“I want to help open people’s eyes to the next generation of R&B,” says 22-year-old singer/songwriter Mike Jay. And he does just that with a fearless R&B/hip-hop mix of no-holds-barred tracks about sex and romance, heat-seeking love ballads and humorous outtakes on life. Ask him to describe his unique sound and style, he sums it up in one word: “random.”
“It seems like it’s all about rap/hip-hop, which I love. But I feel it’s time to crack the shell and start some new stuff with R&B.”
Although you may not know Mike Jay by name yet, you may already be familiar with his work: he co-wrote Chris Brown’s 2012 smash global hit “Turn Up the Music.” Plus his unerring knack for penning insightful lyrics and engaging melodies/beats led to writing songs for Ciara, super-group TGT, “X Factor” finalist Marcus Canty and R&B newcomer Trevor Jackson. And in the course of his short career, he has collaborated with Grammy Award-winning producers Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and the Underdogs (Harvey Mason Jr. and Damon Thomas).
The Los Angeles-based budding artist is a charismatic purveyor of laser-beam hip-hop, R&B, and soul, who has been racking up credits with artists, and is now turning up the heat on his own solo career. Newly signed to Virgin/Capitol Music Group, the young talent is working on his debut album alongside Grammy-nominated songwriter/producer J.R. Rotem (Dr. Dre, Rihanna, Sean Kingston, Jason Derulo).
Like many singers, Jay comes from a strong gospel background. The youngest of seven siblings grew up singing in the church headed by Pastor Winans, patriarch of one of gospel’s first families, the Winans. At the age of eight, Jay relocated with his family to Atlanta. And that’s when he started falling earnestly in love with R&B.
After listening to several songs Jay was writing and recording in Atlanta, his uncle brought him to Los Angeles. Over the next five years, Jay sharpened his songwriting skills while working with such mentors as the Underdogs and Babyface.
“That’s when it hit me,” recalls Jay. “I was sitting in the studio with Babyface writing a song for Mariah Carey. The song didn’t get placed. But it was the whole bigger picture thing that was mind-blowing. I knew then that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my career.”
While adding finishing touches to his full-length, Jay unleashed introductory track “For A Week” that instantly turned heads. With its heavily West Coast-influenced vibe and guest appearances by Too $hort and YG, this debut song offers a glimpse at what’s to come.
“You never know what you’re going to hear from me. Nothing is ever planned out with my music,” says Jay. “It’s about catching a spirit or vibe, hearing a beat or melody and then having a concept click with me out of the blue. It’s real organic.”
Drawing inspiration from personal experience, this burgeoning R&B sensation is crafting an album that is primed for breakthrough recognition.