Jae Stephens creates sparkling R&B gems laced with lush, electronic productions to create an entirely immersive and distinct sound. Born in Dallas, Texas and raised in L.A. where she’s currently based, Stephens connection with music came to fruition at the age of five when she was “sparked by an abnormal fixation with reality TV singing competitions” as well as being exposed to the classic R&B and gospel songs that were always being played in the house by her parents. It wasn’t until her early teens however, where Jae started to discover other styles of music and taught herself how to write and record songs.
“WRITING MUSIC IS ONE OF THOSE THINGS I CANNOT FAKE OR FORCE… IT’S ALWAYS GOT TO BE INSPIRED BY SOMETHING PERSONAL TO ME”
It’s clear that the Internet has played a crucial part in Stephen’s development as an artist as it was through the likes of SoundCloud and curated playlists/radio shows which introduced her to new sounds. Excited by what she heard from artists like Lorde, Disclosure and Banks, Jae “immediately felt the urge to try me hand at writing my own music”. Speaking on dream collaborators, a stand out is fellow songstress Banks, purely for the fact that she’s an artist “I could learn so much from, just from being in a room with her”.
When it comes to writing music or melodies, Stephens explains how it’s “one of those things I cannot fake or force… it’s always got to be inspired by something personal to me”. This is something that comes through in “24K” and “Every Time” which tell stories based on personal experiences and observations about love and life.
“I’M DEFINITELY AT A STAGE IN MY LIFE WHERE I’M QUESTIONING MY CHOICES IN MUSIC, RELATIONSHIPS, AND JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING ELSE I DO.”
With her stunning debut single “24K” which is produced by Jam City, Stephens explores a relationship that may not be perfect, but is something that can be. Having been a fan of his work with Kelela, Stephens speaks on how the track “was inspired by a bit of a star-crossed relationship” and that “only Jack’s [Jam City] forward thinking production could really do it justice”.
On her follow up single, the equally stunning and arresting “Every Time”, the L.A. based songstress teamed up with London based singer/songwriter Bruno Major, who she was “immediately taken by his sheer musicality”. It’s a deep and richly textured track that wonderfully blends Jae’s warming vocal tones with the glittering electronic production.
Speaking on her musical message, Stephens explains how an underlying theme in her songs is the “sense of uncertainty – as I’m definitely at the stage in my life where i’m questioning my choices in music, relationships, and just about everything else I do”. Therefore, the one thing that she wants listeners to take away from her music, it’s the fact that this feeling is “completely normal” and that although it may be frustrating, it “isn’t anything to be afraid of”. Jae goes onto express how her music runs parallel with life, in that it will always reflect her growth as an artist and as a person.
Turning the focus to what’s to come, you won’t have long to wait for more gems from Jae who is “planning on releasing something else before the end of the year” as part of her debut EP which is due early 2018.
Without further ado, check out the stunning shots of Jae from her COLORS Looks photoshoot and don’t forget to check out her dazzling performance of debut single “24K” here.
STYLING: SASKIA JUNG