Jilly pretty much came out of the womb singing, dancing, and entertaining the masses since she can remember.
Speaking on her roots, Jilly states, “The best thing is always reppin’ your city. I rep my city hard, not just because, but it’s really who I am. It’s where I’m from. Honestly, it’s the epitome of Jilly. It’s where it all started. For me, H-town will always be home. I’ll always rep it.”
Having released single after single throughout her career, the actress, recording artist, and entrepreneur is excited as ever to have finally unveiled her highly-anticipated debut project titled COPY & Paste.
The title speaks for itself: Jilly being the blueprint for a lot of these upcoming artists who fail to give her her credit — while showcasing her true passion and talents for her craft.
AllHipHop: You’re originally from Texas, right?
Jilly: Absolutely, Houston to be specific. You gotta say Houston, there’s a difference. H-town!
AllHipHop: Houston is lit lit.
Jilly: Yes, absolutely. Houston is the city of Texas, yes. [laughs] Call me bias, but that’s what it is.
AllHipHop: People say their records really take off because of the Houston nightlife scene.
Jilly: Yeah, the best thing is always reppin’ your city. I rep my city hard, not just because, but it’s really who I am. It’s where I’m from. Honestly, it’s the epitome of Jilly. It’s where it all started. For me, H-town will always be home. I’ll always rep it, definitely.
AllHipHop: Did you grow up on the chopped and screwed movement?
Jilly: Yes, absolutely. Shout out to all the Houston legends. Slim Thug, Lil Keke, we got Z-Ro, everybody. Paul Wall, “let me see ya grill!” I could go on for days.
AllHipHop: I know Destiny’s Child was big for you…
Jilly: Oh come on now, I was the #1 Destiny’s Child fan. I’m from Houston so I grew on them before they were mainstream. I literally went to every Destiny’s Child concert growing up, every Beyonce concert. I’m a huge, huge Beyonce fan.
AllHipHop: Favorite Destiny’s Child song?
Jilly: “Soldier.” “I need a soldier!” [sings]
AllHipHop: When did you start doing music?
Jilly: Actually, early on. The stage was always my second home. I started doing competitive dance the second I could walk. I was two years old, my mom and dad put me in dance. That’s when I fell in love with the stage. Shortly after in middle school, I started taking vocal lessons and started doing cover videos. I started covering Drake songs, Rihanna songs, Beyonce, Destiny’s Child songs.
Really early on around 16 is when I started doing original music. After that, I said “No, I really can do this. This is really what I do.” It’s so funny because people think now that Instagram is mainstream and I blew up on there, they’re like, “Oh wait, now you do music?” No, I’ve been doing music. I’m actually now coming back to my roots.
AllHipHop: Did you take a break?
Jilly: Yeah I did, not gonna lie. I took a two-year hiatus off of music and really focused on acting and entrepreneurship. I built my business which is Boss Babe by Jilly, which I’m grateful for. I have a cookbook that’s out, a perfume line. But nothing makes me as happy as making music and my art.
AllHipHop: Have you been independent this whole time?
Jilly: I have. You know, it’s been amazing. I’m so grateful that I’ve gotten to as far as I can get and I’m expanding my team as we speak. Right now, it’s all about timing. Perfect place, perfect time. Finding those people who can believe in you just as much as you believe in yourself. Now, sky’s the limit.
AllHipHop: You just released your first project COPY & Paste, how are you feeling?
Jilly: Amazing! I’m so excited about it. I love it. This is my first body of work. All this time, all these years, I’ve put out singles. I’ve only put out singles. This is my first time putting out a body of work. It’s starting to really showcase more of Jilly as the artist. That’s what I’m most excited about, is people really finally hearing more of Jilly
AllHipHop: What inspired the title?
Jilly: COPY & Paste, no joke! I see a lot of me being the inspo to a lot of people and not getting credit. I don’t look for the credit, but you know how when you know? Okay, I definitely did that first. I’m setting these trends so you know what? I’ma subtly do it. It’s COPY & Paste because everything I do, it gets copy and pasted. So let me keep making more COPY & Paste. No pun intended, but very pun intended.
AllHipHop: I know you work with some dope producers on the project.
Jilly: Yes! Shout out to Lil Rich, shout out to Lab Ox. I’ve been so blessed to work with such great creative people. I’m blessed to have them on my side because at the end of the day, that relationship becomes family. It really becomes family. All that time spent in the studio, really getting intimate as far as talking about personal stuff, you can’t fake that. You can’t. It’s definitely a blessing to have such close relationships with such talented people.
AllHipHop: 3 things you need in the studio at all times?
Jilly: My Essentia water. Shout out to Essentia, I need a deal. I need my Red Bull, and I need my gummy bears.
AllHipHop: What kind of gummy bears?
AllHipHop: I like Black Forest!
Jilly: I got put it on to Black Forest just a few months ago. They’re really good, but I’ve been a Harribo person my whole life.
AllHipHop: The “Like That” music video hit over a million views in just 5 days. How did that feel?
Jilly: That felt amazing. It was one of those moments where it was hard work really paying off. The craft and the art that I love so much, it radiated. It was so incredible. I’m so excited for the next video and to see all of them — the next one I want to hit 2 million in 2 days. The sky’s the limit, it just feels great. For me, I never settle. What’s next? How can we get more in 5 days? What’s the next step? So it’s only the beginning. It was such an incredible milestone, but now I’m ready for the next one.
AllHipHop: That video looked fun as hell. What was the best memory and where did you shoot it at?
Jilly: Ooh, the best memory. I shot in Houston, shout out to my director Karter K, right behind the camera right now. That was a long day! It was a day that you’ll never be able to tell on camera, but it didn’t even go as planned. We were supposed to be at a whole other location four or five hours prior, we lost all that time. The shoot was supposed to be done at 7pm or 8pm? We didn’t even end until 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning. It definitely went way over time.
