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INTERVIEW: Jay Elle

How would you classify your music?

I fall under the category of singer songwriter. My songs are guitar based and range from acoustic folk to rock, with an edge.

Who are some of your top 5 musical influences?

I admire anyone who writes well-crafted songs from Cole Porter to many contemporary writers you hear on the radio today, in all genre. Of course, I have my preferences, writers who combine lyrics and music in a very unique way, and happen to be amazing musicians and singers, some of which are now classics: Billy Joel, Freddie Mercury, Paul McCartney, Sting…etc.

By the way, I am a big fan of Billy Idol, B.B. King, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Katy Perry, Elvis Presley, Pink, Avril Lavigne, Celine Dion, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Pat Benatar, Eric Clapton, Jay Z, Beyonce, etc… so the list is quite long and eclectic. Add to that great composers like Bach, Chopin and Listz, to name only a few, and the list of influences becomes endless.

What do you want fans to take from your music?

A lot of energy. I would like to think that anyone who listens to my songs or comes to a live performance can walk out energized and full of hope, with a desire to live life to the fullest.

How’s the music scene in your locale?

Quite vibrant, and, of course, ever changing as you can expect. I live 5 minutes away from Lincoln Center, so I get my fill of classical music fairly easily. The Upper West Side subway takes me downtown or uptown within 10 to 15 minutes. I can get to most of the clubs in less than half an hour. There’s always an opportunity to hear great live music. It’s really exciting. There is a music students’ dorm on my block. There’s always someone singing on top of their lungs in the middle of the night. I’m guessing they are coming back from rehearsal and it went well. Or from a bar, and it went just as well.

What is the best concert you have been to? What do you like most about playing live?

I went to see a group of New York singers, including one of the Roche sisters, singing Christmas carols under the arch in Washington Square Park a couple of days before Christmas. It was wonderful. Many people joined in, it was freezing cold. I had a great time. That’s what a concert should be. People coming together and singing along.

Playing live is really exciting. It’s an opportunity to communicate directly with audiences. I love a great show myself. Nothing like it. I hope to move folks the way I am moved by performers.

Is there a song on your latest CD release here that stands out as your personal favorite, and why?

They all reveal an aspect of my personality. It depends in what mood I am in. That is why I like to have variety in a record. I rank them differently and play them at a different volume level depending on how I am feeling. When I take a walk through Central Park I will listen to “Twelve on Sunday.” When I’m down in the subway I will crank up “Way Down The Road.”

How have you evolved as an artist over the last year?

I am more and more in awe of the writers and musicians I listen to. There is so much talent around us. I do my best to get better at what I do and learn from others. Hopefully I can contribute to someone’s music collection in a meaningful way.

If you could meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner, have a drink with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be?

I would probably spend the rest of my life playing, writing, eating and drinking in the condition you describe. Let’s start with Franz Liszt and go from there for all those who have passed. I would love to play guitar for Katy Perry. That would be a blast.

What’s next for you?  

Writing and recording new songs. Doing interviews. And preparing for upcoming shows.

Thank you for the opportunity and the very interesting list of questions. Thanks to all the music lovers for being out there. I am grateful when someone spends 3 to 4 minutes listening to a song of mine. Time is the most precious commodity we have as I may have mentioned. I do my best not to waste the time people grant me by striving to be the best writer, singer, and guitar player I can be. I hope you enjoy the EP.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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