INsiders Guide: Exclusive Interview With Jay Ham

Jay Ham debuts an unforgettable summer anthem on his new single, “Ooh La La,” due out August 7th, 2020. A native Californian, Jay has been inspired by an incredible mix of musicians and genres, from Jazz to Rap and even country music. He began writing and performing during a stint in Ohio, where he met future collaborator and musician Tre Wright. Jay eventually made his way back to the West Coast, where he let the endless summer atmosphere infuse his music with attention-grabbing melodies and first-pumping beats. He was nominated for “Best Rap Song of the Year” at the HMMA Awards in 2018 and has continued to grow a loyal following in the Los Angeles/SoCal area.

Jay Ham taps into the summertime vibes on “Ooh La La,” featuring Natiive and Tre Wright. Anyone who loves to spend endless nights by the pool with friends, lifting beers in the air, and getting next to no sleep “Ooh La La” is bound to be your summertime anthem. From the bumping beat to the fresh rhymes, it’s vibrant with an effortless, sunshine-infused attitude. Jay showcases his talent for both vocals and rapping, doing double duty on a track already packed with powerhouse artists. From Tre Wright’s unforgettable verses to the slickly produced (by Natiive) earworm of a chorus, this is a non-stop party track designed for good times.

Hi Jay welcome to OLC! For all our viewers out there can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into the music industry?

Hey guys!  Thanks for having me!  And definitely!  My name is Jay Ham, I’m a 24 year-old artist born in Stockton, California but I did move a lot growing up. From Northern California, to a little town called Howard in South Dakota, and then to Dayton, Ohio.  But I’ve been living in Los Angeles for about 5 years now so it’s nice being back home in California. Music was jus what always came through for me when I was feeling down or lonely throughout all of the moving from state to state as young teen.  It helped me cope with a lot of my feelings (on the listening side) and it also helped me express myself as an emotional young man (on the writing side).  Then as I got older it grew into a desire to want to become a musician myself, to essentially help people that go through the same things I did when I was young. Yanno? To inspire and to motivate,  and on the flip side of that its always then motivated me to get better throughout all of my own challenges 

Who were your biggest inspirations growing up and what did you admire about them?

I listened to a lot of music growing up, not only  because of my diverse family, but because of the places I lived in as well. Its always hard to say who my biggest inspirations are because honestly, all artists that I’m intrigued by or listened to growing up inspired me in some way.  As a young kid I listened to everything from Aaliyah to Nelly to Creed, as weird as that may sound. I started making music at about 10 years old, however, I didn’t really start listening to lyrics and getting into having favorites until J. Cole came around.  That would have been around 2009 when I was like 14 years old. J. Cole was the first artist that really made me listen to the words and I could feel it in my soul.  He helped me get through most of my struggles.  But artists that had their own unique personalities like Wiz, Mac Miller, Nip, and everybody in HBK Gang all inspired me too.  And then I started listening to different genres in high school and I started to get into Jason Aldean, Bob Marley, and Justin Bieber, etc.  But I always was around great R&B music on the weekends or the evenings because of my parents, so I’m still inspired by classics and the greats like Luther and Charlie Wilson. @Trewright (my producer) has to be on that list as well, simply because he does it all(from producing, to engineering, to writing, to rapping and singing) and I’m always reaching for the bar that he sets to get better

You have a brand new single out called “Ooh La La”, can you tell me a little bit about it and where the inspiration for this track came from?

Yeah for sure! Its one of my favorite songs we’re releasing this year because it’s just got that feel good vibe. We wanted to create a summer anthem. Something that would last forever yanno?!  Alot of our friends in the studio that night so it was a really dope vibe which made it easier to come up with the topic of partying on the weekends because we were already doing so. And everybody loves a little party vibe here and there so why not get people in that mood! (Even if Covid is going on.  Y’all can still blast the music in your crib and party your self haha).  I kind of just sang what I was I was thinking in my head and everybody loved it as the top line and we we

The song features Natiive and Tre Wright, how did that collaboration come about and how did you know they would be the perfect fit for the single?