But every time I shoot a music video, it’s such an amazing experience, I wouldn’t change anything for the world. People who I worked with, the choreographer I worked with Whylan, the dancers who I had on set, just the whole team. Everybody understands the vision, that’s the best thing. People who I work with, work just as hard as me. That’s so so important because I don’t play about my craft. I need people around me who see the vision just as much, that was the most incredible part. That was a whole new team of people I worked with on a music video. I had never worked with those people video-wise, it was a different aura. Just completely different, I loved it. I loved every single minute of it, and the video came out so amazing!
AllHipHop: Do you do all the creative direction?
Jilly: Yeah, I planned it with my stylist Frankie. We literally had a meeting about it and discussed everything, I went over what I want. I’m very hands-on with all my stuff, no kidding. I don’t ever get something thrown like “okay this is what I’m doing, tell me what to do.” No, no, no. It never works like that. I’m very picky. It’s me! It’s me. Even with my director Karter, I said “I have to be there with you to edit.” He’s like “Can I just get you a draft first?” Okay, but as long as I can… You may think this looks good, but I need this. Those knits and bits and pieces that I’m very very picky. I’m always gonna be super super hands-on with my stuff.
AllHipHop: Secret to staying snatched?
Jilly: Really no secret, just taking care of yourself. Mind body and soul. That’s most important, especially with a lot of mental health going on these days. It’s really important. I wasn’t really a person who really knew what mental health was, I’ll be very honest. Until I had to understand what that was. If you take care of your mental, then it radiates through. Definitely taking care of yourself, stepping back away from the things that aren’t important. Social media isn’t important, so understanding that. It transpires, it radiates through. So definitely taking care of your mental for sure.
AllHipHop: Favorite thing to cook?
Jilly: Ooh. Shout out to This Boss Babe Can Cookbook. It’s on my website, iamjilly.com. I’m Creole, all my family is from Louisiana. We cook gumbo, etouffee. My favorite favorite dish was this random dish that I made up: jalapeno garlic salmon. It’s definitely my go-to.
AllHipHop: You made it up?
Jilly: I made it up. I make a lot of this stuff up. I make a homemade Alfredo on the side, then It’s a jalapeno garlic salmon. It’s just [kisses lips]. I want some now.
AllHipHop: How was it opening for 2 Chainz?
Jilly: Oh my goodness. That experience, if I really tell the truth… [laughs] Thinking about it right now, it was crazy. Long story short, I was actually supposed to open for Chris Brown.I had prepared months and months and months for the show. The day of, he goes on Instagram and he cancels.
God bless Karter, again. I was sitting in my car devastated, and Karter ran out, right when I was about to leave and was like, “Yo, you want to open for 2Chainz?” Wait, what? Huh? I was so confused. He said “you wanna open for 2Chainz?” Yes, but give me details. He said “you have to be there in 30 minutes.” Mind you, I got pins in my hair. No makeup on. He said “Oh, you look fine. You can go as is.” No, guys don’t understand! I have a makeup appointment I have to go to. I said “Well, if I can go get my makeup done, then can we do it? What’s the time?”
Basically long story short, because it is a long story, we had to rush. My makeup artist did my makeup in literally 15 to 20 minutes. I call my family. “Look, can y’all be at the Smoke Fest in 30 minutes?” Literally within 30 minutes, it was about 40 of my family members. All my dancers, my choreographer, my entire team literally there to see me perform at a whole entirely different location, and we killed it. I’m just blessed that I was still able to get on the stage that day.
AllHipHop: Any goals for yourself at this point in your career?
Jilly: Absolutely, I’ll always set goals for myself. I’ll never stop. At the same time, my goals are temporary goals because I like to reach them. At the end of the day, it’s continuing to do what makes me happy. That’s being on the stage, that’s putting out new music. That’s really waking the world up because I’ve kind of taken a backstage to my music. I think it’s unfair for me as an artist. Now, you know what? Keep putting out good s###, it’s gon’ have to get the credit it deserves. I’m on full go mode right now. The main goal for me at this very moment is just not stopping, not stopping at all anymore. I took two years off and now it’s time to come collect.
AllHipHop: Talk about this dope thing you’re doing with MTV.
vYes! Shout out to MTV, I’m so excited. I’m going to be doing an Instagram Live Jam Session with MTV, it’s gonna be on their account. I’m going to perform my entire EP COPY & Paste, as well as one of my old songs which is an old faithful called New Safe. I’m excited to perform it, especially since I haven’t performed my EP. This is my very first time performing COPY & Paste, so I’m excited.
AllHipHop: Any collabs in the works?
Jilly: No, not right now. My biggest thing with collabs was just not getting hidden behind another artist, because I really do this. At some point, I will be so ecstatic to work with someone else, but at this very moment, I’m focusing on me and that’s why COPY & Paste was only me. I don’t need to hide behind anybody else. The music speaks for itself.
AllHipHop: How would you describe your sound?
Jilly: I‘d definitely say R&B Pop. I would never say I’m a rapper. I don’t ever want to confuse people.
AllHipHop: But can you spit bars?
Jilly: Baby yes, of course. I’m not competing with Nicki, but at the same time I’m not in Whitney Houston’s lane. I’m in my own lane, I’m in Jilly’s lane. I know that’s why I’m gonna always win. So R&B pop for sure.
AllHipHop: Anything else you want to let the people know?
Jilly: Continue to watch me, stay tuned. All things Jilly is coming very, very soon. My EP is out now: COPY & Paste. Make sure you go stream it, download it. Tell a friend, tell a friend, and tell a friend. All my Instagram handles are @Jillyanais, then my website is iamjilly.com.