WHO IS JAE ALI…The Interview
JAE ALI is an R&B artist from my hometown, Chicago. I’d been following his career for a while so I wanted to catch up with him to find out what’s been going on in his personal life (wink) and musically.
UMM: Right out the gate I have to ask this question for all of our female readers. Inquiring minds want to know…do you have a special lady in your life?
JAE ALI: You know it’s funny. At this point in my life I actually don’t.
UMM: Is that so? Why not?
JAE ALI: To be honest I was in a relationship for like four years and it didn’t really allow me to grow as a person so at this point in my life I decided that I would rather stay single and at least meet someone who understands where I’m trying to go with my life. And supports my dream and understands that I’ll support theirs in the same way. But honestly right now I’m more comfortable being single and just having a couple really good friends.
UMM: I’m going to leave that right there…LOL Didn’t mean to put you on the spot like that but the ladies wanted to know. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, you probably get this question a lot. Who is Jae Ali and where did the name come from?
JAE ALI: Jae Ali is an alter ego. Jae Ali was born in necessity of a repression of expression. But at the same time, Jae Ali embodies all of who I am as well. Jay comes from Junior because I’m named after my father. Ali comes from the greatest boxer of all time of course arguably. So I just put them two together and came up with Jae Ali.
UMM: Who are some of your musical influences?
JAE ALI: Some of my influences musically would have to be Kanye West, Drake, party next-door, Kendrick Lamarr, Big Sean, and a few others. But I get a lot of my influences from jazz music. Jazz music kind of relaxes my mind so that I’m not thinking so much about the words of what my song will contain but more so let it be free-flowing like jazz.
UMM: Are there any artists you look up to? Any you’d like to work with?
JAE ALI: The artists I would like to work with…definitely Kanye West and Drake. Wiz Khalifa is another. Big Sean. Jhene Aiko. Chance The Rapper. Vic Mensa. King Louie. Tink. Jeremih. Lil Durk. R. Kelly. There are countless to be honest.
UMM: I’ve been following your career for quite some time and I’ve noticed a change…there’s an edginess to your style. What prompted it?
JAE ALI: Life. Life really changed my music. I went through some things within this past year that really altered my music and my state of mind, and it really made me realize how special I am. And it really prompted me to be the artist that I knew I could be and not the artist everybody wanted me to be. Now my music is moreso all of my influence and it applies directly to my life. Not saying that my music didn’t apply to me before, it’s just that now my music has more to do with life, and experiences are one of the things that connects music to people.and people connect with my story so now the edginess that you hear is my story and my pain in my music.
UMM: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard it before?
JAE ALI: I would tell people that my sound is very mellow, but also at the same time it’s very story driven. I would tell them that there is something in there for them that they would connect with. People say I have a very sultry tone so it’s very soothing and will probably relax you.
UMM: What was it like performing on stage for the first time and what do you like most about performing live?
JAE ALI: Well my first real time performing onstage was on tour with my cousin earlier this year. And it was a great experience but not as fulfilling as I want to feel on stage. I think the best part about performing live is the fact that people connect with you and what you’re saying in your message…so once I’m able to perform and get out my message and people are by me with my music I think that the feeling will be a amazing.
UMM: Social media has become a big part of how independent and mainstream artists market themselves and grow their fanbase. How (if at all) has social media played a part in your music career?
JAE ALI: I mean so far social media hasn’t really played a super huge part in my career, but I see that changing coming up in the future, especially with all of the blog features we are hoping to obtain. We are hoping to make a huge wave on the internet with all the new music that we are getting ready to make and the videos that we are getting ready to push out. So I think my fanbase will possibly grow after we get out all of the music for people to hear and have things for people to gravitate towards.
UMM: I’ve had a chance to check out your new song “Wit The Team”. I think it’s hot and will definitely be a hit. What was your inspiration behind the song, who produced it, and when will it be available?
JAE ALI: Well, the inspiration behind the song was just the thought of a woman who is doing a lot of things independently to make her dream happen and not necessarily having to be a strip club thing, or grinding like a trap queen. So this song is just my homage to pretty girls who do not just rely on their looks to get where they want in their life. Not speaking down on anyone who does, this song in particular is one I wrote for a girl who doesn’t. And that’s also not saying that this song can’t be about them.
UMM: What producers are you currently working with? Who have you worked with in the past? Who would you like to work with in the future?
JAE ALI: I’ve been working with the same producer since I started making music. Ravo producers a lion’s share of my music to date but more recently, I started working with Chris Chem and we have been making a lot of different records. Different in the sense that Ravo has a different sound than Chris does and I feel two different ways when I hear each of their styles. I also want to work more with Tay Jasper. In the future, I want to work with big producers with Grammys. I want to see if I can swim with the big fish. (Laughs)
UMM: Where can we catch you next? Any upcoming shows?
JAE ALI: I’m not sure as of yet, best ways to find out is by social media until I get a solid schedule.
UMM: What’s the best piece of advice someone ever gave you?
JAE ALI: That you can do it yourself. It’s possible to make things happen if you build up a team of people who believe in your same common goal and with those people, push! Good music will reach if the message is there and circumstances are right.
UMM: Where can people listen to your music online?
JAE ALI: On my soundcloud www.soundcloud.com/iamjaeali. But also, I sing a lot on my IG and post a lot of live things from snapchat and on Instagram @iamjaeali.
UMM: It’s been a pleasure chatting with you and thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to give our readers a glimpse of who Jae Ali is. If there is anything you could leave with our readers who are interested in getting into the business, what would it be?
JAE ALI: I honestly don’t know. It takes someone pretty crazy to want to get into this. Long nights and days of no sleep, constantly practicing, isolation, and stress, but if you love it, work at it, and work at it hard. You can’t see success in the way you want until you fully give in to the process.
We’re definitely keeping our eye on JAE ALI…one of my Chi-town favorites. Until next time…Love Self First…the rest will follow!