Jay Hollin is a Hip-hop artist and new member of the Dead Poets Society. Jay was born in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1989. Throughout the 90s – 2000’s Jay was inspired by such artists as Tupac,Eazy E, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, 50 cent, T-Pain, and the Neptunes. From 2004-2008 Hollin spent most of his time writing lyrics but focusing on school. Music was a way to channel his inner thoughts and release them in a positive way. In 2008 Jay attended Devry University where he brought his first mic at the book store. After that the rest was history. From 2009-2010 Jay Hollin upgraded his recording software and began recording with his then label “SDIMG” after being recruited by another up and coming artist Soulja Corleone (Ceo of SDIMG). He began working with other rappers such as Legend, Kidd, & Yung Rocky. In late 2012 he released his first album “Recreation”.
A couple of months ago he dropped his first single JFK, produced by DrewsThatDude and mixed by Frankie Metalz. Recently we caught up with Jay Hollin in an exclusive interview to hear about his thoughts on the game and his progress within the industry.
- How long have you been in the music game and how did you get started in the first place?
Jay Hollin: I’ve been doing music Since 2008. I’ve always had a passion for it.
- Who were your first musical influences that you can remember?
Jay Hollin: I would have to say Tupac. He was my first influence; the way he would paint these great pictures with words. It wasn’t the lyrics but how he said the lyrics.
- Which artists are you currently listening to? And is there anyone of these that you’d like to collaborate with?
Jay Hollin: I’m listening to Tink, Big, Sean, Wiz, and Kid Kid. I would love to do a song with Tink. She’s a great artist.
- Have you suffered any ‘resistance’ or skepticism from within the industry, and if so how have you handled that?
Jay Hollin: Not yet, I haven’t had any of that.
- Do you consider video an important part in promoting and marketing your music?
Jay Hollin: It very important. The way the music industry is today. You have to have a video. Youtube is the new radio. Things are different now. The times have changed.
- Studio work or performing live in front of an audience, which of these do you prefer most and why?
Jay Hollin: I love both. The feeling you get after you record a song is great. The feeling you get in front of a live crowd is amazing as well. I can just pick one.
- Tell us something about the beats and music production on your releases. Do you create them or do you work with other Producers?
Jay Hollin: I don’t create my own beats. I wish I knew how to, I pick beats that I can see myself listening to or that I really enjoy.
- On which of your songs do you think you delivered your personal best performance so far, from an emotional and technical point of view?
Jay Hollin: I would have to say a song I did called “God Bless” It was about losing people close to me. I wrote it from the heart. It’s the most vulnerable song I’ve done so far.
- Which ingredient do you think makes you special and unique as a performing artist in a genre overflowing with new faces and ideas?
Jay Hollin: I would say for me, it would have to be being on top of everything. The music industry is becoming more of what can you do for yourself now. If you know how to record and market yourself, you don’t really need a table anymore.
- If you were forced to choose only one, which emotion, more than any other drives you to stay in this tough business. Is it joy, anger, desire, passion or pride and why?
Jay Hollin: Passion, I can’t fight it, Music is second nature to me. There’s no on or off switch. I can be anywhere and get ideas for songs.
- Which aspect of being an independent artist and the music making process excites you most and which aspect discourages you most?
Jay Hollin: Freedom is the best part, the only thing that discourages me is self-doubt. You have to be careful not to measure your success by anyone else. What works for them may not work for you. That goes for anything in life. No matter what you choose to do, you have to be your own biggest supporter.
- Tell us something about your songwriting process. What usually comes first the lyrics or the beats?
Jay Hollin: I write the hook first because that’s the most important part. You have to make sure it is catchy. It’s the selling point of the song. After that I’ll write the verses. It’s like writing a paper. You need your thesis first which is your hook. Then your verse is the body of work.
- How involved are you in any or all of the recording, producing, mastering, and marketing processes of your music. Do you outsource any of these processes?
Jay Hollin: I write my lyrics, I edit the record then I might send it off to Adab Lobb to master it, or if I’m recording at another studio. Someone else handles the mixing and editing. Normally B-Rokx, He’s really good with mixing as well.
- The best piece of advice in this business you actually followed so far, and one you didn’t follow, but now know for sure that you should have?
Jay Hollin: If you can do it yourself, do it yourself.
- At this point, as an independent artist, which is the one factor you desire most, and feel will undeniably benefit the your future (for example increased music distribution, better quality production, more media exposure, bigger live gigs etc…)?
Jay Hollin: Bigger gigs and increased distribution. Everything else I can pretty much handle.
- Do you consider Internet and all the social media websites, as fundamental to your career, and indie music in general, or do you think it has only produced a mass of mediocre “copy-and-paste” artists, who flood the web, making it difficult for real talent to emerge?
Jay Hollin: Internet is the future of music. It’s also the present. Music labels are taking artists from the internet. They look for artists who already have a buzz or social presents. Music is at our figure tips now. Music is selling more online then it is in the stores.
- The beats, the lyrics or the flow? We know they’re all important factors in a great song, but which of these do you consider the one predominant factor that any hip-hop song cannot be without?
Jay Hollin: Lyrics, You can have a dope beat and flow but lyrics will always be a factor. There’s no way around that. People want to know what you are saying.
- Could you tell us something about your latest single, album or mixtape releases and where fans can find them?
Jay Hollin: My latest single is out right now; it’s called “One Day”. It features Palina. Its the first single off my mixtape “The Architect”, which will be out in May. I have features from Emil Severe, Money Ev$, Soulja Corlone , JR Writer, and more. Look out for that.
- What do you think is the biggest barrier you have to face and overcome as an indie artist, in your quest to achieve your goals and wider spread success?
Jay Hollin: I would say my focus. I have to focus more.
- What is the ONE thing you are NOT willing or prepared to do EVER, in your quest to achieve a successful musical career?
Jay Hollin: I would never be judgmental or change the content of music I make just to sell records.