In the Field With Jay Watts
Updated: Oct 25, 2020
Jay Watts is a singer, songwriter, and producer who makes music across multiple genres, blending hip hop, rock, pop, and country to create his sound. He credits a wide array of influences, including Prince, Cher, Ne-Yo, Justin Timberlake, Madonna, Jimi Hendrix, and more.
He caught the attention of multi-platinum producer Reefa (Lil Wayne, Rick Ross), who gave him a production deal, and he dropped his first single, "Millionaire Club" in 2014. Throughout his career, he has shared the stage with T-Pain, Meek Mill, Diggy Simmons, and Flo-Rida, among others.
His most recent single, “Platinum,” debuted earlier this month, having created the track in less than a minute after leaving the club and heading straight into the studio. The track is upbeat, catchy, and makes you feel like you are in the club. “Platinum” is the perfect record for the summer. We highly recommend adding it to your BBQ playlist!
Erin Boogie and Lady D of In the Field Radio had the pleasure of going in the field with Jay Watts to discuss “Platinum,” the college days, his love of fashion, and more!
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. This interview aired in its entirety on July 27, 2020, on 91.3 FM WVKR. Tune in every Monday at 10 PM EST. Outside the area? Listen via the TuneIn or Simple Radio app by searching WVKR.
Erin Boogie: How are you doing?
Jay Watts: I’m cool. I’m at my engineer’s spot right now, trying to get some stuff together.
Erin Boogie: Where are you located?
Jay Watts: Jersey.
Erin Boogie: Oh, so you’re close! How are you doing in the heat?
Jay Watts: I hate the heat! Like I hate sweating. I got sweatpants on right now. I’m having a rough one.
Erin Boogie: For those that may not be familiar, who is Jay Watts?
Jay Watts: Jay Watts is the humble guy from Jersey and also the ratchet king of pop.
Lady D: I like that description!
Erin Boogie: Talk about being a producer, songwriter, and artist. Which did you start with?
Jay Watts: Yes, I actually started out rapping when I was 10, and then I went to my first studio when I was 12. My mother took me to a studio, paid for all the beats, paid for the studio time, and then she was sending my demo out to record labels. I really started trying to produce in college. I’m still not an actual producer. I know how to play some sounds on the beat, and I help with the production, but I’m really trying to learn.
Erin Boogie: Who are some of your influences? (Prince, Cher, Ne-Yo, Justin Timberlake, Madonna, Jimi Hendrix)
Jay Watts: I have a lot, and it doesn’t make sense because it’s all over the place. Chris Martin from Coldplay. Adam Levine. Sting. Jay Z. Kanye. Beyonce. Lady Gaga.
Erin Boogie: Your influences are all over the map. How does that influence your sound?
Jay Watts: I take a piece of something I like from each person and try to bring it to what I’m doing.
Lady D: Personally, I don’t think that they’re so all over the place. A lot of those people have worked together. So you write songs. Do you ever allow other people to write songs? Do you get songwriters involved?
Jay Watts: Yes, I have one other guy that I work with that I really trust his pen, and for the most part, that’s it. But, I’m always open. If somebody sends me a song, I’ll do it.
Erin Boogie: Do you write for other people too?
Jay Watts: Not really. It’s weird because I wouldn’t want somebody to call me in the studio to write a song for them; I’d rather if I wasn’t going to use a song and they wanted to take it, they can have it. It’s just a little weird like I write songs catered to my voice, so I never really tried to write for somebody yet. But I’m open to it.
Erin Boogie: How did you link with Reefa?
Jay Watts: Ok, so I was under another producer that was under him, and he didn’t really like my music when he first met me. But they used to let me— ‘cause I was going to college at King University, so after class, I would go to the studio, and they would let me stay the night and keep practicing in the back. That’s when I was really learning how to produce on my little Dell laptop that I had. And then one day, on purpose, I did a song without any drums, right? And I’m like yo, he’s gonna like this one, and then he’s gonna do the drums, watch this. Literally, two days later, I played it for him, and he was like, “yo, you want to do the drums on it? We could do it.” And then from there we just kept working. But it was all like little plants to get him to work with me.
Erin Boogie: So that ended up landing you a production deal?
Jay Watts: Yes, yup. I think a year and a half later; we ended up signing to Lava and Republic. You know what’s so weird about it? I was a rapper until 2011 or 12. Literally, I didn’t sing at all. Not at all, right? And then I started going on YouTube while I was staying the night at the studio and teaching myself how to sing. And it was weird when I got a record deal. How am I getting a record deal for singing? Like, my mom was so thrown off (laughs). It was weird.
Lady D: Did you always lowkey have a voice?
Jay Watts: I didn’t think so, but one time in college, I thought the girl was just drunk, so I was singing a song for her, and she started crying. I’m like, why are you crying? She’s like, “that was beautiful! (laughs) I’m like, “alright, so…” I just kept at it.
Erin Boogie: It seems like college was right around when a lot of things started taking off for you.
