Jay Elle - Singing Is A Wonderful Experience, I Find It Challenging And Rewarding For Itself, It Requires A Lot Of Dedication And Energy (Singer Songwriter From New York)

Jay Elle

Jay Elle is an acoustic rock pop singer songwriter who brings warmth and energy through diverse, well-crafted, “five star”, guitar-driven melodic songs.

 His album Ride The Wave was put on the ballot for best pop vocal album for the 2022 Grammys.

His soft inviting voice will uplift and soothe your spirits and his witty lyrics will provoke deeper thoughts about the world while sharing optimistic, positive, upbeat messages that will “have you carry on with your day with a smile”.

Jay Elle’s latest release, the 12 song album “Ride the Wave”, was recorded, mixed and produced by Caleb “kbc” Sherman (Cygnus Sound Studio).

 The album was mastered by Paul Logus (plxmastering.com). 

1.Tell us more about your background and journey.

My name is Jay Elle. I am a singer, songwriter and guitar player based in New York City. I write guitar-driven melodic pop songs, sprinkled with hints of folk, rock and Americana, among other genres, including a little bit of classical music. 

I use a nylon string guitar on a few cuts of my new album “Ride the Wave”. The songs are full of energy, passion and witty lyrics, containing hopeful and powerful messages. On some songs I go for more intimate voice and guitar arrangements. Others have a definite rocking feel to them.

I was born in the French Alps, at the border between France and Switzerland near Geneva. I attended the Conservatory of Music of Geneva where I studied voice, guitar and composition.

I played with rock and blues bands while in school. I came to New York City and dedicated myself to singing, songwriting and guitar playing. I worked with various bands and eventually started my own.

2. When did you first decide you wanted to pursue music and how did you start?

Music was always around as I was growing up. My parents had the radio on almost all the time, especially in the morning when everyone was getting ready to go to work and school.

No one in my family played an instrument other than my cousin who had a couple of guitars and played for fun. Becoming a full time musician was a bit frowned upon. Everyone knew it was a very difficult career path.

The more music I listened to, the more I discovered that I loved great songs. The songs that give you chills down your spine or goosebumps. I loved the energy I got from listening to great songs, the uplifting feeling of hope that came through for me. 

I gradually got more and more involved with music activities. Eventually, I decided to learn how to write songs to pass on that energy to others through my singing, playing and songwriting.

I played in a Champagne bar cover band while attending the Conservatory of Music in Geneva. I started a rock band with a friend of mine from the Conservatory, Alex Diambrini.

He was a great guitar player, singer and writer. He passed away from cancer at a young age, unfortunately. After graduating, he moved to L.A. where he joined a Reggae band. Because he was Italian, born in Rome, the band members used to call him a “Pastafarian”. They loved him. It was a great band. I got to see him play in L.A. That was the last time we saw each other. He taught me a lot.

3. Who is your favourite artist and why?

That is a difficult question to answer. As far as musicians, I listen to everything that comes my way. There are so many great musicians and songwriters out there. Some well-known of course and many talented folks I heard or had a chance to work with that have not reached the top of the charts, yet. I listened to every recording by Eric Clapton and Andres Segovia when I started playing guitar. I love the songwriting of Billy Joel, Freddy Mercury, Sting and Paul McCartney and many others. They’re great singers as well.

I think Elvis is a great singer. These are obviously some of the titans of the music world. I’m enjoying listening to Niall Horan and Keith Urban. I think Pink is really good. I would not be able to pin down how each of these and others specifically influenced my work though. 

They all have in one way or another. I also worked with great musicians in New York City. One of my co-writer is Margaret Dorn. She is on the Halfmoon Records and Publishing Label. Amazing writer, singer and piano player. And of course Caleb “kbc” Sherman, the producer of my new album “Ride the Wave”. Caleb did a magnificent job producing my songs. You have to listen to the album. It’s really, really good. His work is phenomenal.

And there are so many great artists in other fields of course. I am a big fan of Nina Dobrev @nina, the actress and director. I wrote a song about her on my new album “Ride The Wave”. It’s titled “Tequila Kiss.” It is getting a lot of great feedback and made it to number 19 on the Top40 Chart from  nationalradiohits.com. 

Nina is the star of The Vampire Diaries TV Series. I spent a great deal of time binging on TV shows during the pandemic lock down. I loved the show and I thought Ms. Dobrev was really, really good, playing two characters to perfection. Ms. Dobrev has a lot of energy and is very emotional. 

Always very precise and totally engaging. Then I followed her on Instagram. She does things that I would never do, like swimming with sharks and jumping off airplanes. She travels a lot. She’s definitely a daredevil. So I found myself living vicariously through her posts.

