Quit Your Day Job - J.Y. [DJBooth Interview Exclusive]
Whether you're an aspiring artist or simply a daydreamer, you've likely fantasized about what it would be like to leave your nine-to-five grind behind and try your luck in the music game. But what is the life of an artist on the come-up really like? To answer that very question, we have launched a DJBooth-exclusive interview series titled Quit Your Day Job, in which a variety of emerging artists will offer their real, true-to-life insights into the independent grind.
For the latest entry in our series, we link up with J.Y., the Jersey rhymesayer who hooked up with the Booth to drop The Slave Shift 2: Waking Down last year. In addition to working as a coroner in a medical examiner's office and processing check payments at his second job, the artist is currently pursuing a B.A. in finance. In his spare moments, J.Y. is busy recording his next street album, The Slave Shift: Falling Up. The long-awaited project is tentatively set to drop in March.
In the exclusive interview below, J.Y. discusses the difficulty of achieving financial stability as an unsigned artist, the challenge of balancing personal and professional obligations with his musical hustle, and why simply rapping circles around the competition isn't enough to set you apart from the pack.
What is your current day job?
Right now I'm flip-flopping. I'm working as a coroner for the medical examiner's office, which is the craziest job. And I'm working at a financial building processing check payments. On top of that I'm a full-time student working on my Bachelor's in finance.
What would it take for you to leave your day job in favor of a full-time career in music?
It would take stability. We all know the music business is not guaranteed money... especially when you're unsigned. But the goal is to get there.
What steps are you taking to reach that point?
I think I'm very close to becoming a full-time artist. There have been a couple of big time players in the industry that have taken a liking to my music. I'm going to see where that leads me and if it [end up at] a dead end, then I'm going to continue to release quality music until something happens.
What has been the biggest roadblock/challenge in this pursuit?
Time. I literally do not have the time to record as much as I would like, which is why all of my projects have been pushed back numerous times. From finals, to regular life sh*t, court cases, to my jobs, sometimes music has to take a back seat. That frustrates me because I know I have supporters that want to see me win, but hopefully they'll understand and appreciate this next project I'm dropping.
What is the greatest misconception that you've discovered on your own about starting a career in music?
That actual rapping does not mean much anymore. I thought I could come in and just try to out rap everybody, but that's not the way to go. You have to touch their hearts with what you're saying on these records and I'm just figuring that out right now.
What are you working on now that readers/prospective fans should be on the lookout for over the next few weeks/months?
Well, I'm working on The Slave Shift: Falling Up. I would love to release it in March and I think I'm going to make myself a deadline. I took my time to get some really good artwork done that I'm excited about, as well making sure everything sounds good. I'm trying to deliver a project that people really want to see me perform live.
What is the best way for readers/prospective fans to find out more about you and your music?
Everybody can go to WHOISJY.COM for all my latest updates and I can be reached via twitter.com/WHOISJY. Look out for "The Slave Shift: Falling Up." Y'all are definitely going to see J.Y. become an artist on this one and not just a rapper.