Coming out of the snowbanks of Buffalo, JayMarr has R&B dreams and boss ambitions. The talented 27-year-old singer, songwriter, producer, and part-time engineer, has been hard at work trying to hone his craft and become the type of artist that can do it all. Teeming with talent, an uncanny ear for melodies and sweat-inducing vocals, JayMarr essentially lives in the studio. So, it’s only suitable that that is where we meet to engage in an insightful conversation.
We set the meeting date for August 6th. Weather in Buffalo, NY is notorious for its uncertainties and shifty nature but the blistering waves of heat leaving our thighs stuck to the seats in the studio made it known that it was indeed summertime. So I followed the young crooner into what is essentially the We Make Hits home base, a studio smothered in purple hues and swaths of magentas radiantly singing from light fixtures draped across the studio’s walls and ceilings. JayMarr mentioned to me that he had to set a vibe to get in his creative bag, and so I sat there as he performed his artistic ritual; he unfurled a couple of papers, unbagged some weed, placed the contents on a binder and allowed for the medicine to wash over his worries, closing the door in the face of anxiety. I then watched on as a wave of smoky confidence gave the young crooner a metaphorical pep talk and then—“Yeah, I’m in my bag now, you really gotta set that vibe and let the ambiance take over.” The conversation below is only a fragment of what was discussed during our time together that day, but as you’ll read, it was a great starting point in getting to know the upcoming singer/songwriter.
M: I’m super glad we got to finally link and talk about everything you got going on right now; you’re out here making moves. So to kick this thing off, walk through the origins of JayMarr; how did your musical journey begin?
J: Around 2016, I met Kal V, he got a platinum record right now, and he is from the town (Buffalo), too; I met him at an open mic. And there’s another dude named Miles B, and we grew up together basically singing and shit. Miles has been taking this music thing seriously since I’ve known him, but I didn’t really start taking it seriously till about 2016, and I met Kal V, seeing him in the studio every day working on his craft, and that inspired me. So, I saw that, and I was like, I’m not trying to be out here paying people to record me or make me beats, so I’m starting to learn how to get this shit done by myself. I started making beats and recording myself, and then I started developing my network; I was pulling up on people with all my equipment, charging ten bucks an hour, recording and mixing that product down.
Once I figured out that I was good at it, I began brainstorming ways that I could make this into a career for myself; even if this artist shit doesn’t work, how could I do music full time. I did some research, and I found out about this music industry program with Villa Maria and started tapping in with them, and I learned music theory, got vocal lessons, met super talented people there and actually I got about a year left with that program. And from there, I took that leap, and it’s been about a five-year journey since then. Over time, I got better at what I do, and now we be in here (gestures around the studio decorated in opulent hues, teeming with magenta lights) recording myself and other artists from the town. Actually, I’m booked up all the way till about 3 AM today, so it’s gon be a long one (laughs), but I love this shit. Gotta be multifaceted, especially today, and I’m glad that Solo Group saw that in me and took that chance; it’s about to pay off. Do you know who Kane Wave is?
M: Yeah, yeah, he’s from the town, too.
J: Right, well, we got a studio session tonight, so you know we tapped in. He has been making moves in the town and beyond; he has been linking with Drum Works and Griselda and all of them, so I don’t know, man. It feels good to be with a team that believes in your talents for sure. Solo Group is family.
M: You mentioned Solo Group Entertainment taking a chance on you; were you signed to a more prominent record label or Solo Group its own thing? What’s the story with that?
J: Oh, yeah, they’re the home team, for real. So, Solo Group Entertainment is new; Tony Solo is the one that signed me actually, but they just established this joint last year, and it’s a new group, but he was telling me recently that they’ve been making a lot of plays in Atlanta. They told me, “yo, we got a big surprise for you,” so I’m curious to see what that’s about but yeah, definitely over here making plays. Basically, he was saying something about us getting into a dope situation under a more prominent label, so I’m excited to see what that opens up for us.
