop-infused synths as well as juggling university alongside his various entrepreneurial ventures.
When did you first recognise your passion for making music?
I dabbled in music for about three years on and off before I started taking it seriously at 16. However, at that point I just wanted to be successful and live like a rap star. It wasn’t until I was creating my third mixtape that I actually started to love the whole process of making music. The fact that I was creating something that previously didn’t exist and putting it into the world was amazing and the drive to get better and better became addictive.
How did you go about making your dreams become reality?
I studied business for a year at Barnet College, but I dropped out because I found a music business course at the British Academy of New Music in London. That course did open my mind a little bit more and introduce me to aspects of music that I wasn’t previously too familiar with, but the majority of the course was spent going over things I had previously taught myself on the internet like contracts and royalties. Now I’m studying at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute in Fulham but I feel I’ve learned most of what I know through independent research like reading books and blogs, watching a whole lot of YouTube videos, and by trial and error. Just going out there and doing what you want to do is the best way to find out how to do what you want to do in my opinion.
Which artists inspired you most?
Back in the day when I first started rapping, my influences included Lil Wayne, Chip, Wretch 32, Jay-Z and Trey Songz. However, recently as I’ve been working on dance music, my main inspirations have been Avicii, Calvin Harris, and Swedish House Mafia, to name a few.
Your new EP, The Love Story, has quite a different sound to your previous work. Do you feel your move into dance music was a natural progression?
No, not at all. I wish it was, but my last project, Caesar Augustus, was hard-core rap. There was no suggestion of dance influences or anything like that. I wish I could have made a smoother transition into this project, but it’s really a product of the way it was conceived. A few weeks after I released Caesar Augustus I got inspired by dance music and jumped headfirst into the genre, trying to learn as much as I could. I spent about a year creating The Love Story.
Do you prefer rap or dance?
I don’t prefer either; they’re just like different sides to myself.
What have been the biggest highlights of your career so far?
Releasing Caesar Augustus was a big thing for me because it got a lot of positive feedback and that was the point in my career where I started to actually know what I was doing. Also, having an interview with The Huffington Post was a great moment. So is this interview and just any positive feedback, or even critical feedback, on my music that helps me improve. I just really appreciate when people take the time to listen to my music. It’s very flattering.
I know you’re also working on video production projects. Can you tell me a bit more about CoolCut Films?
Coolcut Films is the company I started with my good friend Michael Rose. At first I started it out of necessity. I felt the investment of buying a camera, learning how to edit, and make good quality videos was a smarter choice for me than paying someone else every time I needed a video. Plus I didn’t have the budget to pay someone else every time I needed a video either. Right now we’re open to shooting videos for other music artists. We want to branch into event videography like weddings and parties eventually, and we’ll also be working on a few short films soon.
What have you got lined up next?
After The Love Story, I’ve got a rap EP I’m currently working on. And at the pace I’m working, I may even drop another rap EP after that one before the year is done. I’m also writing a book that’ll teach people how to create a song from scratch in the comfort of their own home, and I’ll be offering an artist development package soon which will include me consulting artists, critiquing their songs, songwriting, and basically helping them create a commercially viable 5 track EP.
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