This cute, smart, talented and humble young singer/songwriter/dancer is coming up in this city, henny! Now is the time to pay attention to Jayse Vegas!
Thotyssey: Jayse hello, thanks for chatting! So, I wanna get right into asking how Night of 1000 Stevies was… you were Honey Davenport’s backup dancer for her number on the Irving Plaza stage! How was it, and what Stevie Nicks song did she do?
Jayse Vegas: She performed “I Can’t Wait.” Everyone there did a Stevie number. It was beautiful, from what we got to see.
How did it go… and more importantly, how did y’all look?
The theme was Garbo! Silver, white, and black color code (if I’m correct). It was a beautiful experience! Honey asked
Kareem and I [to dance for her number], who are solo performers more than anything, and it worked out so well. (Even if at one point we were all doing our own thing… #ThreeHoursOfRehearsals)
It looks pretty slay-worthy from the video! How long have you’ve been a performer now?
I’ve been a performer before I even knew how to be myself! I started singing at 8 (although my mom says at the Age of 3, Boyz II Men and the Fugees would tell you otherwise). I’ve dancing since 11 or 12. My friends and I would always form groups or make up choreo for variety shows and/or celebratory events (weddings/sweet sixteens).
Aw! Do you remember your “band names” from those days?
Never a band, never, a team. Just “oh, you need choreography and dancers? Jayson and His friends do that stuff!” Or something like that [laughs]!
Did you formally study music at all?
How would you feel if I said I was never formally trained?
That’s quite impressive, actually! So music just came naturally to you?
Saying “naturally” would make it all sound too easy. But I’ve definitely learned, and am still learning things by myself.
There’s a lot that ties into why I never had the experience of formally studying music, from “it’s too gay,” to “it’s not a real career,” to “there isn’t money for that.” However, I appreciate this a lot more.
Sure! So what’s the evolution of you becoming a known singer in bars like the Ritz?
Am I known? I believe I may be in that evolution stage now.
Well, you certainly have your fans already!
[Laughs] I don’t see that! But, thank you!
I see it! But let me revise the question: when did you start performing in bars?
Ahhhhh, let’s see… It all started about three or four years ago… all because of DJ Steve Sidewalk! I had just finished producing my first ever EP, ”Take What You Need,” and released it in May of ‘14. I was 19, and looking for an opportunity to showcase my music more. I had been to Gay College Tuesdays a few times, and by then I felt comfortable enough to ask Steve if I could perform one of my songs, and he said yeah!
It was AMAZING! But those Xs on my hands had to go! I took the next year and few months out of nightlife, I worked at schools and for my moms event planning services.
And in the fall of 2015, a month before my single “Body” dropped, I was at “Do The Right Thing” [at the Ritz] hosted by Peppermint! I was tricked into a twerking contest, but took that moment to network my ass off. At the end of it, I introduced myself to her, and asked how she felt about a live performer. We exchanged a few emails, and lo and behold Peppermint was the first Queen to book me in HK!
That fall I performed at The Ritz a few times, some place in Jersey and in XL! After my 21st birthday I released the original cut of “Body!”
In 2016, from releasing my first music video to background dancing for Adriana Trenta at ”So You Think You Can Drag.” Brita Filter and Kareem McJagger also gave me the opportunities to host for GLOW at G lounge almost once a month last summer!
I made it my mission to be seen a lot.
And now you have arrived! You recorded quite a few songs now, and made some videos. How do you enjoy that whole recording/filming process?
I love every bit of it! I’ve recorded over 30 songs now. Some available on iTunes, some through SoundCloud. And last year I shot one music video, one fashion film, and a teaser video. My favorite part of it all is that everything is Made By Me. All my vision, and my work.
How about songwriting? Is that a difficult task, on any level?
