Afton Emerging Artist: Jay Elle

Artist Jay Elle
Jay Elle

Get to Know Emerging Artist Jay Elle

My name is Jay Elle and I reside in New York City. I started playing guitar when I was a teenager. I played with bands in high school and continued on from there. Initially, I was more focused on playing guitar and singing and then I spent more and more time writing songs. 

I spend as much time as possible writing songs, singing, and playing guitar. I’v always enjoyed listening to music, but more specifically I would get this spine tingling feeling when I heard certain songs. It’s a wonderful sensation. I also was energized by certain songs. I would feel this blast of energy and feel like I could do just about anything. It made me feel hopeful and positive. So, I started playing guitar and singing and writing to see if I could write songs that would have that effect on myself and other people and pass on this positive uplifting energy.

What inspires you the most to keep going?

I believe a great song can be uplifting and give you a burst of energy that will carry you through tough moments and also add to great experiences. It can give you courage and strength. I apply myself to writing songs for that purpose and pass on that kind of energy to listeners. 

What was it that got you into playing your genre? 

Guitar is my primary instrument. The songs I write usually stem from playing guitar and coming up with a few notes that I find catchy. They stick around in my head and some of them become full blown songs. The current genre classifications tend to put guitar songs into singer/songwriter, country, alternative, etc. For me there are two genres when I listen to any piece of music from classical to rap. Either I am moved by the piece and want to hear it again, or I appreciate it, but move on to the next. I cannot explain what is in a song, or piece of music, that has the effect of making me want to listen to it again. I hope to recreate that in my songs but it’s independent of genre. 

My number one drive is curiosity. So, not only am I always listening to new music but I look into how it was put together. I try to understand how the artists came up with the songs. One thing leads to another. I hear a cool vocal line or guitar part and I try to sing or play it and listen to more songs with that type of vocal or guitar arrangements. When a bass line catches my attention I dissect it and compare it to others in other songs. Sometimes it’s just a few notes. I store them in my head or record them and then eventually there is a blend of melodies and styles that sticks around somehow. Not always sure what genre they belong to at the end of the process.

If you could play show with any artist or band, living or dead, who would it be? Why?

There are so many, especially when you include those who have passed on. I would have loved to play with Derek and the Dominoes. So much to learn from that album if you like playing guitar. I would also love to play guitar for Sheryl Crow or Katy Perry. Different artists and songs. Sheryl has great guitar tracks on her songs. I am thinking that Katy might appreciate more guitars.  

What’s one of the craziest things that has happened since you became a musician/artist?

I would say the range of opportunities to work in so many different lines of business other than working as a musician. I have had so many side jobs from insurance to health care to construction to marketing, you name it. It’s fantastic in a definitely crazy kind of way.

Do you have any pre-show rituals before taking the stage? What do you do after a show?

Before a show I just warm up. It’s important to warm up the right way, especially vocally. I do some physical exercises to get rid of the extra energy as well. It can take a while to wind down from a performance. I drink a lot of water and walk around for a while.

Where do you see yourself in 3-5 Years?

I hope to have a few more great songs available to listeners. I am pretty sure I will still be writing. I don’t see that ending. My experience in the music business is that it is difficult to predict how things will go. Not just what genre is going to be popular but also how technology is going to disrupt things and create opportunities and hurdles. People will want new music and I look forward to recording new songs. The rest is out of my hands.

What advice would you give to a young artist just starting out?

I would say, get to know yourself and be yourself.  For example, if you are not detail oriented, learn to compensate for that depending on the situation. Studio recording might require you to be very precise when playing or singing with other musicians. 

There are very few things you can control as with most other businesses. So focus on what you can control. Getting really good at writing, singing, and playing instruments is all up to you. We all have strengths and weaknesses, more or less natural abilities, but studying and practicing will make a difference. It will give you more confidence certainly. How people react to your work is out of your control. You may love to play blues but might not find many opportunities to do so. So from a business standpoint blues music may not be the easiest genre to dedicate yourself to. Yet, the genre of the moment, pop, rap, etc, will be very competitive. Do what you love

Any Other Advice?

Stay focused, decide what you want to achieve and focus your efforts on reaching your goals. You will rarely have all the resources and time needed to do everything but you might have enough to achieve selected goals. Decide what is most important to you. Stay with it. 

My focus in on songwriting and performing the songs as best as I possibly can live and on records. I look to recreate for listeners the amazing experience you get when a song gives you energy and takes you to a great place in your mind. Gives you a rush and maybe a tingling feeling down your spine. A great beat, cool lyrics, catchy melodies. Simple but moving songs that you want to play over and over. They can make time go faster when you are on the treadmill or make it linger when you are enjoying yourself doing something you love. You might want to make people rush to the dance floor and let loose.

It’s interesting how some songs will do that when the one song before and the one after have the same beat but no one is dancing. Learn what you react to when you listen to music and decide what you want to pass on to audiences. Do the best job you can. Be yourself and you will be different. And accept that. Even if you are passionate about a certain genre, if you were to list the top ten artists you love I would bet they all sound different from one another. 

What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned as an artist?

Be yourself and be open to the world around you, musically and emotionally. Take things one day at a time. Focus on what you can do and get better at it. You are making music for yourself and for others. It’s a sharing experience. Open your heart.

Artist Jay Elle
Jay Elle

Check Out What Jay Elle Is Doing!

I have a new EP out titled “Ease Up.” It’s getting great reviews. The first single “Ease Up (Into Love)” is getting airplay and is charting. It has reached number 16 on the Country Internet Main Chart and is moving up on the Airplay Today Triple A/Album Chart,  the Adult Contemporary Chart, and the Country Americana Chart.

Click Below to Check Jay Elles Music





Other Resources

Also be sure to check out some of our other Emerging artists.

Emerging Artist: Born Soul

Emerging Artist: Vudu

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Jordan Westlund
Jordan joined Afton in the Summer of 2014 and is the Social Media manager and helps out with booking at Afton. He's very passionate about helping artists get their music heard. Jordan loves listening to music, going running and traveling as much as he can.