Artist, wordsmith, and philanthropist, Jay Dot Rain, is one of the most well rounded artists bursting through Atlanta’s musical arena. As a kid, Jay began to unconventionally build his craft from the ground up, starting with writing ‘romantic’ poetry and interning with Slow Motion Soundz. Only after receiving his degree from Alabama A&M did he hone in on his artistry and move to Atlanta to begin his professional career, where he soon became a member on Tha Cool Club starting line up. Countless projects in music, philanthropy, and media later, Jay Dot Rain is being honored as the very first 2018 Artists We Luv for his stand-out attitude, and well-rounded talents.
Shortly before this interview, Jay was invited out for a day of service with Redan High School. While there, Jay spoke with a group of young, impressionable students about the gravity of their words as it relates to english, music, and career advancement. After speaking with the students, Jay reflected on the inspiration they unknowingly provided him to be a greater role model and influence within his community. This is only one of the many philanthropic acts he’s done, many can be seen through the snapshots captured on his Instagram, @JayDotRain.
Could you tell us about what has driven you to be so philanthropic? Well my mom taught me about philanthropic endeavors and giving back.
What else do you learn from her? She always taught me to be myself. “Cream gone rise to the top”. She alway gives good game.
What are some other pivotal things you’ve heard that keep you going? Well in 2015, Quentin (@QuentinMiller__) was performing in New York. So, Quetin, Cam (@CoachCam1317), and I all went up there for it. While I was there Jay-Z performed and I happened to be backstage when he finished. When he got off stage he asked everyone how was the set, and so yelled to him “That shit was fire!” He came over and we got the chance to talk for moment. He told me keep going, and that was all I needed to hear.
So, what is it that you want ‘JayDotRain’ to be known for? Being a hard worker and setting the standard. “I want to be on the Mount Rushmore of Alabama”.
Jay began to reflect on the lack of industry development that has taken place in his hometown of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Yet he reminds me there is no shortage on talent. He cites artists such as Doe B, Translee, Lil Nardy, OMB Peezy, The Alabama Shakes & newcomer YBN Nahmir, who give him inspiration to set the stage for Alabama’s music scene.
Tell us about what’s been on your mind. Any concerns, any stress? Just recording. Sometimes I’ll have the studio but won’t able to make anything, just ‘cause I don’t feel it. So then I feel like I don’t record as much as I should, but I’m not gonna force it. Some days, I’m still uncertain, even though I know it’s on the way.
Tell me about your responsibilities. What are you obligations? Family -- They’re my responsibility.
Jay is an only child in a single-mother household, and like many of us, taking care of them is his first priority. He speaks incredibly of the light, warmth, and drive his mother instilled in him from a young age.
Tell me about your personal relationship with music growing up. When I was in the 6th grade, I starting playing the Tuba. I always played instruments. So when I graduated, I got a Marching Band scholarship. And, I used to write poems. You know like love poems, and poems for a girl. Then one day I was in a cypher at school and somebody told me to spit one of poems as a joke. But I did and it was fye. Everybody was cheering and clapping, then I was like I can really do this.
So, is that around the time you started taking music as a profession seriously? Not just yet, this was early in high school. I started making music then, and taking it seriously a couple years later. That’s when I really started making full projects though. Then later I started performing at different showcases around Alabama.
Tell me about going from Alabama to Atlanta and your pursuit of a music career. I went to a show in Birmingham, and ScottyAtl was performing. I knew who he was and I really liked his music already, so of course I wanted to record with him. After he got off stage, I talked to him and basically told him, I wanted to work with him. He told me to holler at his manager, and manager just told me “Just email me, we’ll set something up”, you know regular industry BS. It actually wasn’t until later that mutual friend and producers, hooked me and ScottyATL up together. We began making music together and working with each other. Recording and doing shows. I’d be going from Alabama to Atlanta every weekend for shows. I was in Atlanta all the time. He offered me a lot of little shows, wasn’t nobody really coming out but it helped me learn. And I’d always tell him, I was tired of them and I could perform on the larger stages he was on, but he’d remind me just to stay down for the large ones, they were coming.
So how did your relationship with Scotty ATL bloom into you becoming apart of the Cool Club (@thacoolclub). It was gradual. We’d always worked together, and he taught me alot. He provided me with all those shows and that taught me resilience. Once he helped me learn about the city, make connections, and even see what tour was like. So, naturally when I was offered the chance to sign with the Cool Club, I was excited about joining them officially.
What is ‘Tha Cool Club’? The Cool Club is a label and brand. They’re are 3 artists, a chef, line of jewelry, and label.
Jay speaks on the nuances and associated stigma of being signed to another artist. However, he relishes in the fact that he has been able to maintain creative control over all of his work, yet experience and advance to new heights under the great leadership and camaraderie at his label, the Cool Club. @TheCoolClub consists of him, Scotty ATL (@ScottyAtl), and Kissie Lee (@IamKissieeLee).
What’s the biggest misconception about being an artist? That it’s easy. You can’t just buy equipment and make music. Doesn’t work like that, there’s no such thing as overnight success. Even Lil Yachty wasn’t it just seems like it publicly, but he was working for a long time first.
Being in the studio is like … It’s my safe haven. I can be my most vulnerable, and forget all the pressure. I like to record with the same people so we’ve built a close knit relationship and understanding.
Who is apart of this close knit studio relationship? Nate Coop (Engineer) (Producer), BlockBeataz (Producers), and Jayell (Producer) (Producer/Engineer).
When I perform I feel like … I feel like the man, I have everyone’s attention. Sometimes when I go on stage, I forget the words. I think that’s just my anxiety though.
What’s the most rewarding part of being artist? What makes it all worth it? Accomplishing the goals I said I would. Getting recognition on your work is nice, too. Like once before, I was featured in Complex for a project that I’d just released. I didn’t even know either, I was in class and randomly saw it. I was freaking out, I was so excited. I told everyone about it.
What are we looking for next? I’m working on lots of new material. I’m doing some writing for a few people as well so just expect that along with a bunch of content first and second quarter 2018.
For more insights into Jay Dot Rain and his projects, follow his on Instagram, Twitter, and Soundcloud @JayDotRain, and visit his website http://www.jaydotrain.com/