Get to Know Bay Area Singer Rayana Jay
DateMay 18, 2017
Last year, Rayana Jay of Richmond, California, released one of the most stunning and memorable albums of 2016. Her EP, aptly titled Sorry About Last Night, is an album full of stories detailing mishaps and bad decisions we have made as twenty-something year olds navigating adulthood. Her sophomore project feels like you’re sitting right in front of the beautiful crooner, sharing cocktails and swapping stories of nefarious night time activities. The album perfectly captures the feeling of uncertainty and doubt that creeps into the morning, as that love drunk feeling begins to fade away. It’s her ability to weave honesty and vulnerability that makes her such a talented singer/songwriter, and why we wanted to feature her on MISSBISH. Get to know the next up from the Bay Area below.
Tell us a little about you got started in your career?
When I was younger, I was very active in my church. I was part of the choir for as long as I can remember. That’s pretty much where I found my voice. As I got older, I began writing poems and small songs every day. I was really writing love songs at 14 years old like I knew what I was talking about. During my junior year in high school, I began interning at Youth Radio where I saw my first real studio. That’s when everything started to make sense; I knew that’s what I was meant to do and that’s where I was meant to be.
What artists or albums have inspired your artistry?
Amy Winehouse has definitely been one of my main inspirations. Her overall honesty, vulnerability, and just her ability to be unapologetically human is everything being an artist is about. Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange is a songwriter’s dream album. James Fauntleroy is another huge inspiration. His writing is to die for. I’m also really here for young bands of color – The Internet, Phony Ppl, Anderson Paak and the Free Nationals. I love young instrumentalists.
What initially drew you to music?
Music just felt natural to me. It has always felt like something I should be doing, and I found out I was good at it.
What’s your most memorable show so far?
The show I performed with Phony Ppl for sure. I had been such a fan of them, I literally listened to their album everyday. So getting a call about performing with them almost felt unreal. It’s definitely the show that made me realize, I’m really here. I’m really doing this.
How do you push boundaries as a singer and as a woman of color?
I don’t think there are any boundaries set for me. I don’t go into any of my sessions or sit with any production and think, “I can’t do this.” It’s all possible for me. Especially as a singer, I have absolute freedom.
You’re stranded on a desert island. What five records will you bring?
A House is Not a Home – Luther Vandross
Wake Up Alone – Amy Winehouse
Angel – Anita Baker
Future Shit – Young Thug
Get Like – Kehlani
“Too many artists are ignoring what’s going on. Politics aren’t cool to sing or rap about, but we have to.”
When you’re not working, what are you up to?
Thinking about working. Hanging out with my friends, I love my friends. If I could, I would just eat with them and laugh every single day. I love my family, so I’m usually talking to my mom and granny. I live a pretty happy life.
Do you feel that there will be a shift in the production of art and music during the era of Trump? How do you feel like artists are rising against his administration?
I really think YG started the whole shift, and I’m so grateful for that. Too many artists are ignoring what’s going on. Politics aren’t cool to sing or rap about, but we have to. Nina Simone once said, “it’s an artist’s duty to reflect the times,” and I think now more than ever we really need to talk about what’s going on. When his administration is finally no more, the music will still be there to remind people what we won’t tolerate anymore.
How do you practice self-love?
FACE MASKS! I do a face mask twice a week. I love my skin. I work out a lot, and take hella selfies in the gym.
What does MISSBISH mean to you?
MISSBISH is sisterhood. It’s women telling other women how great they are, something that almost seems taboo. I think we’re always put up against each other, and MISSBISH says “not today, Satan.”
Who’s your MISSBISH? Tell us who she is and why she’s an inspiration to you.
My mom, off top. My mom is probably the most dedicated and persistent and stubborn woman I’ve ever known. She’s a preacher which, for a woman of color, is looked down upon and she just doesn’t care. She had made a lane for herself and so many people love her and look up to her. She’s graduating with her Masters soon. She worked in the music industry when she was younger. She’s just amazing.