Interview with Blu Jay
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I started doing ballet when I was younger and there was a live piano in the room playing classical music, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, etc, and I thought it was incredible the way you could feel the music. That's when I started really being involved with music. Even then I liked to sing, and that led to my first band when I was around 13. Back then we did a lot of classic rock covers. Eventually, we started to explore writing our own songs, and I realized that music could be more than just playing covers. So it's been an evolution for me but my love of music and involvement keeps growing. I’ve always been acting and it's something I also love to do, so right now the emphasis is really on my music, but if I had to choose anything else to do it would be acting.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I have a clothing brand, BABY DADDY MOMMA DRAMA, where I hand paint clothing. I really enjoy painting and fashion, so it's really rewarding to be able to do both. I also love interacting with the people who buy the clothes and it's fun to see them wearing the designs. It's a great creative outlet and when I’m making the clothes I get totally into it – locked into a certain headspace, where I forget about the whole world except what I am working on.
How long has your band been around?
I’m really a solo performer. So I have some really talented musicians who play with me when I do live shows but when it comes to making music or recording it is a solo project.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I’m based in Los Angeles. It's a very creative city. There are a lot of things going on with film and television, fashion, and music. A lot of people come here to pursue their dreams so it's given me the leeway at a younger age to be fully committed to a non-conventional career path. There are a lot of venues for new music and I’ve met a lot of other young musicians and I think that also pushes you to explore your own unique voice.
How did you come up with your name and what does it mean to you?
I spent a lot of time looking at numerology – it's kind of funny now that I think about it because I’m not really that into it. But I guess I thought it was important when I was looking for a name. I did want to separate my artist persona from myself. I think the main thing was that I didn’t want my identity to be attached to me, I wanted to create a profile that was about music.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
We did a tour last Spring in New England. So it was a totally different environment than what I’m used to in Southern California but the tour was insane and a lot of fun. We all piled into a van and drove all over New England. We had a blast – the most memorable experience was probably our Rhode Island show, then after we hadn’t eaten or slept in what seemed like ages, we toured around Brown and RISD with our friends from there.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
There are a lot of places I would love to play. I just went to see some friends play the Troubadour and it's such a great venue. It's really intimate but you can have a nice turnout there and it has such an incredible history. So that’s definitely a goal for the near future.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
I definitely want to play with Lana Del Rey and Taylor Swift on the same night, not to mention having Fiona Apple, Tame Impala, Metronomy, and the Talking Heads just to shake it up. I feel like that would be a really fun night.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting started and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Start sooner. Ha, I actually think that is good advice for anyone. You just have to believe in yourself and start playing and let that take you forward. I think putting yourself out there and learning from trial and error – you're probably not going to hit it out of the park with whatever you start with but you will keep learning and growing if you keep trying.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Same answer. Start sooner. Keep going. Don’t give up.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Well, I have a lot of songs that are still unreleased. I guess from my released discography, I think TREES means the most to me. TREES is a song that I have really worked hard on for a long time. It's something that's gone through so many drafts and I think as a songwriter it's kind of a turning point for me and understanding my process and getting stronger with the craft. So I am very proud of the song and how it has evolved.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
I think TREES – before I released it I would play it live in different venues and I saw it always got a strong visceral response from the crowd. By the end of the song, people who had never heard it before were actually singing the chorus back to me.
What is your creative process, and what inspires you to write your music?
My process varies. I usually write the music and melody first. Sometimes I’ll write my songs on the guitar and then later produce them, other times a melody will pop into my head, and more recently I'll sit at my computer and produce some beats and almost work backward. It just depends on the headspace I'm in. I think the main thing that inspires me is a really good song or album that resonates with me. The goal is to always resonate with a song whether you're the one listening or making it. So whenever I resonate deeply with a song, I get the urge to invoke that same emotion with my own music.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
It varies from song to song, I guess the main thing I look for when writing my music is some type of connection with my audience.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I started vlogging my life as an indie musician. I’m really enjoying it and I’d love for people to check it out: https://www.youtube.com/c/jadeduncanshow
I’m also planning on releasing a bunch of singles in the next few months – so stay posted
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?