M: So, what was the project that put you on Solo Group’s radar? What was the joint that became the catalyst for everything you got going on? Was it The Experience? Because I remember that joint.
J: It’s crazy you remember that (laughs). But Nah, that was one of my first put-together projects as an artist, like when I first started doing music during my first semester at Villa Maria. My first project for We Make Hits, which is our own thing under Solo Group Entertainment, was Black List, and that was with my producer Tyrie. That was like the EP that we did.
M: We Make Hits? I really wanted to know more about that; I saw the chains on Instagram, and Facebook draped all over social media and what not. The picture was blowing mad people showing love to the post. I know that had to feel good.
J: Yeah, man it the reception to everything we’ve been doing has been OD, but that specifically was dope as hell. But We Make Hits was founded by Tyrie and myself; yeah, we’re the co-founders of that operation. Before we had this studio, the central hub was at his crib, and most of everything in here is actually his. We were sitting down one day, chilling, and he already had a Facebook page called We Make Hits, and I was like, yo we should make this a thing, really brand We Make Hits and start hashtagging it. I said, “it could be me, Tyrie, our videographer Danny Vista, Shakeif, Shane Grams. But at this point, I hadn’t even known Tyrie for a year yet (laughs). So it was meant to happen. And we really got it in with these projects like the Black List and all that.
M: With the project Black List, what went into that? I know that was the first project you did for We Make Hits, and it must’ve been different than the recording process for The Experience, right? So how was the creative process for the Black List?
J: Yeah, for real. Nah, the mindset going into Black List was “alright, we got to make some sexy shit” (laughs). Some classic R&B vibes; that’s what we were trying to showcase that range of knowledge and material that we were capable of. Not on no raunchy shit because of The Experience I had “Right Now” and “Bounce That Ass”, so we weren’t really trying to show too much of that. At the same time, I personally wanted to explore more ways that I could become a more versatile songwriter. So, going into that project, the focus was to showcase the beauty of R&B, making music that leaves people saying, “yeah, this nigga makes real R&B, and it’s good.” Because at the end of the day, I could really give you Tory Lanez type records, I can give you any vibe, but I was really trying to give listeners the R&B side of JayMarr on Black List and the R&B side of Tyrie as well from the production standpoint.
M: Did The Experience play a part in Solo Group saying, “yeah, this nigga nice.”?
J: I feel it was The Experience and The Best of Me; that was another EP we did. I had records on The Best of Me like “My Heart”, which I got the visuals for, “On Me”, which is one of my most popular songs. Yeah, so it was those records that really got people saying, “yeah, this nigga nice.” This is weird because around that same time, I was over the whole artist thing and figured I could do anything; I could be a manager, A&R, I can produce, but my man was like nah, bro, we bouta blow you up. So we went ahead and did the EP, we did it through ourselves, so we own everything, produce everything and just watch in six months the whole town gon know who you is. And lo and behold, in six months, it worked. We put the project out, and through Tyrie’s crazy network of people, it created a buzz, and then his network started tapping in with me, and it went crazy from there. After we did that project and got all of that feedback, Tony Solo from Solo Group saw the buzz and the noise we were making, and he reached out. We had a sit-down, me, Tyrie, and Tony, and we played him “My Heart and On Me. Tony was fucking with it heavy, and he said, “I want you, I been looking for a R&B dude,” and the rest is history. And now boys got a feature with Pleasure P, shit is fire, and next month we got a few interviews lined up in Atlanta. So we making moves.
M: You mentioned having the ability to be an A&R, producer and doing everything else in the studio along with being the actual artist. Could you see yourself as being in the same stratosphere as a legend like Ne-Yo? Someone who produces, writes, sings, everything, is that ultimately where your goals lie?
J: So that’s exactly where I was at six months ago; I was going to just write songs for other artists. Actually, you know the singing cops from Buffalo that were on the Ellen Show?
M: Yeah, yeah.
