Written by Tarriq Jones

Birmingham born Grime artist Jaykae had a chat with us about his life, career, aspirations and working with Ed Sheeran on ‘Take Me Back To London‘.

When I was 18, music was something I always wanted to do, but the hardest thing is convincing other people that it’s not just some kind of a joke. You’ve got to make them believe. Being from Birmingham, I knew it was a long shot. It’s not like I was in with a chance of doing a song with Ed Sheeran…”

Jaykae’s Story

For Jaykae, one goal he had was to make everyone believe in him: “I’ve been taking music seriously since I was 18 but I didn’t really start making any decent money from it until I was 25,”  Now age 28, he knows what it takes; 

“I always believed in my self, but you have to get other people to notice you too. And for other people, they have to see it to believe it… even family members. Sure, now they see me on billboards, and it’s all real, yeah? Now everybody knows but I used to hide it and say I went to university because it’s hard to explain your dream to someone who doesn’t understand. But now everybody knows.” He goes on to tell us that members of his family now get asked for his signature, which shows them how serious his music career is.”

However, it wasn’t always like this for Jaykae. He used to tell family members that he was at university because they wouldn’t understand him choosing music as an actual career route. Jaykae tells us there was an element of truth in it though;

“I did want to go to university, yeah, but more for the lifestyle. I tried college, but it didn’t work out for me – when I was studying music production, there was too much of it that didn’t interest me, I knew I was a performer and a writer. Same with the performing arts course, the movement and dance aspects weren’t really for me, so it made more sense to just get on with what I wanted to do. So I just went for it. Even though it’s hard work and tiring. People don’t know that sometimes. You can be on the road 24-7 and while a lot of that is chilling, you’ve still got to be ready.”

Who Are Your Idols?

“Biggie was the one I always used to listen to a lot. Hearing him flex and that’s when you know life’s all good. In that song (Juicy) it sounds like he’s made it, that’s when he knew, and everyone else knew too. I can relate to that song, that’s where I want to be, definitely.”

How Has Being a Dad Changed Your Life?

“When my son was born, that’s when I really became a man, you know? He’s four now and my daughter’s four months. I had to grow up and now my daughter’s here too, I have to get shit done. You got to be smart with what’s coming in, make the right investments. Having kids has put life into a much bigger perspective. You know the music is one side of my life, and I got to make that work, but when I’m picking up my son from school I’m in the role of ‘dad waiting for his son in the playground’, you know what I mean? I have to switch between the two, and I love that, I love being part of the community and being involved in my kids lives 100%.”

What Other Pursuits Have You Had?

“I always wanted to be an actor as well, acting was a big thing for me. Peaky Blinders is something I’d love to be in… it’s all set where I’m from. I love those gangster films, Lock, Stock and Snatch. Directors like Scorsese and Tarantino.” I asked him if he’d ever see himself in a Marvel movie: “Yeah, I could see myself being the Hulk”. Mark Ruffalo might have some competition it seems..

How Do You Feel About the Grime Scene?

“It’s hard to become a household name in the grime scene. It’s been underground for a long time. I feel like I want to be a pioneer of this scene. I’ve learned the business, I know how it works and I’m bringing it through.”

Do You Want to Inspire Young People?

“I’m just now realising what a position I’ve got in Birmingham. I’m quite accessible in my home town you know, I’m available to make someone’s day and do good things for people who are in need. I’m going back to my secondary school to supply some sports equipment and music equipment, and I’m so happy to be in a position to be able to do that. I feel like I’m blessed, and I can share that with others. I’ve got Brum behind me, you know? I’m supported.”

Do You Want to Leave a Legacy?

“I want to drop a couple of great albums and be known well enough so that kids in ten years time will come back to those albums. I want to shut down to a new generation in ten years time. Mike Skinner (from The Streets) has been able to do that; bringing his music back after a decade and reaching a new audience as well as keeping his original fans. I want to do this for my kids too … to be able to take time off and be a dad, be there for them while my music lives on.”

Picture: Marin Rickett

How’s Your Relationship With Ed Sheeran?

“Me and Ed talk like every other night now. It’s pretty surreal how normal he is… he’s just one of us. At first, he just posted on Instagram saying he was a fan of mine and I was like no way!’ I was happy with that, just knowing he’d acknowledged me was enough. Then Aitch came to my house and told me that Ed wanted us on his song! I didn’t tell too many people until it was done. After, we went to the local pub and Ed was just hanging out with. me and my mates; we’re like with the biggest artist in the world! He’s very level headed. It’s not just about business now with me and Ed, I went to his show in Leeds with my missus on her birthday, and he dedicated a song to us – Thinking Out Loud. I couldn’t believe it.”

We had a lot of fun talking to Jaykae about his career and are looking forward to watching him perform. He actually dropped a new song this week Froggy 2 with Dapz OTM.

You will be able to meet Jaykae at our Action Day on 23 November and get a ticket to the concert on 8 December where Not3s and Jaykae will both be performing. Sign up here

You can also check out the official Apprentice Nation playlist featuring tracks from Jaykae including Toothache, Moscow and Froggy 2.