Jay Loud doesn’t describe himself as a music artist, he sees himself as “someone who’s expressing his knowledge, his pain, and how he feels.” Growing up in Indiana and having gone through his own trials and tribulations, the “Ice Cream Man” rapper relocated to Seattle after being presented with an opportunity that would change his life. Read more…
It’s crazy to think Jay only unleashed his first solo single (“Lick”) less than a year ago, but it also makes sense given his talent and versatility. Jay describes his sound as “universal,” with the ability to sing and rap while telling his personal story. Most recently, he arrived in Los Angeles to discuss everything from his forthcoming album Naptown to the importance of social media.
How’s Seattle treating you?
Seattle is beautiful. Besides the rain, because I’ve actually slept out in the rain a couple times — but the rain is beautiful. Once it clears up and the sun starts coming out, it looks beautiful. The sky is always pink or purple. Back home in Indiana, it’s just hot. When it’s cold, it’s cold. But it be hot when it’s hot.
How important is it to come to LA as an up and coming artist?
It’s more than important. It’s something serious. It’s a life changing opportunity. Like I said, it’s another opportunity so I need to take it. I’d say it’s more important than a lot of goals I have in life. It’s important because this is the only way I can reach out to those opportunities. That’s what’s going to make the dream work.
What’s your favorite part about the West Coast?
Man, everybody knows how to turn up. They know how to have fun. They really know how to get down. It’s fun.
What was the inspiration behind your name?
Honestly, it really was no inspiration behind my name. It was Jay Loud because I smoked weed and because my name is Jay. It was JJ back then, that’s all it was. Jay Loud, why not? But most people are like “Jay Loud, oh yeah he’s loud. He talks loud, he’s noisy.” [chuckles]
Talk about being homeless and the reality of the independent grind.
I had to figure out there weren’t really a lot of people who were going to be able to take me out that situation. Either I had to do it on my own or sit there and beg the person next to me, who was in the same position I was in. I’m like “nah, I gotta do it by myself.” Then I was tryna do it by myself and I found help. You gotta learn how to keep on pushing through all of the struggles.
You just unleashed the visual for “Ice Cream Man,” bring us back to that studio session.
Had Laza there, she was giving me a couple pointers on the way to come on the hook. Because I had the melody, but I didn’t have the words more so. She’s like “oh, why not do it this way? ‘Shawty fuck with me because I’m better’…” I’m like, “hmm, ‘she be coming back just like the ice cream man.’” After I did that, I’m like “oh shit!” She’s like “yeah perfect!” Boom, that’s how we set up the hook.
I needed her there for a couple pointers for real because it was a West Coast vibe. I didn’t really know how to come at West Coast vibes like that, because I was so used to doing all other types of things. Then my manager wanted something new, he introduced the beat to me like, “I need you to hop on this. I need you to do this, your voice would sound crispy!” I’m like “alright, I’ma try it.” Next thing you know, it turned out perfectly. That was one of those situations where I was just tryna have fun, dead serious.
What can we expect from your new project on October 11th?
We trying to get enough motivation behind it, trying to get enough promotion behind it. We trying to get all of that behind it.
Is there a name?
Naptown. I also combined it. Even though it’s still Naptown where I’m from, Seattle is known for The Town. People call it The Town, so I mixed that with Naptown. Because Nap is us: Indianapolis. Boom. Then on the cover, you gonna see it. It’s gonna have my city on the Nap, then on the Town it’s gonna have the Seattle part on there. It’s basically a transition from how I went from back home — I got old vibes I was feeling from back home on my album, then when I came here to how it transitioned over to a different sound.
What is it you want fans to get from your story?
Shoot, I just hope they really don’t overlook what I really got going on all because of what I’m talking about that happened to me on a personal tip. I hope that y’all just listen to my music and actually understand this is how I feel about what’s been happening. Then the stuff I’m experiencing as fun, yeah I wanna put that on a song too. I want people to know that it’s not just bad vibes and all I think about it this, I think about fun too. I put that out there too, it’s a whole bunch of fun vibes. A whole bunch of love vibes, it’s a lot.
Talk about linking with Laza on “Zoom.”
She don’t wanna be called “La-zah,” I know that for a fact! She’s born and raised in Seattle, that’s what I was notified of. This time, I came up with the hook but I didn’t know if my voice was good enough. I’m like “I know what I wanna say, but it’s not coming out right. Can you please do it?” [chuckles] She’s like “yeah I can do it, I’ma see what it sounds like.” Next thing you know, I’m like “I just wanna pull up go zoom in a whip.” But it didn’t sound right with my voice. Then she did it with her voice, I’m like “whoa, yo that’s crispy!” I’m like “alright, just go ahead do your verse after that and I’ma just go off of it.” I didn’t even write it, she didn’t even write it, we just freestyled. I will honestly say this, she has brought more sound to that song than I did. I had a verse and some catchy bridges, but that’s it. It was mostly her, I give her that credit. She really did her thing on that song.
