By Evan Solochek + Photo by Dan Kocka
With Robert Smith hair and a smooth yet commanding baritone that evokes a maturity and polish beyond his young age, Jayk is poised for big things. His debut album, everything ever, will be released any minute now, and yet Jayk has already landed a sponsorship deal with DC Shoes, toured the country from coast to coast and appeared on MTV2 and Fuel TV; not bad for a 22-year-old kid from West Bend. To hear more from Jayk, check out www.myspace.com/thatjaykwhosings.
1. What are your musical influences?
I’ve always really appreciated the bands that I thought were great at writing lyrically as well as musically: Death Cab for Cutie, Rachael Yamagata, Tegan and Sara, City & Colour, Decibully… Most recently, Imogen Heap has really struck a chord with me. There is a side of me that still loves metal and hardcore too.
2. What was your earliest experience with music?
Both my parents were involved with the church choir when I was very young; my father played the guitar and my mother sang. My dad was very much a jazz/blues guy, but he definitely had a lot of great classic rock albums. The first album I ever got into was a Yes album my dad kept in his collection. I remember being about 5 years old and I would sit in front of the record player and listen to “Roundabout” over and over.
The first real show I did was opening for Since By Man and Misery Signals. Apparently the original opener dropped off, and I was really worried that no one would like me. These were hardcore bands, for Christ’s sake, and I’m pretty much the furthest thing from it. I played like 5 songs and got the shakes really bad, but I got through it and with a very good response from the crowd.
4. How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it?
I’ve heard myself compared to many things I like (Jeff Buckley, City & Colour) and many things I dislike (Jason Mraz, Howie Day, even Ryan Cabrera). I like to let everyone make their own assumptions about what they think they hear. I play guitar and I sing. To me, I sound like me.
5. Where were you a year ago, and where do you see yourself this time next year?
A year ago I was a struggling, inexperienced kid chasing what seemed like the impossible – no job and barely a roof over my head. Although I am now making giant steps in my career, it will always be a struggle to consistently create great music and keep everybody’s ears tuned in. By next year I hope to have settled with a record label that I am comfortable with, and be writing and recording more than I currently am; I’ve got a lot yet to say. VS