Singer and songwriter Jay Moussa-Mann is from Middlesbrough, United Kingdom.
Jay’s music has been featured on Tom Robinson’s Mixtape, BBC Tees Introducing, and on the BBC 6 Music station. Jay’s music deals with issues of love and belonging, and she does it in an original way with her lyrics.
One Summer’s Day” was the subject of a short chat between the two of us. She also went head to revealed more about her music, ambitions and challenges.
What is your real name?
Jay Moussa-Mann. Well, actually my real, real name is Jaime. But I decided I was called Jay when I was 6.
What’s your official Showbiz name?
How did you get into music?
Somebody taught me a few chords on guitar when I was 10. My parents got me a kid’s guitar and I taught myself to play some more chords. Then I started writing my own little tunes. Never stopped.
What field or genre are you into and how would you describe it?
I love good old commercial pop tunes. I was ashamed of saying that for many years but life’s too short to pretend to be something you’re not. I like catchy hooks, I like pop songwriting structure, and I like songs about breakups and love. And I like to sing to Taylor Swift really loudly in the car. But the lyrics always have to tell a story for me. They always have to come from somewhere genuine.
What were your first project and the people you worked with and which year?
My debut album was called Little Deaths and I self-produced it at home and released it in 2019. I still like the songs on it, but it’s not the style or genre I want to do anymore.
Who or what inspires you or motivates you? And why?
Sunshine inspires and motivates me. I’m half Turkish-Cypriot, half British and I really really struggle with the cold weather. It makes me miserable. Give me some sunshine and I’ll spend all day in the warmth writing songs on my guitar.
Any models you look up to? With reason(s) why?
I don’t know if I ever truly look up to anyone. I’m too cynical for that. I do love to pick ideas from clever businesswomen artists I follow and watch how they progress in their field. That way you aren’t crushed when they let you down, but you learned something valuable.
What do you look out for in this line of business?
Kind people. People who have things in their life other than music.
What are some of the challenges you face in your career path?
It’s expensive to make music. I’ve been really lucky lately to get funding through Help Musicians to make an album.
It allowed me to get press coverage on songs, I’d never done before, and pay for professional production. I never had extra money to be able to do that before. I think another challenge is connection.
When you’re from two different cultural backgrounds like me, it can be difficult to make people hear you. You don’t realise how much of what you assume about people is based on your understanding of your own culture.
Translated into music that can mean you ignore lyrics because you don’t have the background or knowledge to understand them. It’s a tricky one.
How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?
Has it? I think it gives smaller artists more chance to be heard, but music is not a meritocracy. The big guns still run everything really.
Do you have any advice for aspiring songwriters?
Follow Andrea Stolpe on TikTok and Instagram and if you can afford it, try to go to one of her songwriting retreats. She worked as a staff writer at EMI and taught at Berklee and she’s an absolutely amazing teacher.
What is your current project about?
The album I’m working on is about breaking up with the world. But I guess what it’s really about is starting over. Beginning again.
What are your hobbies?
We live in North Yorkshire which has absolutely stunning landscapes so I love going for long walks with my husband, Kevin and our border collie, Indy. I also love running with her and when I get time I enjoy creative writing and illustrations.
What do you do aside from this profession?
I’m trained in Film & TV so I make promo videos for companies, shoot interviews for organisations, things like that.
What is one message you would give to your fans?
You don’t know how much your support means to me. You really don’t.