Jayden: Music with a Conscience

Sunetra Senior Friday 20th May 2016 07:16 EDT

Jayden is an emerging, recording artist whose unique RnB-pop tracks carry a modish Desi twist. His striking singles ‘Sun Zara’ and ‘Breath Away’ were hits with the listening public, and eventually got him recognised by the BBC Asian Network: “I would send my songs to DJ Yasser - the guy in charge,” Jayden told us “and he really encouraged my style. He was the one to get me on to the BBC’s Introducing Artists platform.” But it is not the young musician’s particular sound that is the core reason for his gathering momentum. “My songs are very diverse,” he continued “and I don’t like to be pigeon-holed, but that is mainly because I write to communicate a message. It’s not necessarily the melody, but the song-writing that matters. The concept creates the mood. If the lyrics aren’t working out, and the listeners aren’t able to empathise, there’s no point continuing to develop the track. It means my music can be danced to in clubs, be tenderer and more romantic and even used for social awareness.” Indeed, Jayden’s latest release – a cover of Jay Sean’s ‘Down’ – is a loving tribute to a female friend who suffered at the hands of domestic violence.

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“My friend was in a relationship that went sour, and because she couldn't take it any more, sadly ended her own life. I think it got as far as it did because she couldn’t talk about it. There is this standardised attitude, especially in the Asian community, of men being entitled to boss around women, and that really needs to be challenged. She also didn't have the support of the justice system. Steps are being taken to see what more the police could have and should have done to help her and vulnerable people like her.” In tune with his own beliefs and sense of self then, Jayden’s warmth and depth as a person resonates meaningfully with others; to the point, in fact, where he can inspire moralistic action.

Q. Tell us more about your cover of Jay Sean’s ‘Down’, and how you translated to capture your friend’s story?
I felt the abusive relationship she was trapped in got as far as it did because she couldn’t openly talk about it. She already had low self-esteem, and was putting the guy on a pedestal. Not being able to speak up about it either meant she had to find a way to cope; to believe he was worth all this pain. She was controlled by him until the end. What she needed was support and understanding. I sang the tribute as if I was there comforting her. The original Jay Sean track is a very pop heavy; when I sang the lyrics there was complete inversion of emotion. I was thinking about giving my friend a hand; addressing her where she is now among the stars. It was experimenting with words, and infusing the original song with my own sentimental poetry. I released it for free to raise awareness. I’m not making a profit. I want mental health charities, for example, to be able to use it as part of their campaigns.

Q. Have you always been interested in music?
Yes. I’ve always enjoyed playing the keyboard and harmonium, and would always scribble down poetry. Over time, I started singing too. But my passion isn’t just to be a song-writer; it’s to be an artist. That’s about relaying a deeper concept. And your lyrics can be so simple with that. It doesn’t need to be complicated. That can actually confuse the thought you’re trying to relay.

Q. Is there a special moment of inspiration you can recall?
I have been composing music for about 5 years now, and there is a moment with one of my earlier singles – ‘Sun Zara’- that I can recall. There’s a place where I live in the Midlands, where you can go to see the stars and there’s no cloud coverage. I remember I was hanging out with my friends and the melody just came to me. I recorded it on my phone and a week after I sent it to my producer where after adding the appropriate lyrics, it got signed to T-Series.

Q. Have you faced many obstacles in your musical career?
In the music industry as whole, there is a bias towards promoting what the public find familiar and already established musicians. But really, they don’t need that excess of promotion. It’s the little guys starting out who really need it more. You have to pay for your own PR etc. and that doesn’t make sense.

Q. Name some creative influences of yours?
Bollywood, definitely: singers such as Arijit Singh. I also enjoy languages. For example, I’m fluent in Guajarati, English and Mandarin. Linguistic skills help engage with lyrics and words at a different level. Western influences include Jay Sean and Ne-Yo, and finally I have to give a shout out to my incredibly talented producers, Fire Tiger and Shivam.

Q. Are you working on an album right now?
Yes, but we are still in the early stages. There are 2 and half brand new tracks already.

Q. Name three things you need handy in the Recording Studio?
Masala Chai, my notepad and pen, and a very good pair of headphones!

Q. Finally, do you have a good piece of industry advice for others starting out?
Don’t rush! Quality is not worth sacrificing for fame. Wait for the right offer/label to come along for you. I always make music for myself first, in that I don’t sing to accumulate fans. I want people to be a fan of my songs, not me as a personality. Or else I’d be Kim Kardashian! Chasing celebrity results in pressure you don’t need and your music suffers.



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