Well it all came full circle after two years of work, haha. Tre and I actually wrote the song with some friends of ours, Taylor Beau and Spencer Hendricks. They were producing out the beat and I kind of just sang what I was thinking in my head and everybody loved it so we went with it as a top line. We weren’t necessarily writing it for us either.  We had multiple plans for the track that just fell through. After that, time had passed and the production and vocals were kind of outdated. The song just needed a new sound if we were going to release it ourselves, so with Tre and I being good friends with NATIIVE, we asked if NATIIVE if he could reproduce it from scratch. I’ve ALWAYS wanted a song with NATIIVE but we both have been super busy in the past year so we just hadn’t got around to it yet.  Super hype to have this song with him and blessed he took the time to put some love into this track because it meant a lot to me.  Blessed to have Tre on this too but he produces and mixes and masters everything I do, so him being on my song is nothing new hahaha. Still love him though. That’s my guy.  And honestly, the verse he has on this song is one of my favorite verses from him.  Not necessarily because of the lyrics, but because of the vibe.  NATIIVE and I definitely have something else in the works coming to stay tuned for as well. But the industry isn’t ready for me to put Tre Wright on more features, because if I do that then he’s really gonna start showing y’all his skills and put rappers in they graves and they’re gonna get insecure and yaddah yaddah. Just playin haha, but I’m kinda not.

Do you have any plans to make a music video for the single and if so is there anything you can tell me about it?

Definitely!  My boy @sleepxtite is actually currently in the works of creating an ahead of this time, futuristic, animated video for us.  He’s cold with the visuals and y’all need to check him out.  It’s going to be a super dope video and will definitely be coming within the next month or so. Tre and I have known him for a while and he does nothing but dope out of this world stuff. But I don’t want to let y’all in on too much!  Just stay tuned and check my instagram for details!

Do you hope to have an EP or album follow soon?

No doubt about it!  The date is already set in stone and all! We just haven’t announced it yet!  It’s not necessarily a secret, as we’ve talked about it on ig live and radio interviews, but we’re just waiting to give people that date.  Still got a few more singles before the project will come anyways.  We’ve been done with this project since the beginning of Covid-19, but it changed our schedule and how we wanted to go about things.  We also wanted to refresh all the tracks so we did some vocal changes and Tre mixed every track ten more damn times haha.  It will be before the Summer ends

Obviously with the crazy times were in, were waiting on a bit of normality, but are you hoping to hit the road some time soon? And what are some of your most memorable moments from any of your live shows?

That’s a hard one and I can’t say right now.  I definitely want to hit the road and wish we could go to festivals to turn up and perform.  But until we’re in a better situation it’s just best that those things don’t happen for now.  So our focus is more on not just releasing hits, but providing dope content for people to be intrigued by as well.  Content that people want more of so they don’t have to “wish they were at a show instead”.  But performance/Show days are fun days for me and I feel aren’t as difficult days for me as they are for some artists, simply because I don’t play instruments.  I wish I did but I don’t. Therefore, I do a lot of my live shows with @Saticöy which is a super dope band based in Los Angeles, and they play all types of instruments so those are the most memorable.  They are amazing artists/performers, fun as hell to play with, and it really gets me going when I have them jamming around me.  Check them out when you get a chance.  Remember the name Saticöy, with them two dots above the “O”.  Don’t forget it

How are you keeping safe and sane during Covid-19 days?

Hahaha is that even possible at a time like this?!  Jkjk, but I’m doing well.  I’ve adjusted.  At first it was a little harder because it was new for everybody, people were running wild through grocery stores like Rampage, and it was very abrupt the way things changed.  I also am a newer dad kinda.  Well… We had him a year ago and he’s a grown ass man now I swear, but I’m enjoying being a father figure and a family man for my love.  We’re just taking all the precautions we can while keeping our minds on staying as productive as possible and raising our child.  It’s definitely given me more family time here and there in the midst of all my work so I am grateful for that at least. 

What does the rest of the year hold for you?

Hits! hits! and more hits!  Tre and I aren’t stopping any time soon.  I have another single, “Woah There, Buddy” coming August 28th, a few visuals coming in the next few weeks, and the project as well. And to be honest, I shouldn’t even open my mouth and say this, but we’re already halfway done with the next project and package of singles.  So don’t expect us to slow down any time soon.  Soon we’ll have to start leaking it ourselves hahaha.

Is there any final words you’d like to say to all our OLC! followers and your fans?

Well thank you guys so much for me having me and showing me the love and support!  I appreciate you guys and hope to be back soon!  And to the followers and fans!  Much love for always tapping in!  

[email protected]

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