You’re only 19. What are some goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
I want to go on tour by next year. I do want to get a big condo out here in LA, not in the hills though because there’s mudslides! [chuckles]
There’s no mud slides here. [laughs]
I’m just scared, you never know! You never know how mother nature works. I’m afraid of that so I’ma get a big condo probably somewhere in a big building ducked off. Other than that, I want to drop another album next year. I want to at least do big concerts like at Rolling Loud. Literally, Madison Square Garden. I want to do it big places in front of 2,000 people, 3,000 people. I really want to do that, sold out! I’m ready for it.
How important is social media for your career?
Social media is really important because without social media, you can’t really promote like that. That was my problem back home, I was not big on social media at all. For one, I was in a certain environment so we didn’t really focus on social media like that. We gotta focus on life, what’s going on. Once I started doing music back home, we didn’t really push it on social media. It was more promoting it in person: “aye get this mixtape, yada-yada-yada.” You already know how people gon’ feel about that. CDs, it don’t look legit. It got markers on it. Once I got down here, I actually did build a fanbase off Instagram. I got a certain fanbase from my IG and from FB. From my Facebook, I got people from back home. Without all of that, without the internet, it’d be a dry moment for good music. It’d be a drought with good music.
Who’s your favorite person to follow on IG?
That’s hard, there’s a certain few that I do like to follow. I like to follow my managers, they be posting great stuff on their stories. I got a couple local artists I’m cool with, I like following them because they be putting funny stuff on there. Memes, you know how that goes. Other than that, a famous person? Lil Tjay. I be on his IG all the time.
He got a different type of passion with his music. He got a different type of way that he makes posts. He’s not really all out there on social media but whenever he’s in the studio making a banger, he’ll give you a little snippet of it. That’s something you’d want to follow, it makes you intrigued. When he first came out with a new song off his new album, he had dropped a video where he was getting arrested — that was it. It had a couple of his lyrics in the background. Not actually him rapping, just his backing vocals and the adlibs. Next thing you know, they end the video. I don’t know how many views it got on there, I gotta look it up, but that hit so many views because all they seen was him getting put on a police car. It was just an image he showed, but only for a certain amount of time. Who wouldn’t follow somebody like that?
What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
I just be so humble. I talk a lot too, so I be in my zone. Either I talk a lot or I’m tryna write music. I’m tryna come up with a different melody every single day, or I’m literally tryna be around my people. If not around my people, then I’m tryna at least go over somebody’s house and just chill. Besides that, I’m thinking of new ideas as far as the future when it comes to what I want to invest in. I be thinking about that but I don’t tell nobody, except my managers.
What do you want to invest in?
I want to invest in my own t-shirts. I want to invest in that little neck brace thing, I’ma put my own slogan on there. Because I got “Jay Loud in the cut” as my slogan, so I’ma have him peeking out the corner. Boom!
3 things you need in the studio?
I need water. I need a chair, because sometimes I sit when I sing. Instead of rapping because when I rap, I’ll stand. The third… I gotta have something to snack on. It’s literally gonna be pizza. We order a pizza, afterwards I got a little piece to snack on. I might pick a couple pepperonis off the pizza, just something to snack on.
What’s the best encounter you had with a fan?
We were at a festival, it was the Bite in Seattle. There was this guy, he knew my co-manager Papa Black first. As soon as he saw me, he’s like “I already know who you is, you Jay Loud. I’ve been watching you” It was so casual. Because most people either don’t know me or they’re too dramatic with knowing me. They’re like “oh yeah, I like your music!!” I’m like “damn alright, I guess people do be paying attention to me.” It don’t be on no fan shit like “aw yeah, who’s this? I gotta see who he is!” It’s more like “this dude’s dope. I see what he’s doing, I see the people behind him. I know the people behind him, it’s dope.” That was something different, he actually knew.
How does you fanbase here compare to Indy and Seattle?
Indianapolis is a small city so regardless of what I say, regardless of how I think, regardless of how many people supporting me from back home, it’s never going to be over the number in Seattle. Indianapolis for one, it’s only West side and East side that’s really in tune with me as a person, even in life. When it comes to music, it’s only a certain amount of few. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot. It’s probably 50, 50 or a lil plus. But here, it’s a lot of people because I’m growing out of here and this is where started the big base at. I can only expect for this to be bigger than back home. Once this gets bigger, the people from back home keep showing love, spreading it throughout the city and throughout the States, we can overcome all the numbers together.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
I’d be doing stuff that wasn’t smart. Just unsmart things. I would have to be really, really put in a good situation if I wasn’t doing music to not be doing the dumb things. [chuckles] I would be working a job at Mcdonalds still, tryna get my apartment and all of that. While doing that, I’d be doing dumb things. I know for a fact. With the music, it gives me a way to outlet everything that I feel inside, even from the past. Everything that haunts me from my past with family issues and all of that. So without music in general, I would be crazy. I’d be a little mental for real. Whenever I’m feeling some type of way, I’ll start singing out of nowhere or I’ll start rapping just to get it off my chest.
Anything else you want to let us know?
The album drops October 11th, stay tuned to what I got coming afterwards. October 5th, I’m opening for Ice Cube in Arizona. It’s gon’ be big, we’re going to make sure I get as much love as I can. We gon’ make sure it goes down. Besides that, “Ice Cream Man” is out, “Lick” is out, “Zoom” is out. Ya’ll can spin that until everything else drops.