Sunday, April 1, 2018

DJ's Spotlight: An Interview with Jayhan

Hello everyone DJ Dizzy here I had the chance to sit down with indie musician Jayhan.

1. How'd you get started in music?

Well, that's a tough one... So bear with me as I explain the process of getting step by step involved in music production.

I honestly believe that for me, the earliest music-related memory that I have of my childhood is when my family and I had gone to a church event. I think I was about 8 years old. I don't really remember what we were celebrating, but I remember being up on stage with my parents, and I was suddenly handed a mic and was asked to sing something. For some reason, I thought it was a great idea to sing a Japanese song... about ramen from a commercial I had seen on TV. I didn't even know the lyrics - I think I made up some of them as I sang to the crowd - but I focused a lot on the melody instead of the words. There was something magical about that moment; the combination of the reverb in my voice, holding a mic and being up on that stage, being able to see all these heads until the far end of the room, witnessing the "oohs" and "ahhs" in people's face as they looked at me in wonder... I felt not only empowered, but also sensed that I loved singing and seeing people react to my voice.

I didn't know it back then, but that was the starting point of my passion as a vocalist. Because since then, whenever there was an opportunity to sing in front of people, I took it.

I participated in choirs throughout my school years and as my passion for music grew, I took up flute lessons at the age of nine. Something about the tune and its mystifying sound attracted me to it. And so, I honed my skills as a flutist while learning some basic music theory for the next 15 years to come.

At the age of 13, I discovered that I had the possibility of taking singing lessons, and so I did for five years until I had to stop due to financial reasons (I had to stop flute lessons years later, too). I think I was quite torn about stopping, but I didn't have a choice. That and the fact that I wasn't in a band or a choir or even an ensemble anymore made it difficult for me to find opportunities to just.. let it out, you know?

And while searching for an outlet, I came across YouTube. I started singing lead vocals to karaoke tracks with a small, low-quality condenser microphone (the most recommended type of mic for any studio recording) and sometimes adding some flute in the background. People liked the covers I was making, so I kept doing that for a good couple of years. After a while, I began to arrange my own tracks through a music production software that not only allowed audio recordings, but also MIDI recordings with virtual instruments. I looked up chords to songs and got creating. I even started writing songs based off of the things I grew up with and the things I love: SWAT Kats, Voltron, Trollhunters and more!
And as I started getting really creative, bit by bit, I built a home recording studio throughout the years and then included the filming production in my career as a music video producer on YouTube.

So as you can see, it may have begun as the 8-year-old me being so inspired after performing for the first time on stage, but it takes years, even a lifetime just "to get started". The cool thing is that I discovered through YouTube that I could sing as much as I want, play flute and write songs as much as I want, and that there was nothing that could stop me.

2. Who are your biggest influences & inspirations?

Here's something I'm a bit ashamed to admit: I wasn't as music savvy as the other kids in class, who turned on the radio and listened to whatever pop music was playing at the station, or who listened to the albums their parents once owned. I may occasionally buy a music album at the store or learn some oldies during a music lesson at school, but for me, I grew up on the opening and ending themes of cartoons, anime and tv series, and I would listen on repeat to the soundtracks of the video games I played. The biggest influence, in this case, came from the Sonic games: I still remember the awe I felt when watching the opening sequence to Sonic Adventure, and the epicness that was the final boss battle against that space lizard in Sonic Adventure 2, with the intense rock and orchestral music playing in the background. Sonic games have been, for better or worse, the biggest influence in terms of music, composition and songwriting.

But I will say that while there may have been many vocalists who have inspired me, from Celine Dion to Amy Lee from Evanescence, from Stan Bush to Chester Bennington from Linkin Park, even Michael Jackson at some point, the people who know me will tell you immediately that Johnny Gioeli from Crush 40 was and still is my vocal idol. Throughout my years as a musician, singer and songwriter, I developped a fondness of rock vocals because they exhibited that power and energy that I love hearing and seeing in rock music. Johnny is, in my opinion, one of the best rock vocalists out there, not only because of his insane vocal skills, but because he has this incredible stage presence: he interacts with the crowd, with the musicians... He's having fun while being so invested in his passion! THAT is what I aim to be, a performer who engages with her audience, but who never loses sight of her love for music!

3. Any advice to  any up & coming performers?

My biggest advice? Be original and creative! In my experience as a singer, songwriter and music producer, I discovered that people reached out to me when I created something out of the ordinary: for example, I had created a mash-up between the Nostalgia Critic theme and the Gravity Falls theme, which was one of the reasons why Doug Walker, Nostalgia Critic himself, hired me later on as Nostalgia-ween composer.
Next advice? Whether you are a singer, a guitarist or a DJ... Discipline yourself and get yourself out there if you plan on taking your passion further. Practice your instruments and write, arrange and remix music every day, explore your skills, look up tutorials on YouTube if you have doubts! The internet has made it easier for anyone to become a producer and to upload their works for everyone to see and hear.

Join online music groups – musicians with common interests – and get collaborating!
If you have the chance to perform live in front of an audience, even in a place as small as a bathroom, do it!
Choirs, bands, ensembles? Join them!
With everything you do, you get experience, you become more familiar with the many aspects in the world of music making.

You get BETTER.

And once you launch yourself in your own music production – a project you wish to pursue – you’ll learn that everything you’ve learned, the skills you’ve acquired and the areas you’ve improved – the whole experience will be your asset in the future.

4. Any new stuff or gigs in the works?

I'm glad you asked! I'm happy to announce that I'm releasing my next album, "Dedication, Vol. 2" pretty soon, which will include covers and original songs alike (just like my first album, "Dedication, Vol. 1, which is available on Google Play, iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and more)!

I also plan on creating more music video covers regularly, since they have been quite on demand and I've recently acquired a new set of lights. That will make the video production side of things all the more exciting!

So with that I wish you nothing but the best Jayhan in your music so until then be radically righteous & I'll catch you on the flipside! 

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