Jay Watts: It was the best time of my life. Only because you get to… college is just a different world anyway. It’s not that stressful. All you have to do is go to class and pass your exams. And live on campus. It’s amazing.
Lady D: And party.
Jay Watts: Oh yeah! That’s what I’m saying. Make sure you make it to class and get your party on. But yeah, that was the best time for me. And you hang with your friends every day.
Lady D: What did you go to school for?
Jay Watts: Business management. And a minor in graphic design.
Erin Boogie: “Platinum” dropped earlier this month. You said on your Instagram that the song was created in less than a minute. Tell us that story.
Jay Watts: So basically, we were at the home studio, and my producer’s like “yo, I feel like going to the club. Let’s go to 1Oak.” He loves 1Oak in the City. So we ended up going to 1Oak, and then a few songs were playing, but the Fatman Scoop song is the one that stayed in my head when I went home. You know the crazy one? “Who’s effin’ tonight? Who’s effin’ tonight?” So that song. And then once we got back to the studio, it’s like me just saying a bunch of crazy stuff to a girl as if I was still in the club. And we made “Platinum.” That’s where those crazy lines come from.
Erin Boogie: It has a very club feel to it. It has a summertime vibe. That kinda feel.
Jay Watts: That’s why I’m so upset that everything shut down right now. It would’ve been perfect for the clubs.
Erin Boogie: Did you think about pushing the release back due to COVID-19?
Jay Watts: Nah. I feel like if something’s gonna go, it’s just gonna go. The weather plays a role, but it doesn’t really. If people like the song, then it’ll make it to where it needs to be. And then by the time that everything opens up and clubs never stop, so...
Erin Boogie: Will we see a video for “Platinum?”
Jay Watts: Yes. I’m just trying to find the right videographer. I’m trying to find a videographer I love that’s just going to take everything to the next level. So as soon as I find that person, then you’ll see a lot of visuals. In the meantime, I’m not rushing it, you know?
Lady D: I would say you have a lot of control over what you do.
Jay Watts: That’s why I like the production company. It’s like, they don’t rush things, and they understand what I’m trying to do, and I want the videos to look like “Thriller” but not so crazy, not the high budget. You know what I’m saying? Color. Color coordination. I just want that now.
Erin Boogie: I want to ask you about your love for fashion. It seems the colorfulness, the artistic vibe, that bleeds over into everything that you do.
Jay Watts: You know what it is? It comes from being in graphic design. I design a lot of my stuff. I just like color. My girlfriend is like, “why are you so infatuated with lights?” If I see neon lights anywhere — we could see a diner — I’m like, “yo, that’s dope!” She’s like, “it’s just lights.”
Lady D: I saw the video recorded where you’re going up an escalator, and there’s lights. You have black on with gold chains, and it’s so simple, but it has such a great effect.
Jay Watts: Thank you! That’s this little one minute series I was doing for all the songs on the project, and that was a public place. People was going up the escalator. We had to do that 10 times, and then we got kicked out.
Erin Boogie: With fashion, who are some of your favorite designers and brands?
Jay Watts: You know what’s crazy? I don’t even know any brands, and that sounds terrible, but I just like whatever I see. I just get it. I was never into names. I go to Primark sometimes. I go to Primark and buy a $7 shirt, and nobody even knows this is $7.
Erin Boogie: Would you ever do your own clothing line?
Jay Watts: Yes, so I’m actually starting with merch. I’m ordering that on Monday. And then from there, I’m going to start up a line on the side and kinda keep it lowkey. Not really attach my name to it. I have a name for it and everything. I just thought of that this weekend, so I’m gonna get it going. I watched some documentary called The Remix on Netflix about how Dapper Dan was taking the major brands and doing his own thing, so I’m trying to do something like that.
Erin Boogie: You came up with the idea this weekend, and you’re about to execute on Monday?
Jay Watts: I’m starting with the album cover merch on the shirts, and then I’m gonna, in the next shipment, get my own brand going.
Erin Boogie: You move fast.
Jay Watts: Can’t wait anymore. I don’t like waiting on things. I don’t rush anything either, but I think it’s time.
Lady D: You said that a couple of days ago. Be present. Don’t rush, but everything comes on time.
Jay Watts: Be present. I posted that for myself because I was stressed out one day, and then my engineer actually said it to me, and I just needed to see that myself.
Erin Boogie: If you could collab with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?
Jay Watts: Michael Jackson. Prince. Me and Chris Martin are going to make one of the greatest songs of all time. Just letting you know now. And Beyoncé. And Lady Gaga. All my influences. But me and Chris Martin? We’re gonna make the wedding song of all wedding songs.
Erin Boogie: Anything else you want the people to know?
Jay Watts: “Platinum” out right now. If you havin’ a BBQ, get together, some people call it a kickback, or if you’re with your girl and you wanna drink a little bit and smoke a little hookah and hear some vibes, “Platinum” is out. And if you have outdoor dining and hookah or any type of club environment, “Platinum” is out.