Last week I caught up with the super talented South Central native, Jayy Starr. In an industry where less (as in clothes and talent) equals more, she stands out with her laid back Cali flow, class, and boss like demeanor. Coming from a musical background (her uncles worked with Snoop and Tha Eastsidaz & her grandmother was a gospel group), the music has always been in her and will only continue to reach the masses. Peep below for her thoughts on Twitter fuckery, Aaron Hall and the company you keep.
How did you come up with your stage name. Why the two y’s and two r’s?
Well, since I was a kid people called me “JJ” because my first name starts with a J (no relation to Good times *laughs*). Everybody. My grandmother, my friends etc. As I got older they started calling me “Jay”. When I decided that music was something I wanted to really do I went through a few names, which I’d rather not mention *laughs*, trying to find one that fit who I am and would be remembered. A few people started calling me superstar so one day I decided to drop the super and call myself Jayy Starr. There were so many variations of it, but at the time I’d never seen a double Y double R so I went with that. I’m going twice as hard.
Your songs speak on a lot of female empowerment. What female artists back in the day planted those seeds?
When did you know that you wanted to pursue a music career on a professional level?
I feel like I’ve always known subconsciously it was something I wanted to spend much of my life doing. Everything I was involved in growing up all went back to music. I was in choir, I did poetry contests, summer writing programs and this was all in elementary. What really gassed me up to go hard with it was seeing my uncle’s go from gangbanging to magazines in Japan, getting shout outs on the radio and doing music with cats like Snoop. I knew then that this was more than just a hobby for me. It’s in my DNA.
Coming from a musical family tree, what type of music could we hear playing in your house on a typical day? What was your favorite album to hear?
Down Home Blues, Mighty Clouds of Joy or some Al Green *laughs*. My grandmother kept the jams booming. My sister would play Tupac, Fabolous, Aaliyah, Canibus and more. My favorite album to hear was Canibus 2000 B.C..
If you could collab with any underground artist right now, who would it be? Why?
I’d say Soul Khan. I used to watch his battles on YouTube and my mind was blown. Then I checked out his actual music and was impressed as well. He’s a dope artist.
What 3 music videos have had the most impact on your life? Why?
Jesus Walks by Kanye. I’m a spiritual person so whenever I see it I get chills. Everything about that song and video is so real. I Miss You by Aaron Hall *laughs* I was super young, but that video was always so sad to me. Last, but not least We Need A Resolution by Aaliyah. I love everything about that video. I probably know all of the dance routine *laughs*. The snakes, man, I love it. Creatively she’s always had the best videos to me.
An artist can either use social media to come up or act a fool. What role has it played in your career?
A mixture of both *laughs*. If you want to know what I’m thinking read my Twitter. It’s literally me just talking to myself if I’m not promoting music. It’s helped my career more than anything though. It’s enabled me to connect with people who would’ve otherwise not known who I was so soon. I’m connecting with people I look up to in music and folks I’ve seen in movies. Being verified has only made it easier to be taken seriously without having to list my resume. It’s also introduced me to some great producers that are flying under the radar right now.
Where do you see the future of hip hop going?
I’m hoping to figure that out soon before anyone else so I can capitalize off of it *laughs*. I think hip hop itself is the tree and the branches are these sub genres of hip hop infused with other styles of music. I’m excited for the future. Change is inevitable and should be embraced.
What’s your definition of success?
Success is when myself and those closest to me can call each other up and visit an island without having to get permission, just to reflect and laugh about what we were doing at that time years back. I believe the state of those around you should be a reflection of how much your hard work has paid off.