We speak with jaye on his new single, which is based on a real-life situation involving his wife.
Bittersweet and gossamer delicate, versatile artist jaye (or Jaye Foo) releases his latest single, ‘Stay up till I sleep’. The song is a product of his bout with insomnia and how it affected his wife on the many nights she stayed up with him until he fell asleep.
Produced by Tat Tong, the track’s Billie Eilish and Khalid-esque production trajects an updraft of trudging piano keys that are routinely rained out by arpeggiated dewdrop harps, sonically mirroring jaye’s internal turmoil.
While jaye cherished her presence on his many sleepless nights, out of love, she spoke none about her troubles, longing for slumber, and suffered in silence. As she skipped meals and formed unhealthy habits, jaye bore into himself with blame and self-loathing. In his darkest moments, sleepless and inebriated with caffeine, jaye retreated to his studio, awakening the song with the lyrics “It’s all my fault”. Ultimately, introspection led to jaye’s conclusion that “Insomnia was not the main problem, the main problem was not working together as a team”.
Appropriately starring him and his wife, Nicholette Pang, the aforementioned struggles are reflected in the single’s accompanying music video. References to his previous releases are flickered throughout the video, from the ‘TOMORROW’ poster to the ‘DEJAVU’ mug, hinting at the unfolding of a larger story of the jaye universe.
Beyond music, jaye’s ventures into other forms of creation are limitless. He is the founder of creative hubs both abroad and locally, The Parlour Singapore, The Parlour Seoul and The Music Parlour. Last Halloween, jaye also made inroads into game creation with a PC adaptation of his debut single titled, ‘Tomorrow the Game’, as well as an interactive game-like music video for ‘ADHD’ accompanied by an IG filter game titled: ‘ADHD by jaye funk’. More recently, jaye is embarking on his most audacious endeavour yet, making a music-driven animated short.
For jaye, it appears creation naturally coincides with connection and contribution, as jaye’s endeavours have consistently aimed to uplift other communities, especially during times of crisis. From his merch lines to his businesses, his effort to highlight mental health issues and support causes for good is truly remarkable.
jaye’s music has been nothing short of raw, cutting and explorative of his personal relationships and trials, resounding in the hearts of his fans. jaye continues to pursue his career in a myriad of areas, from music to gaming, and as a fashion influencer-duo, Mr & Mrs Funk, with, you guessed it, his wife! Looking forward, keep a lookout for jaye’s 2021 EP with one-of-a-kind renditions of some of the 30s-60s classics we know and love.
Your creative releases appear to follow a plot line. How does the newest addition, “Stay up till I sleep”, further this story?
My music videos all tell separate stories in alternate realities within the jaye universe.
What/Who are your musical inspirations, and how do you think they are reflected in your songs?
I write songs when I am sad or angry, so those emotions inspire me to express myself. It’s music therapy.
You started out as a music artist but have now branched out to other mediums, such as film, fashion, gaming and soon enough, animation. What motivates you to continue creating?
I love giving my listeners new ways to experience my music.
There is no doubt how painfully raw you are in your songs. How do you translate your emotions and thoughts to paper and then music? Is this creative process also similar for other mediums?
I usually treat my studio sessions like counselling. I pour out everything onto paper and those words are put together to make lyrics and finally, into song.
How do you juggle your businesses and creative projects?
I have skilled partners that help run operations and systems that help automate tasks.
Through your endeavours, you seem to emphasise connection, healing and contributing back to the community. How and why are these aspects important to you?
My parents are extremely caring and giving, and noticing the positive impact they have on others really motivates me to do the same.
How have your travels and experiences abroad influenced your works? Has returning to Singapore provided a shift in perspective?
Because of my travels, I have collected a mirage of experiences, both good and bad. These stories easily translate to song. Upon returning to Singapore, I found new appreciation in the safety we enjoy in this country.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your creative process?
The pandemic has forced me to think out of the box even further and find new ways to reach my audience digitally.
Looking back on your journey so far, how can you say you have grown as an artist or person?
I am now brave enough to express and share all that I am as I am now comfortable in my own skin.
What advice do you have for young Singaporeans who want to start creating and making a change?
Always work from within. Work on yourself before working on others. With a strong mind and body, you can make bigger change in the world.