Jul 17, 2020
From the tales of emo-rap comes a new music video and EP release for “No, I’m Not Ok” from Jay-Way.
The titular track from his newly released EP, “No, I’m Not Okay” creates an ode subsequent to the signature alternative-punk bass pioneered by that of Green Day, NOFX, and Sum 41, however the EP explores so much more. The Dutch artist turned to music as a way to battle his depression – suitably titling the album.
Lyrics from the pre-chorus “No one wants to know/ Why I’m miserable/ I know that it shows/ It’s like looking at a ghost” gives us a taste of the artist’s inner turmoil. A struggle with his demons that leave a shell of his former identity, comparing himself with the transparency and emptiness of a ghost. This body of work can’t be summed up through one single. The artist even says in an instagram post, “please don’t run to your favorite snippet but listen to the entire project with patience, I promise it’ll make more sense.”
This EP follows his 2016 single “Happen Dappen” which surpassed 2.4 million streams through Spotify, leading Jay to signing a record deal. Now, from the EP follows this interview with the artist himself! Keep reading to find out the message behind the record and the pivotal moment that led him to pursue music.
1. Tell us about your new EP “No, I’m Not OK.” How long have you been writing it? Is there a message you want to send with it?
The first song I wrote for the EP was “Keeping On.” I wrote that in the summer of 2018. I wrote the last song “Like Quintana” in January this year. The message of the EP is that it’s ok to not to be ok. I had to realize that. It may not always feel like it, but there’s always hope.
2. What is your most meaningful song to you off of the project?
I think “Hometown Blues.” I wrote that during the process of moving out of my momma’s house. That was a huge step. It was a bit emotional but also motivating. “Hometown Blues” really captures everything.
3. How did your creative process for the EP develop?
It was a lyrical exercise for me. I’d wake up and head straight to the studio. Twelve-hour sessions. It didn’t feel intense though. I had so much fun with the team I wrote the songs with. Shout out to Dayme, Anton Göransson, and Isabella Sjostrand. This process developed my songwriting and sound. We definitely challenged each other.
4. What is a question you wish you got asked more?
(Smiles) Definitely a question about cartoons.
5. In a world where everyone has a platform, how do you differentiate yourself from your peers?
I think it’s my purpose. I understand that people will categorize this project as “emo.” Thing is, I’m open about my personal struggles with anxiety and depression. The difference between me and some emo rappers is that I don’t glorify drug use. My music gives people hope which is what empowered me during my journey. It’s ok to not be ok but you don’t have to stay there.
6. Give us a glimpse into your musical upbringing. Who or what initially influenced your passion for music?
Definitely my dad. Many people don’t know that my dad was a DJ, so growing up I was hip to so many genres of music. I used to gaze at all the vinyl and CDs in his collection.
7. Was there a pivotal moment that made you realize you wanted to pursue music full-time?
I used to work at a powder factory and I got to a point where I hated it (laughs). I released my first EP in November 2015, then realized I wanted to devote all of my time to my music career, so I quit that same week.
8. Do you have any other projects you want to plug?
A single I released in 2017 called “Hideout.” The track and music video are masterpieces. I hope people can realize that. Shout out to my childhood friends (Amartey and Lola Luna) that are featured on the song.
- Photographer Sebastian Boon @segraphy