Hailing from the Windy City comes the freshest breeze in Urban pop we’ve felt in quite some time – Em Jai.
The buzzing beauty is building quite the name for herself amongst the year’s freshman class and, if we our recent chat with her is any indication, that talk is only set to grow.
Bursting onto the scene with her energetic debut EP ‘Love, Etc’, That Grape Juice recently got to learn more about the budding songstress who shared her story on breaking into the industry, breaking down sonic walls to fuse Urban and Pop music, and breaking hearts along the way.
Meet Em Jai, a name we’re sure will be on your lips in just a few months’ time. Remember where you saw it first…
TGJ: So great to finally chat with you! We’ve heard a lot of buzz about you, but for those who are unfamiliar, introduce them to Em Jai.
Em Jai: I am an Urban/pop singer who also happens to rap! Fun, outgoing, lively, and I love music!
TGJ: How did you get your start into writing, especially as it relates to your Disney connection?
Em Jai: I started writing when I was really young. I started with short stories and poetry, but later got into songwriting. An opportunity came where Disney gave us a brief description of what they were looking for.
After we demo-ed the tune, they loved it and decided to keep it for one of the ‘Shake It Up’ shows! After getting good feedback, they even released it as a single.
TGJ: We can only imagine at this point it all has to feel a bit surreal.
Em Jai: When I first found out I got the placement on Disney, it was surreal. But, I was so confident and so determined to get that placement because I’d just graduated from college and I needed something to happen for myself. Also, I’m very competitive when it comes to my art.
I also believe in the “law of spoken word”. When you have faith that something can happen and you put the work in, anything can happen.
TGJ: We agree! So, now let’s talk more about what you’re doing. Tell us about your EP “Love, Etc”.
Em Jai: I wrote the entire EP by myself over the course of a year. I took the time to put together some life experiences and listen to what was going on in pop culture as well. I gathered those thoughts, reached out to a few dope producers, then got into my writing process.
I recorded a video for the first single ‘Catch 22′, which was released in summer 2013.
Em Jai (continued): The EP is a free download because I want people to get the chance to know who I am. Right now, I’m pushing two singles – a pop record called “It Can Wait” and an urban cut “Drunken Dreams & Sober Realities”.
TGJ: Awesome. Tell us a bit more about your sound.
Em Jai: I label myself as an Urban pop artist. I try to find the happy medium of Urban and pop music. I try to make each song not sound too much like one or the other.
TGJ: With such an interesting sound all your own, who do you cite as influences?
Em Jai: Jay Z and Kanye West! I look up to Lauryn Hill and a huge fan of Ryan Leslie!
TGJ: Now, that’s a great list. So, if you had to make a list of three people of dream collaborators – singers or producers – who would they be?
Em Jai: Definitely Pharrell, Kanye West, and Ester Dean.
TGJ: We like your style. Switching gears a bit, we know 2014 has so much in store for you, but what’s on your radar for the year. What else can we expect?
Em Jai: More music definitely! I have more shows coming and, as a songwriter, I’m working on placement for major artists. Also, I’m trying to get my name out there more so brand awareness is big.
TGJ: Well, we do look forward to it. So, to bring this all home, tell our readers where they can find more about you.
Em Jai: You can find me on Twitter (@EmJaiGirl), Instagram (@EmJaiGirl), and my official website.
Interview by: Rashad Taylor (That Grape Juice US)