Soundtrack To My Life: Jaykae

Expect the unexpected.


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0121 hero Jaykae's story is an inspiring one, to say the least.

Using the tried and tested formula of pure, hard work, Jaykae began his grind pretty much as soon as he was able to hold a mic — as soon as he hit his late teens, he was knocking out freestyles, writing bars and doing whatever he could to turn his dream into a career. Now it appears he's officially landed, counting fans in the likes of Mike Skinner, Boy Better Know and pretty much the entire grime scene (including a silver plaque for "Toothache"), but he's only just getting started.

2017's Where Have You Been?! was an impressive and carefully-realised effort, but that and A Bite To Eat are the only two projects we've had so far. Hopefully that will change before the year is out, but in the meantime, Jaykae's got some pretty huge live shows coming up (he just blessed the stage at Eskimo Dance), so we caught up with him to find out the songs that have impacted him the most as an artist.


Shabba Ranks – "Mr. Loverman"

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"According to the DJ, my mum, this was first song I ever sang along to as a baby. And now that I'm older, every time it comes on it's just a vibe. It's definitely one of those songs where if you're in a bad mood, or any mood, it will put a smile on your face. Big up Shabba."

Samuel Barber – "Adagio For Strings"

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"My nan would play this song to me every day, and sadly she isn't with us anymore. I play it often and it brings back sweet memories of my childhood with her in my life. I think her influence playing me songs like this has contributed to me having such a diverse taste in music, and you can tell by the songs I make that I'm not just stuck on one style and sound. Thanks and love to my nan!" 

Andrea Bocelli – "Somos Novios"

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"Couple dedications for my nan here, but like I said: she's been a big influence on my music taste. This is another one of those random ones that I don't think people would believe that I'm in to, but I've got range baby! [Laughs] Put this on, grab your girl, and let her know it's real."

Jah Cure – "Love Is"

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"Jah Cure has a very special kinda voice. My uncle used to DJ on one of the local pirate stations so I've been raised with all sorts of music, and reggae being a big part of it. Music is emotion in audio form and this song was the first song to ever make me cry; it was at a friend's wake and I'll never forget that... Really want to work with Jah Cure in the future. I think we'd make something serious."

Niche – "I Found Love" (Keyshia Cole Remix)

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"We had an ice rink that did under 18s raves back in the day. We used to get drunk in the park beforehand and this was part of the soundtrack. First bit of real freedom as young lads in the manor; alcohol, raving and girls. The first heavy vibes."

B15 Project – "Birmingham Crew"

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"This was my ringtone in school for years! Made me proud to be from my city just hearing the word 'Birmingham' in a song. Every big city has that one song that mentions the city by name that will gas you up to sing it, and this was definitely that song for me. It filled me with pride and I hope people get that same vibe off me when they singalong to me and Lotto Boyz's "Birmingham". 0121 to the world!"

Notorious B.I.G. – "Juicy"

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"This song epitomises the come-up; I can relate to it a lot. 'When I was dead broke, yo, I couldn't picture this!' That line is like my life right now. Music is starting to treat me well, I'm doing something I love, and it's paying my bills. I've been broke before—like real broke, that sharing-chicken-and-chips-with-your-friends type of broke—so I can 100% relate to where Biggie was in his mind when he wrote this song. It's like, 'Wow! I'm here! Mad ting!' I feel that."

DMX – "Ruff Ryder's Anthem"

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"When this dropped, nothing else sounded like it. I think it's produced by Swizz Beatz—whoever it was anyway, they're a proper genius. DMX was just raw, man: unpolished, just his vibe, no bullshit. He let me know you can blow without comprising your style, and I definitely carry that through with me. I still want a million pit bulls in my back garden because of these man [laughs]."

Jaykae – "Toothache"

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"This song changed my life. I want to be able to say more about it but, seriously: IT CHANGED MY LIFE! It's just gone silver as well—200,000 units sold independently on my own label, Doing Bits Worldwide. I really can't put into words how much this track means to me, and big up Thomas Mellor on the production and everyone that supported this one."

Ben E King – "Stand By Me"

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"Me and my friends were kinda like the kids from the film [Stand By Me] when we were growing up; adventures around the area, kids that stuck together by any means, seen a lot and done a lot. I think this really reminds me of growing up. It's another one of those songs that from the first few seconds, it's got you! Play this song at my funeral."

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