We chat to UK singer-songwriter Jay Moussa-Mann, ahead of her new release next month.
Please tell us about your new single which is out on February 12th.
What Makes You Think is a song all about the dawning realisation that that person you thought loved you, never really did. It’s that slow creeping sensation that this relationship isn’t what you thought it was.
Except, although I have been through nasty breakups, this song isn’t about a particular breakup. It’s about breaking up with the whole world.
You have an eclectic music taste, what’s the first record you bought?
The first record I ever bought for myself was Christina Aguilera’s Stripped album. I had grown up abroad, away from much pop culture and my music world was tiny - almost non-existent.
This album blew me away - it was pop but with all this deep bass hip-hop, really feminine but powerful and it had all this amazing Latin infused stuff, which spoke to my Mediterranean side. I loved the way the whole album created a story and there were little instrumental interludes leading from one song into another. The transition from “Walk Away” into “Fighter” gets me every time, it’s so good.
You have many creative talents we hear; including writing and directing musicals and writing fiction. Do let us know more!
I wrote and directed a musical feature film called Ruth the Musical in 2018. It’s based on a story from the Old Testament about a young woman called Ruth. I loved that story and it inspired me to write a musical based on it which eventually we turned into a film after about 7 years. It’s currently available on Amazon to buy or stream.
I am mainly trained in video production and filmmaking, although I’ve not done as much since making the film. I’m focusing more on my music and using my video skills to make music videos and other types of media.
Yes, I do a lot of creative things. I write, I paint and draw, make films and do music but to me they are all just different ways to express myself. I feel like most artists have talents in a few different art forms.
If you had to describe your music in 3 words what would they be?
Working through pain.
Do you play any instruments or produce music at all?
I play guitar and piano. I produce all my own music, mainly because I love that side of things. I would happily work with a producer on a track or two, but I haven’t found anyone I’d love to work with yet. It feels too important to just try anyone who has talent. I’d have to love what they do and they’d have to love what I do too.
I’m using the funding I got from the Do It Differently fund to develop my music production skills with new tools and plugins. I feel like I’ve learned a lot in the last 2 years; I really started taking it seriously and I’m excited to know more.
This second album is very alt-rock/soft rock but I’m also working on some pure pop tracks at the same time. I love how they both need a different touch but ultimately it’s all about listening and building layers so that the instruments compliment each other instead of playing the same thing, which is how I used to record.
What circumstances or events make you write songs?
My songs are always born out of some deep sorrow or discomfort. I can write about absolutely anything, but there is always a truth in there somewhere of something I’ve experienced or lived through. I think I’m inspired by all sorts of human interactions and relationships, especially when they’re a bit broken.
Have you learned anything about yourself and/or others during this ongoing world pandemic? Anything positive?
Perhaps the most positive thing that’s happened because of the pandemic, is that I’ve stopped really caring what other people think of me. That’s given me a lot of freedom, creatively and in life.
We’re excited for the album Jay, which is out later this year right?
Yes, The Breakup Album is out later this year! I’m genuinely so excited and proud of this album, I love the way it fits together, I love singing the songs.
I found the whole process of writing and recording it very healing and when I listen to it now, I feel no sadness or upset - just a sense of freedom and a future. Like starting over again.
Jay’s new single ‘What Makes You Think’ is out 12th February across the digital platforms.
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