JYAY takes raps in­ter­na­tional

Look­ing ahead to Euro­pean tour, up­com­ing projects

The Compass - - Front page - BY CHRIS LEWIS chris.lewis@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Rap­per JYAY, orig­i­nally from Car­bon­ear, has re­cently taken his beats and rhymes to other coun­tries by tour­ing with fel­low Cana­dian hip-hop artists.

JYAY, a rap­per from Car­bon­ear, con­tin­ues to put New­found­land and Labrador on the map in the hip hop world

Jeremy How­ell, known by many by his stage name JYAY, has been putting in the work to pur­sue his pas­sion for mu­sic over the last cou­ple years. Since first de­cid­ing to pur­sue rap mu­sic in 2016, he’s made a name for him­self not only in the prov­ince, but the coun­try, and is even pick­ing up fans over­seas in places like Copen­hagen, Den­mark.

How­ell orig­i­nally spoke with The Com­pass in 2017 about his hip hop en­deav­ours. At that time, he was pre­par­ing a joint project with fel­low New­found­land mu­si­cian OG Simp­son ti­tled Pro­gres­sion, a five-track ex­tended play.

Since then, How­ell has gone on to work with some big names in the Cana­dian hip hop scene in­clud­ing Merkules and Rob the Viking, a pro­ducer and mem­ber of Cana­dian rap col­lec­tive Swollen Mem­bers.

On top of that, he’s got­ten the chance to share his mu­sic out­side the prov­ince, join­ing in on some coun­try-wide tours, as well as some trips to Europe, where he joined with Merkules to tour over­seas on more than one oc­ca­sion.

This year, he re­leased an­other EP ti­tled 10/87. This one fea­tures Juno-nom­i­nated rap­per Ghet­tosocks, as well as five-time West Coast Mu­sic Award Nom­i­nee Evil Ebenezer.

How­ell’s work with Evil Ebenezer and Rob the Viking will also be com­ing to­gether for an­other up­com­ing EP.

“I learned a ton in those four days,” How­ell said of the op­por­tu­nity to work with Rob the Viking, whose work with Swollen Mem­bers can be traced back to 2001. “That was re­ally cool. We ac­tu­ally just re­leased the third sin­gle from that EP a few days ago. All three of those sin­gles made na­tional Spo­tify playlists, which in­cludes all types of mu­sic from across Canada – there’s only about 70 songs that make that list, so that was re­ally cool.”

On top of that, the sin­gles also made it to the North­ern Bars playlist, which fea­tures the top 100 hip hop tracks in Canada.

When it comes to num­bers, How­ell says he’s a mix of proud and ex­cited to see his views and lis­tens con­tin­u­ing to grow as the weeks go by, hav­ing just re­cently broke a com­bined au­dio streams and mu­sic video views count of 1,000,000, as well as 400,000 streams on Spo­tify alone.

“It was re­ally, re­ally in­ter­est­ing to see those num­bers re­ally go up in the last lit­tle while. That’s def­i­nitely one of my big­gest ac­com­plish­ments, record­ing-wise, this year,” he said, at­tribut­ing his suc­cess to the col­lab­o­ra­tive work he’d done with Evil Ebenezer.

One thing that hasn’t changed with JYAY’s ap­proach to mu­sic since 2017, how­ever, is his busi­ness mind­set. He says net­work­ing and keep­ing in con­stant com­mu­ni­ca­tion with peo­ple within the in­dus­try is what’s help­ing him stay afloat in the mu­sic world.

“When I go out on tour, say for ex­am­ple with Merkules, I’m reach­ing out ahead of time and let­ting peo­ple know that we’re com­ing to their city, es­pe­cially peo­ple like pro­mot­ers and stuff like that,” he ex­plained. “Even right now I’m still keep­ing up with busi­ness re­la­tion­ships I made while we were over­seas, set­ting things up for next year’s fes­ti­vals and tours.

“I think that’s the big­gest thing any mu­si­cian needs to fo­cus on – net­work­ing, and stay­ing pro­fes­sional. Sure, you can go out and get drunk and party ev­ery night, but then you wake up the next morn­ing like, ‘OK, what did I do last night, where are the peo­ple who are gonna help me out and get me where I wanna be?’”

Hav­ing toured with Evil Ebenezer and Merkules a number of times so far this year, How­ell has now toured in over 10 dif­fer­ent coun­tries, stat­ing that the op­por­tu­nity to open for Merkules in Europe was not only an un­for­get­table ex­pe­ri­ence in and of it­self, but a per­fect chance for him to pro­mote his own sounds to a brand new au­di­ence, in an en­tirely dif­fer­ent con­ti­nent.

As for the fu­ture, How­ell says he’s work­ing hard to en­sure his project with Evil Ebenezer is re­leased in early Jan­uary of 2019, as well as book­ing more shows and fes­ti­vals in Europe. One of his big­ger goals, though, is to be­gin work on his first ful­l­length al­bum.

“We’re fi­nal­iz­ing some de­tails on my first full al­bum. We haven’t started the record­ing process, but the game plan is all set out, and I’m go­ing to be work­ing with some pretty no­table Cana­dian pro­duc­ers and artists,” he said of the project. “I can’t get into too many de­tails, but we’re work­ing on some re­ally cool stuff, and that’s def­i­nitely go­ing to be my big­gest project yet, so I have to make sure I’m ready for that.”

For those in­ter­ested in hear­ing How­ell’s songs, JYAY’s mu­sic can be found on Ap­ple Mu­sic, Spo­tify, Soundcloud, and through his own web­site at www.jyay­mu­sic.com.

“That’s def­i­nitely go­ing to be my big­gest project yet, so I have to make sure I’m ready for that.”

Jeremy How­ell

CHRIS LEWIS – THE COM­PASS

Jeremy How­ell, known by many by his stage name JYAY has been mak­ing waves in the Cana­dian hip hop world.

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