Songwriting is never easy, nor is it ever hard. It’s a beautiful form of expression; the more I can relate, the easier it is. But that requires a lot of vulnerability–and that’s the tricky part. But you caught me in a lie — songwriting is my absolute favorite part of this all! Words are beautiful, and I love good poetry.
Who’s your favorite singer?
Actually, honestly, too many singers influence me to have an all time favorite. I get a lot of inspiration from Madonna. From Britney, Nicki, and most definitely from Sia.
I’ve gotten slapped with a dildo on stage by a drag queen impersonating Freddy Kruger to Lady Gaga’s “Sex Dreams.”
I’m going to leave that right there! So, let’s talk about where we can see you in the next few weeks!
Well, if you’re out and about next week alone, you can see me almost anywhere! Tuesday, May 16th I’m hosting Code Red at The Electric Room.
And on May 20th we are premiering the music video at The Monster!
So, this remix of “Body” is making the rounds! How did Honey get involved?
The remix has been a whole year in the making. I debuted the song in October of 2015. Honey saw me perform it at The Ritz, and right after the performance she pulled me and said, “I want to remix this track”. But, 2016 was a doozy for the both of us. With so many productions going on for me, and for Honey being Honey (which is “everywhere”), our schedules never lined up.
For my 22nd birthday, I performed a song called “Down the Rabbit Hole” at The Ritz. Honey was the host that night, and from that night on her and I spoke about the remix and how it should have been executed.
Anyway, it’s now 2017, and we finally have a schedule that intercepts! I went over to her house, she spit me her verse, and the next day we were in studio.
The music video was shot in April. It was two days, two locations! Honey and the production team trusted my entire idea and visual concepts 100 percent, so everything you’re going to see, was put together by me. The video is about some douchebag guy who gets tricked into a wild hookup.
Tell us about the song.
“Body,” although it has some corny phrases and isn’t my best work, means a lot to me. I wrote the song as a big “F U” to everyone who was criticizing my weight (I fought some really bad eating disorders when I was younger). I even started this thing called ”The Body Project.”
That sounds very intriguing! I’m glad to hear that you overcame this disorder and made something good come out of it. The body shaming in the LGBT community can be especially toxic, can’t it?
Body shaming in general is very toxic. There are too many molds to be filled. It’s quite disappointing. It is horrible in our community though. People think using the word “preference” makes up for their shallowness.
Keep up the good fight!
I’m trying! Let’s kick all that in the ass; we have more to worry about than the shapes, colors, and sizes of others.
Now you also have a new single you’re performing, “Stay.”
Girl, “Stay” has been my favorite part of this year! My good friend Christopher Ambrose produced it. It’s an introduction to a new Jayse Vegas. One who’s more in tune with himself, and is ready to party just as much as he’s ready to love.
I’ve had the opportunity to perform “Stay” a few times with Egypt. She’s a new queen on the block who has been killing it! Sia is the main inspiration behind the song, so for the performance we pay a little homage to her and Maddie. It’s top 40 friendly, and a good first single for my upcoming EP. (Also, the artwork was taken by Sidewalk, at The Ritz!) You can catch her on iTunes, Spotify, Tidal, all those places.
I love that you love to collaborate!
Artists need to support artists! Talent needs to support talent! That’s really the only way we’ll get anywhere. I love collaborating; most people don’t know how, but it really does enhance versatility in your craft, and it helps build relationships.
And now I hear you’re working on another new single, this time with Kareem and Kimmi Moore.
The song with Kareem & Kimmi, IS. TO. GAG. OVER. It was supposed to be a remix, but I’m scrapping the original and making our version the original! It’s called “GYL (Give You Life),” and its going to be the summer anthem. It’ll drop sometime around Pride!
Everything’s coming up Jayse! Okay, final question: What is something the world may not know yet about Jayse Vegas, but should?
I don’t think the world knows anything about Jayse Vegas yet, and I’m not too sure if I want to tell people what to expect [laughs]!
Always wise to keep us guessing! Thanks, Jayse!