Jayne Gray is Taking Over the California Music Scene
Sallie Cathcart, known publicly as Jayne Gray grew up on a farm in southern Virginia and began recording herself rapping on GarageBand under the name Queen’s Habit at the age of 16. What began as messing around and making music with friends soon turned into an escape for Gray from her private Christian school where she did not feel understood. Soon afterward, she found herself gaining a small following on SoundCloud under this moniker and became known for her raw and relatable lyrics.
At 18 she moved to Sacramento, California where she began teaching herself DJing and music production while studying Psychology at a local college. In the summer of 2017, Gray was traveling in London when she went on a Ghost & Murder tour of the city with her ex-partner. During this tour, she was told the story of “Lady Jane Grey”, a past Queen of England who was executed at a young age. Gray felt an immediate connection to this story and also felt like she bore a resemblance to her and thus, her stage name Jayne Gray was born.
In 2018 Gray self-released her first EP titled “It Was All a Dream”
In 2018 Gray self-released her first EP titled “It Was All a Dream” under her label Bad Talent Records. The album was inspired by her experiences traveling in Europe that summer and drew deeply from her hip-hop influences and her taste for heavy bass music. “It Was All a Dream” gained attention from many EDM news outlets and ended up making the front cover story of ThatDrop.com in August of 2018. In addition to beginning to gain traction in the music scene, Gray was also beginning to find herself on larger lineups on the 2018 summer festival circuit. Gray landed direct support for Nitti Gritti and Bonnie & Clyde and found herself sharing lineups with Mija and Mr. Carmack at Santa Cruz Music Festival 2018. In addition to this, she was booked to play Emissions West Coast Bass Festival where she shared a lineup with Rusko, Baauer, and Minnesota.
After graduating from Sacramento State University with a degree in Communications and Psychology, Gray moved to Los Angeles to attend Icon Collective. After graduating from Icon, Gray built a home studio at her house in Los Angeles and then one month later – the pandemic hit. Gray used this time at home to develop her signature sound, and also to pivot away from EDM and into hip-hop. In 2020 Gray also linked with Wav3Pop and the duo became extremely influential to her style as a producer. After a string of incredibly successful self-releases, Gray is tapped in and preparing for her biggest release yet this Spring. She hasn’t announced yet but has hinted that a handful of major artists will be featured.
Interview with Jayne Gray
Miss. Gray, you are a very talented and unique artist. It’s a pleasure to meet you! Tell us what influences you to create music, what is your biggest muse?
Thank you so much for having me, Ava! That’s a good question. I didn’t grow up in a musical family, my parents didn’t have me playing instruments at a young age or anything like that – but I remember when I was little, like 5 or 6, I went out in the yard one day, and found this metal rebar and started hitting a bunch of rocks with it and realized that they all made different sounds. I grew up on a farm in Virginia so there was always random stuff like that laying around. I realized that all the rocks made different sounds and so I would practice making beats with them. That’s just an early memory for me but other than that it started with poetry. I got huge into poetry when I was 12 and I still have a big box of all the poems that I wrote throughout school – mostly love poems about girls. I used to struggle with making sense of my feelings when I was younger and I found poetry to be a way to make things that felt foreign and abstract make more sense and more tangible. When I found Garageband on my laptop at 16 and learned I could record my words to music, then it was all over from there.
It’s been a long time since those days and a lot has changed but that feeling I get when I’m able to make sense of a certain emotion or experience through music is just as incredible as it has ever been. My biggest muse is just my thoughts and feelings. I could say women are my biggest muse but at the end of the day, all they do is evoke my thoughts and feelings so that’s what it always comes back to.
Your music slaps! It makes me want to blast it on the radio as I go for a drive. Tell us about the vibe you’re trying to give off with your music.
Thank you so much. That has definitely changed over the years. I began in rap music, then gravitated towards EDM for a while, then recently I have been returning to mostly hip-hop, rap, and pop. EDM is incredible, but it is less lyric-based. I want to write more. I used to try to put myself in a box but now I just make what sounds good to me. It’s just like an intuition you get when you know you got it right. Music is so subjective – but I use this term called “when the ghost walks through the room” and that refers to the moment in production when you know you nailed it. I have some tracks that are very high energy, and some that are slower and more contemplative. The human experience and human emotions are an entire spectrum and at some point, I would like to touch every facet of it with my music. I will say though that I am currently making the best tracks I have ever made and will be released probably in late Spring. They are hip-hop. They are the type you blast in the car with your friends and play at the club. It’s a fun vibe.
What are some of your favorite musicians? Which ones have influenced you the most?
I have a whole range of music that I am interested in. I am mainly making hip-hop right now, but I like country, folk, rock, jam band, slow soulful stuff, weird stuff, and just a lot of indie stuff too. I wouldn’t say that I am influenced by any artists in particular. I feel that I just draw from my own experiences and what sounds good to me. I make music that I would want to listen to and that could mean a lot of things. However, my favorite artist of all time is Tyler, the Creator. To me, he is a definition of a creative genius – and he did it all sober too. Ever since Goblin, I felt connected to him. Yonkers was my anthem in high school and I still blast that song today. It’s not just his music though and more of the entirety of who he is and who he represents. He is just one of those people who wasn’t born with the predisposition to be conditioned by societal norms and expectations. He is authentically himself in everything that he does and creates and I respect that.
Out of all your music, which is your favorite track?
Honestly, my favorite tracks are the ones I am working on right now. It’s a cool feeling to see years of work and experience come together and materialize into pieces of work that I truly love. I can’t stop listening to them when I am in the car and I can’t stop thinking about them. I’ve been turning down every invite to anything to stay in and work on these, it’s become a bit of an obsession and I can’t wait to share them with you this spring, stay tuned.
Tell us about your creative process and how you create your music.
Sometimes I will sit in the studio for hours or days and get nothing – other times I will produce and mix a full song in 24 hours. Sometimes the vibes come quicker than others but once I catch a vibe it’s usually a pretty quick process. However, I am a perfectionist and will spend just as long tweaking different aspects of a finished composition as I will create it. My most recent release “Fall Out” feat. Brianna Sirlin I made it in 24 hours. Some people can’t comprehend that but the way I see it, that track didn’t take me 24 hours, it took me 6 years. 6 years of trial and error and learning. Sometimes I will get an idea for a beat or a certain lyric idea will pop into my head while I’m driving or in the shower, but I would say 9 times out of 10 just coming and sitting in my workspace and trying things out is how it happens.
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