A Closer Look - singer/songwriter, Jayna Elise
Updated: Jun 11, 2020
This next artist was a contestant on the hit show America's Got Talent at the age of 14, her singing covers on YouTube averaged around 10-million views. This young ladies powerful and soulful voice has allowed her to be featured on Grammy award-winning projects and performances. DMV AUX presents to you, the LoFi/R&B songstress, Jayna Elise!
Jayna was born and spent most of her childhood in Baltimore, Maryland. Though Jayna and her mother moved around a lot, she went to school in Washington, D.C. While attending Duke Ellington School of the Arts High School, she expressed that “this institution really paved the way for me and helped me come into my own artistry....which was something I struggled with for a while. I went from being a child singer moving to the gospel community. It is kind of hard to navigate where you want to go next. D.C definitely inspired me to kick the reigns off on my career and focus on what music is for me and how it would make me happier.” She currently resides in D.C, considers it home, and enjoys living there because it was one of the places she began producing music. Living in D.C, Jayna has been able to connect with other creatives in order to curate music showcases in which she considers and very valuable experience for her.
Initially, singing was not in Jayna’s plans; she had aspirations of attending school and becoming a doctor. As a child, she recalls her mother, listening to her sing in the shower, recording her with a voice recorder, and performing for her family! Jayna’s mother was the person who paid attention to her talent and noticed her advanced skills of performing and singing for her age. From that moment on she would upload covers to YouTube such as “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele and “His Eyes are on the Sparrow”.
Jayna began writing music at a very young age; around 4 years old and at the age of ten she began to take it seriously. She stated “at that age, I began looking up the song structure, hooks, choruses, and verses.. and how to make it into a song.” One of the first songs she ever wrote was “I’ll Do Me” which was a feature on Grammy award-winning group, Snarky Puppy's live DVD/CD - "Family Dinner - Volume One." Jayna recalls this milestone “this was a turning point in my career, that performance was my first major performance. It was in a theater of 2000 people and streamed internationally. I could actually make a living off of this and really expand my audience.”
One would think that Jayna Elise doesn’t get stage fright because she has been performing all her life, especially being on America’s Got Talent! However, like many, Jayna gets anxious at times, but it doesn’t reflect her live performances and she describes the feeling like a “good nervous.” Jayna shares that her time on this show was a special experience and the best part was developing a relationship with the other contestants - a few of which she still communicates with to this day.
Upon participating in the show, she never realized how much of a One Direction fan she was, Louis Tomlinson, who was one of the judges and former band member of the group, was the first judge to give Brown an instant yes during her audition performance. Being so young, during her first audition, she performed “Summertime” by Ella Fitzgerald. This shocked the crowd and she was well-received throughout the audience. Ultimately, she was eliminated from the contest but this did not keep her down at all, instead, it lead to an outpour of opportunities and she shares “the caliber of gigs that I have been able to get and what is so inspiring is that they are often motivational, youth-inspired, or women empowerment events. Surrounding myself with that type of energy makes me forever grateful.”
Jayna’s success landed her opportunities within the acting industry. She had a small role in Tyler Perry’s “Madea’s Neighbors from Hell.” Perry recalled watching her YouTube covers and asked her to star in his play. Jayna and her mother made a trip to Atlanta, Georgia and she shares “I really enjoy meeting new people and hearing about their journey.” She shared, at the table reading, Tyler Perry, explained to everyone why they got their part, including her. Meeting Perry was a surreal and inspiring moment for her, because of his humble beginnings, and now has turned into a major success who pours back into his community.
Over the years Jayna's writing process has evolved. It started off as very raw, while she was in stage of still learning her voice. However, as time went on, her style became more LoFi infused with R&B, with the addition of more thought into the structure of the choruses and verses.
Jayna is very passionate about people and that's her driving force behind why she does what she does. "[The feeling of being] able to bring someone joy, to be able to make someone feel something; To be able to put myself in a position to do more for my community and the underexposed ones as well” are all driving factors for Jayna. She is an active person when it comes to philanthropy by speaking at various youth events, helping those in need, and through music she wishes to inspire people.
One of Jayna’s goals is to create a coalition of doctors and lawyers, in order for the black community to have something of their own. Musically, she wishes to do music full-time, go on tour and travel, release an album, and collaborate with dope artists.
Though Jayna is young, she has been able to witness the ins and outs of the music industry. She advises up and coming artists to find validation within themselves, be comfortable with who they are, because when one reaches that level, those outside opinions will have little to no effect on you. Lastly, she advises one to work hard and persevere through all obstacles.
Read More about Jayna Elise below.
Who would win in a Verzuz battle, Ella Fitzgerald or Adele?
Definitely Ella, she’s vocally one of the most important people to me.
What song do you currently have on replay?
“Do It” by Chloe x Halle.
What movie can you watch over and over Again?
Inception, I really love that movie.
What’s one thing you wish you didn’t have to pay for?
Everything?! Just kidding, I would say food.
If you didn't have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
If I didn’t have to sleep, I would be recording music all night long.
If you can hang out with any celebrity for a full day, who would it be and why?
It would be Chloe x Halle because I want to know their writing process and I would even get the chance of hanging with Beyonce too, like a three for one deal!
Would you rather Win $50,000 or let your best friend win $500,000?
I would let my mom take the $500,000, but we are splitting it!
Magnified topic of the week: Jayna’s New EP, Flowers, and Petals.
The project features three tracks, the lead single, Flower Petals.
Jayna had a discussion with her team about rebranding and what is something that describes her journey up until this point. Jayna’s nickname is “flower girl,” and being the nature lover she is it was very fitting for her to name her EP, Flowers and Petals
Jayna’s sound is versatile and she was able to showcase that talent in her EP. On the track “Ye” and “Flowers and Petals” she was able to switch up her flow to singing to rapping. During her creative process, she tends to write verses intended for rapping, when it came time to record, she delivered!
This project represents the start of something new, beautiful, and fresh. Jayna’s message to her supporters “I’m here. I’m ready. I’m about to give 150 percent because it’s been a long time!” After many attempts of releasing the right projects, this EP is very special to her and hopes her listeners feel it too.
Check out Flowers and Petals EP, now available on all streaming platforms!
Apple Music: https://apple.co/3hefBc5