Running a few minutes late, I pull up on Cyph (@cyph_view.of.life) demolishing a Chipotle burrito the size of a newborn (definitely had guac on it), and Jay Knight (@jayknighttt) outside on the stoop of the Billionaire Boys Club off Mercer & Canal. After his recent release Jay Knight Forever, the 24-year-old artist from BedStuy is locked in on experimenting with his sound while remaining true to himself as an artist. "Growing up in a couple of different places really put me on to a lot of different sh!t; it helped shape my music taste and the music I really want to make," he says as we walk around the busy Soho weekend streets. We got a chance to talk about what really got him into music, his biggest inspirations, the transformation between albums as an artist, and advice for any young musicians trying to make a name for themselves.
Images via Cyph (@cyph_view.of.life)
Life is the best inspiration when it comes to creativity. The ultimate muse. Experiences, highs, lows, traumas, achievements, they all help paint the picture. - Jay Knight
1) Introduce yourself! Who is Jay Knight? Where are you from?
Hey, my name is Jay Knight, I was born in Brooklyn, lived in Orange County & Westchester for a bit but now reside in Bed-Stuy.
2) How long have you been doing music? Has it always been a passion for you?
I've been making beats since 2014 and rapping since 2017. I've always been a music nerd since middle school. At first, I wanted to be a DJ, then a producer, but after trying out rapping and seeing the positive reception towards it I decided to focus more on being a rapper.
3) You have a very alternative and inventive approach to what is conventionally known as "rap/hip-hop" music. How would you best describe your sound? Who are some of your biggest influences?
My sound is whatever is going on in my head at the moment. Whatever inspires me. I like every genre so my music covers a very broad spectrum. My biggest inspirations are Daft Punk, Jay-Z, Blink-182, Kid Cudi, and Kanye to name a few.
4) You dropped your first full project last year, Jay Knight, and followed up recently with Jay Knight Forever back in August. How did you approach your second project differently from your debut?
I wrote my follow-up project, Jay Knight Forever, with a sober mind. The previous album Jay Knight was mostly written while I was on percocet, so I feel like it was a bit rushed and underdeveloped. Jay Knight Forever is a more positive, cleaner, and refined album in my opinion, heavily inspired by the Hyperpop movement in the underground. I mixed most of the songs myself for the first time. My next project, Jay Knight 3-D, is going to be executively produced by my good friend 808Saga (@808saga). There's gonna be a lot of Daft Punk influence on that one.
5) What are some things that inspire you creatively? When you're making music how do you get yourself in a zone?
Life is the best inspiration when it comes to creativity. The ultimate muse. Experiences, highs, lows, traumas, achievements, they all help paint the picture. My environment helps me get into a zone to record. I like to be in a comfortable setting while creating. I prefer to record at home, instead of studios. Studios feel too artificial.
6) What are your goals for the rest of the year? Do you have any new music you’re working on right now?
I plan on dropping 2 more projects this year: Jay Knight 3-D and Jay Knight Underworld. I'm hoping these projects get a lot of exposure so more people can see the vision.
7) How do you include your individuality in your music? What makes Jay Knight different from other artists coming out around you? Especially Brooklyn being this huge hub for music recently.
I just like being my authentic self, no gimmicks. I've lived in the hood, the suburbs, and in between. I've seen a lot of different walks of life and I love music from all cultures and genres because of it. From Bizzy Banks to Blink-182, everything inspires me.
8) What advice do you have for any young artists trying to make a name for themselves?
Promo is EVERYTHING. Especially visuals. I would say just keep recording as many songs as you possibly can and drop a lot of quality visuals. I have over 300+ songs recorded and I don't plan on stopping haha.
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