Up-and-Coming Recording Artist: Interview with Rapper Jayren Mychael
By Alicia Olivares —
If there’s one thing you can sense in Jayren Mychael, it’s his passion and drive. As an up-and-coming rapper, lyricist and producer, he’s what the music industry calls a triple threat. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Jayren first began his musical endeavors at the age of 9 when he learned to play the alto sax. Eventually he picked up on piano, drums and percussion instruments, giving him the leeway to compose and arrange music with further skill. Jayren’s sound is eclectic and soulful, taking us back to the ’90s, a time which critics say hip-hop was at its best. With the release of his new album and the premiere of his campaign Fights For Fame, not to mention being a full-time college student, Jayren is definitely one of the hardest working, and successful, twenty-somethings in this city.
CM: How long have you been in the music industry and has music always been a part of your life?
JM: Music has always been a major part of my life, but I have been working in music since 2004. I was just doing odd jobs in different studios in attempts to learn as much as I could. I would just hang around most sessions, even though they wouldn’t let me work with them, and little did they know I would take much more from those opportunities than just watch the process. I would be inspired night after night.
CM: Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “music is what I want to do”?
JM: Yes, I remember that moment vividly. One day I was sitting in one of my college class rooms and the professor was talking. I was supposed to be taking notes, but instead I was sitting in the front of the class room with my blackberry out writing songs in my memo pad. I was more excited about going home and getting that song recorded than I was about anything the professor had to say. Don’t get me wrong, I have a 3.4 GPA, but I just don’t see that lifestyle for myself.
CM: What inspires you (or your music)?
JM: I am inspired by life. I know it sounds so cliché, but I’m driven to improve music that I hear and I hope that my music can inspire others to fight to make their dreams come true. This is why we started the company Fight For Fame, because we really believe we can be whatever we want to if we do the work and stay focused on our goals.
CM: Who’s on your iPod playlist?
JM: To be honest, my iTunes has everything in it, but when I take the time to make a playlist from my iTunes, I select songs by One Republic or anything written by Ryan Tedder. As far as rap, I run with Lupe Fiasco. Other than that, it’s filled with tracks that I produced or other producers gave me, so that I can see what inspires me to create something new.
CM: Have you worked with any big names or indie artists in the music industry?
JM: I have worked with a lot of people over the years. Each of them add a different element that helps me grow as an artist. I think the person who has had the largest impact in my career is Benjamin Wright, who I worked with and later became my mentor by pushing me to challenge myself musically every day.
CM: Whether you’re an actor, musician, or artist, I imagine it is hard for anyone to break out into mainstream America. What have been your struggles and triumphs in the business? Are you interested in venturing to markets overseas?
JM: Wow that’s a really good question. I find the hardest thing to do is to expose my music to enough people where it makes an impact on my fan base and expands it. It’s really hard to get press in magazines. Many of the popular blogs give you the attention you need, especially if you already have a large following. So that’s my largest obstacle, just trying to get the music out to the masses.
CM: I’ve heard your latest mixed tape, and it’s amazing! I can definitely tell your sound has evolved over the past few years. What are your thoughts on the evolution of an artist and the evolution of music today?
JM: Well I think the evolution of an artist is their key to staying current. Having the ability to take what is out in the industry and not allow it to change their entire style is important. Artists should just take key elements from what is current to reinvent their work and to keep a fresh sound.
CM: Do you have other passions in life? Do you believe passion is an essential part of success?
JM: I do have other passions. I love fashion and pop art. I believe that passion is the main reason people are successful, because if you’re not passionate about what you are doing, especially with music, it shows. If you’re not into your work, other people probably won’t be that into you or your artistic displays.
CM: What advice would you give to someone just starting out in his or her career, whatever industry it may be?
JM: To me, the most important thing that I would have to say is they need to pay attention. They need to have knowledge of everything, at least enough to get the rough of their idea down without any help, because nobody will ever hear what you hear. Stay as open minded as possible when it comes to other artists and the people you work with, because these relationships will get you much farther in your career than your own ability will, but your own ability will keep you in those doors once you make it in.
Listen to a Track:
For more info, check out Jayren Mychael and The Fights for Fame.