J: I wrote a song for him recently. He was fucking with it heavy; I’m probably about to start writing a lot of his music. But that’s where I was about six months ago, but now I just been focusing on the artist thing. It’s crazy that you even mentioned song-writing for other people because that’s how a lot of artists really be getting on; artists like Lucky Daye, Eric Bellinger, people of that caliber got on by writing for your favorite artists.
M: So, what are some goals that you have for yourself and We Make Hits within the next year or so?
J: I’d say within the next year or so, maybe three years, but it’s building JayMarr as a brand. We’ve got plans to turn We Make Hits into a label pretty soon, so that’s dope as hell, building that out and getting our own artists. A year from now, to be honest with you, I’m not trying to be recording people; for real, that is something I love doing, but it’s really for bread, so that way, I can stack and put those funds towards my own brand of artistry. I’m trying to get a single that really moves in Buffalo and beyond so I could get paid off of that and getting paid for shows. I don’t know, all that in a year, though? Is that realistic? Is that possible? I think it’s possible; I’m really not trying to be doing what I’m doing now—I’m trying to be tapped in, tapped in, writing songs for my idols, feel me?
M: Dope, dope, you mentioned him earlier in our discussion, and I saw it on Facebook, but this Pleasure P song, what can you tell me about this? And also, congratulations on that dawg!
J: I appreciate that, man, I appreciate that. So, I’m the type of dude with my social media and shit I’m mad annoying with it; I’m inboxing you all the time with links and I be reaching out to industry niggas all the time and asking questions like “yo, what are you charging for a feature right now?” Especially now with all that we got going on with Solo Group Entertainment as an investor? Oh yeah, I’m out here making plays (laughs). So with something like that in our corner, the money really ain’t a thing, feel me? So, I reached out to Chris Brown, Mario, Eric Bellinger, Bryson Tiller—all my favorite artists that I would love to one day cut records with. But Pleasure P was amongst them, and he hit me right back; shit was crazy. Pleasure P told me his price, we set up a video call, he followed me on Instagram, and we started building.
Actually, I had already had the record done; it was a flip of one of his records; you know that joint called “Lick”? It was that joint. I wrote two verses to it, and I ended up taking my second joint off, and he got on it like that. He was super chill about everything. I sent him the record, and he completed his verse in like thirty minutes and sent it right back. And it’s crazy because he’s become big bro essentially. I could text him right now just to ask a couple of questions, and he’d respond; he’s super dope. It’s completely done, but we’re waiting to drop the track. We want to promote it the right way because we strongly feel that this song has the potential to blow on some next-level shit, so we’re trying to do a whole proper rollout behind it.
M: Damn, we’ll definitely be on the lookout for that single; from the snippet, you shared with me, shit is sounding tough! Last question, are you currently working on your next project? And if so, what can we expect from that joint and How long have you been working on this next project that you have coming out?
J: So the name of the project is Trust Issues. It can really be trust Iisues with your close relationship with your lady or whatever your personal choice is; it could be friends. Because I got songs on there that allude to keeping that circle small, a joint called “Beast Mode”, and I’m rapping on some Tory Lanez shit, and I make reference to not making new friends and keeping it with my day ones, We Make Hits, the family. So, yeah, that’s what the focus of the project mainly is, but it’s really handling the trust I’ve had with women for the most part. And that song with Pleasure P is gonna be one of the leading singles. I think this joint is really gonna make some noise and get us to where we need to be. I can’t tell you when that project is coming out, but it’ll be this year, so be on the lookout for that. And in regards to how long I’ve been working on this project, since…man. I got the deal with Solo Group Entertainment and then we basically said “bet now we gotta go ahead and start putting together a project”; this was around May/June of this year. I just got signed in May, so I’ve been really working on this project since then, but it’s pretty much done. We just gotta figure out how all the nitty-gritty shit is going to get done; we’re trying to figure out what direction we’re going in for the music video, visuals, aesthetics and all that, but we got some heat coming for sure with this project, I’m excited.
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