(This week, I’m honored to be bringing you one of the first looks at R&B/Soul singer Jae Jin. After earning a spot on House of Cards & being featured in the Huffington Post, he’s building a his fanbase & crowdfunding his debut album which is totally something you need to get in on. He’s also one of the best voices & musical talents of my generation, deserving your total attention. ) 1. With this release, what can people expect to hear from you? This release is a huge deal for me, because as an artist, this is the very first time, in all of its vulnerability, that I’ll be releasing original music and original songwriting. Writing has always been a passion of me (I even entered University as a prospective writing major) and my songwriting has gone through so much growth and fine-tuning, and continues to. My original music is also a reflection of my life, my love, and bits of the things I’ve been through. It is my hope that individuals will be able to not necessarily garner the same thoughts and feelings, but to just simply feel emotions that stem from their own lived experiences in life.
2. How did it feel when you were informed your song would be on House of Cards? Has anything come of it? House of Cards was a wonderful experience. It was very much grace and unmerited favor. I got brought on not just as an extra, but as a Principal Actor for an episode and had the opportunity to sing a Christian song by Hillsong for the church scene. I feel that the biggest thing that has come from it, is the impact it makes in viewers lives… an impact I didn’t intend nor could even plan. On a monthly basis, I am reached out to via social media and email by individuals who feel like they were so encouraged and moved by just that tiny scene. Some even talk about how they don’t believe or are spiritual, yet felt something or were moved emotionally. THAT is powerful! That has nothing to do with me or my talent. It has everything to do with music. Music can be so damn powerful!
3. How has your sound changed over the last couple of years? My sound has been evolving so damn much over the past few years, and even in the past few months it continues to evolve. I imagine that as an artist who continues to cultivate his craft and work to become better, that the evolving element will continue on. I think that the moment I’m not evolving or growing will be the moment I’m no longer alive.
4. Do you plan on adding more members to your band? Or are you satisfied with what you’ve got going right now? I don’t have a set band right now, but deep down, I know that my music will be brought to a whole other level once I form a band to properly bring my thoughts, ideas, and original music to its highest potential. I’m NEVER satisfied with anything I’ve got going on right now, besides maybe the fans. I’m DEFINITELY satisfied by the support and love that pours out to me. More than satisfied, I’d say I’m grateful and truly blessed.
5. What is the summer of 2015 looking like for Jae Jin? Touring? Collaborations? So summer 2015 will be pivotal. I’ve just launched a crowdfunding campaign through PledgeMusic to release my debut album. A majority of it is sitting in pre-production and I’m hoping that I’ll bring this album to fruition. I’ll be heading back out to the West Coast for a month starting in June to complete and finalize the album. I also continue to play out here in NYC and will aim to continue to do shows when I’m out West during the summer months.
6. What artists or tracks do you listen to on a daily or weekly basis? I’m CONSTANTLY listening to new music. But I’m also always listening to some of my favorite influences. It is funny how with many of my favorite influences, you can listen to the same song, and depending on where you are in your own life or how you feel, the song can speak in different ways. Again… the power of music.
7. Are there any artists that are coming up right now that really inspire you? I’d say that there’s definitely a handful of artists that I’m glad are recently enjoying the spotlight. A few that come to mind are Allen Stone and Alabama Shakes. Also, I’m also really into this British electronica trio called Years & Years. They won BBC Sound of 2015 among other awards this year, and I’m excited for their debut album Communion. But for every artist that seems to be in the spotlight, there are definitely a handful that I wish had an even bigger spotlight. I’m also really inspired by a singer/songwriter named Josh Garrels and also really a fan of this folk-rock band called Dawes.8. Do you feel you’ve been discriminated against or treated differently as an Asian soul/R&B singer? I’d say that the fact that I’m Asian definitely hurts me but also can help me at times. At the end of the day, music and soul knows no race. I also love breaking social constructs and stereotypes. Most times, when I get on stage, most people don’t really expect the music or sound that comes out of my mouth, and to me, there is a bit of satisfaction in that. You can even look at someone like Sam Smith. When you hear that voice on the radio, you don’t imagine that he looks the way he does. Not saying that it’s a bad look. It’s just really cool that regardless of looks, artists are breaking social constructs and also breaking the common typified personas of what an artist should or shouldn’t look like. It’s like oneself in life. You can’t change how you were born. You just own it and be confident in it. In my case, I can’t change what race I was born. I also can’t change the discrimination or the challenges that come with it. I will simply accept them and move forward boldly knowing that if I want something so passionately, not even challenges or obstacles will stand in the way.
9. Who are your musical idols? Any personal dream acts to open for? I’m not sure that I idolize any musicians or artists. I do have a fond respect for nearly all artists who create their own music. Of course, there aren’t too many artists and musicians who still create their own original content but they do exist. I would say that it would be amazing to sing in front of some of my biggest influences like Stevie Wonder and it’d be pretty amazing to one day open for current musicians I highly respect. These artists range across many genres as well. To list a few, Ray LaMontagne, John Mayer, Dawes, Allen Stone, Paolo Nutini, Sam Smith, John Legend, Gavin Degraw, Miguel… the list can honestly go on and on. One day when I’m sharing the stage with even one, I’ll be pretty ecstatic!
10. Any words to those who may be struggling with illness or a crisis in creation? We are all susceptible to darkness and hard times. But in darkness, we can remember what we believed and knew in light, and can push forward to another day. It does get better. It may not seem that way in the moment, but it does. And it’s beautiful. Life is simply a constant balance of holding on and letting go.