She supports great causes and loves animals. And I read that Tequila is her favorite drink. So, it inspired a song. A fun, tongue-in-cheek appreciation for Ms. Dobrev’s ability to entertain us. This fan/follower imagines getting to meet her… I don’t know if Ms. Dobrev has heard the song yet. 

We did ask her agents if she would be available to appear in the video. They said that “there is availability and we should discuss the fee”. Nothing since. Who knows…

4. Can you throw some light on opportunities one gets as a singer?

Singing is a wonderful experience. I find it challenging and rewarding for itself. It requires a lot of dedication and energy. I have to practice a lot and dedicate a lot of time to develop my abilities and sound. It requires focus and discipline. 

You have to take care of yourself mentally and physically. Your voice will reflect your state of mind and moods and won’t be as flexible if you are tired. In that respect you have an opportunity to be kinder to yourself, take care of yourself and grow on many levels.

As far as connecting with the world around you, singing is quite wonderful as well. You get to meet a lot of people and share some great moments and build lasting friendships.

But I think the most important aspect of being a singer is having a chance to entertain and make people’s life a little better, pass on some great energy to people and create wonderful musical experiences that add to their daily lives.

On the business side, being a singer is totally unpredictable as far as I am concerned. You need a lot of luck for sure.

5. Is formal training required or can one train themselves purely on the basis of talent?

Great question. We have to find our own path and try things until we find what works for us. For some it may be a very formal path. For others it may not.

I need to practice a lot. I wasn’t born with great talents. Everything I know I had to learn. And I learn more and more every day.

I was lucky to study with some wonderful teachers. There are so many in New York City. Whether it’s vocal or guitar technique, you need to sharpen your skills as much as possible. 

A great teacher can really understand where you are in your development and what you want to achieve and create a path towards reaching your goals. More so than just practicing some scales. 

It’s important that teachers understand you as an artist and take the time to tailor exercises to your needs. Most recently I studied with Matthew Johnson at New York Vocal Coaching, Inc. He is excellent.


6. What piece of advice would you like to give to future and aspiring artists?

Never, ever take “no” for an answer.

You are going to hear “no” non-stop, for the rest of your life, no matter what level of success you might enjoy along the way. You are going to experience rejection after rejection. It’s impossible to avoid being rejected. No matter what you do in life. 

Find what makes you happy and stick with it. Rejection is a normal part of life. I reject 99.9% of the products in my local super market. The shelves are full of products from successful, world renowned brands. I still reject them every time, simply because I buy the few things I need or like. 

Your music is bound to be rejected by most. There is no point in trying to convince a classical music lover that he or she should switch to listening to Rock & Roll and nothing else. It’s not about converting everyone or even a percentage of the folks you run into. 

It’s about finding the people who appreciate music the way you make it. There are many people who love music but cannot make it for themselves. If you make the music they love to listen to they'll be grateful. It’s not easy to find your crowd, your audience. 

And it starts with not being deterred by folks who say “no, not for me”. Learn to deal with rejection. It’s no fun to be rejected. It will always “pinch” for sure. But it’s bound to happen. You may as well get used to it.

Also, let your imagination run wild. “Imagination rules the world” Napoleon Bonaparte. Combine that with “You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm” Colette.

Letting your imagination run and approaching life with enthusiasm is a very powerful combination. Dream big and throw everything you’ve got behind making your dreams come true.

In my case, I made a big leap across the Atlantic Ocean to pursue my dream of making music. I left all of my family and childhood friends behind, learned a new language, etc. 

I kept imagining the outcome I wanted and put as much energy and enthusiasm into making my dreams come true. Of course, there are no guarantees and most of the time you will need to readjust your plans. But from the moment you get up until you go back to bed, keep thinking “Enthusiasm, enthusiasm, enthusiasm…”


7. Which is your favourite book and why?

There are a few. I enjoy fiction books of course. I like to read Agatha Christie’s murder mystery books among others.

But I have a list of business books that I find very helpful as well. I think it is important to learn as much as you can about yourself and what makes you happy. Some of the books I like that have helped me are “Self-Defeating Behaviors: Free Yourself from the Habits, Compulsions, Feelings, and Attitudes That Hold You Back” (Milton Cudney and Robert Hardy), “Trading in the Zone” (Mark Douglas) and “The Disciplined Trader: Developing Winning Attitudes” (Mark Douglas).

I believe we do react pretty consistently to the world around us because we adopt habits along the way and they become part of who we are. These habits work for us and we rely on them to respond to challenges day in and day out. 

The trick is to take the time to uncover these habits and learn to control them. In some instances, you are better off doing something differently than you would normally.

I am an introvert, without a doubt. I’d rather spend my time in a cool, dimly lit studio with my guitar than interact with folks. But that’s not how you get to meet people who can help you reach your goals. 

Interviewed by - Deepshikha


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