Growing up in the hotbed of the Atlanta Hip-Hop/R&B music scene, young singer-songwriter, Jai’len Josey, had her future musical sound set for her at an early age. Jai’Len’s “Soul Pop” direction brings a smooth and powerful take on Pop music with influential tones from the world of R&B. Jai’Len’s vocal abilities make her impossible to ignore in any setting. Her captivating live performances have won her fans from all over the world. Her background not only includes gospel but even Broadway, where she made her professional debut bringing the house down during her solo performance 8 shows a week in “Spongebob Squarepants: The Broadway Musical”.
Most recently, she was contracted to write and perform a song for Oil of Olay, which was released in October 2019 and has collected more than 1.4 million views. Jai’len has released two singles, “Death of a Black Girl” and “All Mine” in 2020 with her debut EP ‘Illustrations’ released this fall.
Tell us about your latest project “Illustrations”? What was the process was like?
I started Illustrations back in 2018 when I first was still on broadway, and I was creating songs on my break. I just didn’t have the ability to actually flush them out, I was like 18 or however old I was and I didn’t have the money or the funds to create what I really wanted. So as time went on, and as I started to tell people my goals about creating only music and not doing broadway, I started actually going into the studio and putting it down. But Illustrations still wasn’t thought of yet, it was just beginning the process of creating songs.
So by the time I had turned 20 I moved back to Atlanta and I was set on flushing out all of the songs that I had already put together. I had recorded those songs at like 18 or 19 so I wanted to redo them and at that point I actually had a thought in my mind of what I wanted. At first I was like “what am I going to do, how am I going to put this together, what do I feel when I listen to my music?” and I was like okay–well I think I illustrate paintings well. Funny thing, in my family I’m the only person that sings, everyone else does something with art and drawing.
So this is my way of illustrating. This is my way of communicating to everyone, sonically. Because if everyone else is painting then I gotta communicate with my art somehow. The process was basically very huge, it took a lot of time. There’s only so much you can do being young and not having much money. But it came together as perfectly as possible.
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What do you want people to learn about you from listening to your music?
I definitely want people to know that I’m an empath without me saying it. I want people to hear how close to spirituality I am with my music. That basically you can feel spirit through my music without even being gospel.
What does it mean to be “Grown” to you?
What does it mean to be grown? All the bills in your name and you can’t necessarily wild out–but you can! Personally i’m a big stickler on making memories, it’s a huge part of life. I can’t wait to turn 25, 30, 40, or even 50 because I look at people like my mom and realize they have so many memories. Being grown means you have more freedom to create memories.
How has it felt to grow up in East Atlanta and now breaking into the music industry in your home town?
It’s almost like you can’t really tell. You go to the corner store, you go get you some Arizona’s Tea, some popcorn or whatever you get from the grocery store or gas station and then you go home. I went to Tri-Cities High School so I feel like you can’t really tell until you actually go to LA. It’s too familiar but it feels great knowing that you can create something and know that on the back of your name you are from East Atlanta. That feels better than anything. Beause once I get to accomplishing a few or majority of my goals, in that magazine somewhere it’s gonna say “and she’s from East Atlanta.”
Do you feel like it’s difficult being yourself in this industry?
I’m pretty fun to get along with but as a black woman, yes. While I was on broadway I didn’t have many options to “be”. I knew there was a specific box I had to be in and I wasn’t feeling it and I feel like my music gives me the opportunity to do something that isn’t necessarily the signature of black women. I get to be a black woman doing something a little bit different and not by the say-so of what white people think we should be. So being a black woman, it is hard to be yourself but me personally? Imma be myself regardless.
Did you always know that you wanted to be on Broadway?
It was never really a goal, it was just an outlet for me to sing. Of course I am thankful for the opportunity that God has given me because without that leverage I definitely would not be able to do this. It totally wasn’t the end goal, cause I would’ve felt too accomplished too quick. My music is what feeds me and gives me the energy that I need, so I always knew that was for me. I grew up always making these little songs but the beginning of me leaving college is when I really was writing songs for real. I always knew it was music but Broadway was the door opener.
From Broadway to singing your own songs, how does it feel and compare?
To [have done] broadway it feels like the fourth stepping stone out of million. I think i’m finally stepping in the right direction and I have enough time, I’m only 22. I have the time to create my own playground.
What are you hoping to accomplish next in your career?
Being on bigger stages and my name being spoken in rooms that I haven’t been in yet. People listening to [me] and over hearing someone humming my music. I think that would be really crazy, Another huge goal of mine is to have my own orchestra. Lastly, after it’s all said and done it to be unconditionally loved.