Artist Interview: Willie Jae


1. Why have you decided to return to the music industry?

My return was decided the same way most decisions are, the numbers lined up, the time was right.

2. In 2003 you became the first unsigned artist to reach a million downloads/streams. How do you feel about the RIAA finally certifying downloads and streams?

That is a major step for the music industry in general. It evens the playing field for successful Indie artist, and also creates more opportunities for artist who are not as excepted commercially to finally be recognized for their achievements.

3. It has been 10 years since you began ghostwriting, how much has changed in music since you began?

Everything seems to have changed, In 2003 Hip Hop was commercial but it isn’t what it is now. Now Hip hop is the new Pop, when you watch TV or a movie you might hear more Hip Hop in the background than any other genre.

4. Is your music still relevant?

I think music is hard to become irrelevant, unless the words are irrelevant. For example, a love song from the 40’s is still a love song; the music from the Motown Era is still being recycled over and over again because of the quality of the material.

5. How have you matured as a writer and artist since your debut in 2003?

Well when I first began writing professionally I was 16 still in High School, now I’m 26, so my music has evolved and matured in a way that reflects my experiences.

6. Tell us about your current or upcoming music project?

I have a mix tape coming out at the end of the summer and as of now the Album is dropping in December.

7. Who do you have featured (artists or producers) on your project?

I have all the hottest unsigned artist and producers of the year featured on my album. I have Razon, (@razonmusic), she’s the hottest thing in the West right now so I have her all over the Album, so shout out to her and the whole West Coast Team (@bmikerob). I have a surprise feature from one of “The Voice” finalist, I have a “Who’s Who” of underground/Indie Super Producers lined up, I don’t even know where to start. I have Main Event West, Sinima, Evelution, The Unbeatables, and DJ Naydee. There are actually so many people on the Album we have been debating on whether or not to just make it a Mix-Tape showcase lol

8. Who would you like to work with that you haven’t already (Whether signed or unsigned)?

Well I still haven’t had a chance to work with everyone on Rocnation yet, so I would start there. A verse from Jay-Z and Kanye, out-side of the Roc? I would have to say…. Mary J. Blige, Lauryn Hill, Remy Ma when she gets out, India Arie, Erika Badu, R.Kelly, Kelly Rowland, and of course any Jersey artist, Treach, Red, Latifah, and any talented unsigned artist. I’m all about making good music, not really the name behind it because “everybody’s nobody until somebody makes them somebody”, just quoted myself….

9. What is your favorite song on your current or upcoming project and why?

I have a couple favorites….so far my favorites are “I Miss You” “Insecurities” “Hardway” and “Do you think?”

10. Your topics tend to be very introspective, is that on purpose?

My goal is to make music with a meaning, there is enough music out that has no meaning and no purpose so I try not to add to that.

11. Is there pressure for your album to be successful since it’s your comeback album?

Well I don’t know if anyone is expecting much from an artist who hasn’t released a record in 5 years, so if anything I feel a lack of pressure.

12. What sets you apart from other artists in your genre?

I saw the XXL class of 2013 and the difference between me and the majority of the artist in my genre is that I have the advantage of being here before, this is a return not a debut, so I know all the rules and have already played this game. A million downloads when most these guys were in High School or Middle School says I played it pretty well. When everyone was running home to play Xbox I was writing records and already getting paid.

13. What changes, if any, would you like to see from the music industry in the next three years?

More recognition for Independent artist on larger platforms, like the Grammy’s and MTV awards.

14. In four words; describe music today?

Ratchet, Turn Up, Molly

15. Is that a Song?

Yeah, it’s a hilarious parody about the state of music today, sad but true.

16. What’s the biggest challenge for Indie artist right now?

Exposure and differentiating yourself from the competition.

17. What does music mean to you?

Music is the voice of the soul; it has the ability to change a mood for the better or worse. It helps people get through rough times and celebrate the good times.

18. What advice would you give another artist/group looking to succeed in this game?

Work hard and perfect your craft.

19. What can we expect from you in the future?

“Yall should be afraid of what Im gonna do next”

20. Do you have any shout outs you’d like to give?

Yeah, Definetly,shout out to Rocnation and StaRoc, shout out to  my whole team, @jaebtundra, @razonmusic @bmikerob, everyone who featured on the album, and everyone who has been contacting me about pre-ordering the album and album 2 before it even comes out lol

21. Is this going to be a Dr. Dre thing, one Album every 10 years?

No I already have 4 albums completed plus the 3 re-releases that were never mainstream so as of right now that’s 7 albums plus any mixtapes I drop, but right now I just want to focus on the success of the first Album.

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Artist Interview: Willie Jae
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