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JAE5 x Lojay

1883 Magazine chats with JAE5 and Lojay from the UK and Nigeria about working together for the first time, how the song came together, and so much more.

When you hear the tag JAE5 on a song very often, you know what you are expecting. The Ghanaian British producer has crafted a sound that has been prominent amongst artists from the likes of J Hus, Dave, Burna Boy, NSG, and Koffee to name a few.

Having fused his Ghanaian roots and developed his production style over the years, he has crafted a sound synonymous with his name and established himself as a prominent name in the UK music scene. Not to mention his ability to tap into various styles of music without losing his special touch.

2021 saw JAE5 stepping into a different space as he took his talents beyond the control board and released his debut single, Dimension, Tapping Skepta, and Rema. The track gained 30M streams on Spotify and again displayed his talent and ability to bring together different artists and create something unexpected. Doing this again, Propeller tapped Dave and BNXN and continued his streak. And now he is back with his brand new single I Wish, which includes Nigerian rising star Lojay and Cameroonian-American breakout songstress Libianca.

Both of these come with a flavor of their own, Lojay being a moment within himself, with his 2021 breakout song Monalisa being the song of the summer two years running. Having had 74M Spotify streams, he is on a continuous streak, having released his latest project GANGSTER ROMANTIC earlier this year. Libianca herself is also having her moment. With the release of her single People at the end of last year, the song has had 329M Spotify plays and a number of remixes that have tapped artists such as Ayra Starr, Omah Lay, and Becky G, to name a few. The three come together on this song which brings JAE5’s productions, and marries it well with the sounds of both Lojay and Libianca to create a heartbreakingly beautiful love song that reflects on the longing to have cherished and the desire for a second chance.

With the release of the heartbreakingly beautiful music video, 1883 Magazine speaks to both JAE5 and Lojay from the UK and Nigeria via Zoom about everything from working together for the first time, how the song came together, the music video, and so much more.

 

So, first things first, how did the two of you meet, and how did the creation of the song take place?

Lojay: It started as a normal reach-out. My manager and JAE5’s team were in conversation, and we set up a session. I remember the day of the session; I was feeling sick, and, in my mind, I was thinking should I go or cancel? But I just decided to pick myself up and go to the session, and when I got there, JAE5 did his thing. We ended up doing some stuff, and then, afterward, he sent me back some of the demos, and from there, we just kept linking up in the studio and building on all the songs, which became this music we made.

JAE5: What’s crazy is that as Lojay was in the studio doing those songs, I was excited because I thought the songs were amazing, but because he wasn’t feeling well, I couldn’t read him. So I was just like, oh, he’s not feeling what he is doing, and so when I sent him the demos, I was like, I love them. They’re crazy. I don’t think he realized my excitement, but it was an amazing experience.

 

Was there any pressure or preconceived notions either of you had going into the session?

Lojay: That was one of the best parts about it. For me, there was no; there was no pressure or anything. We’re two guys making music, man; we’re having a good time making music and linking up and sharing sounds and ideas. It was as organic as possible.

JAE5: That was exactly it. Because it’s mad, even when we link up, you’d be surprised often; we’re just talking and vibing. We’ll speak for four hours before we even turn on the computers. Like it’s just vibes, I like to chill with someone and say, Let’s go eat, bro; let’s play table tennis. That makes getting good results easy because there’s no pressure.

 

JAE, you put out your last single Propeller, with Dave and BNXN last year, and that had a big reception with 29M streams and the video 7.7M views. So, with this single, were they any ideas you had in mind about the kind of song you wanted this to be? 

JAE5: No, I didn’t, you know, this song was meant to be Lojay’s song. I begged him to let me get involved, put my name on it, and get Libianca. In the session, as we were making this song, Lojay was like, yo Jae, this is for me because I have this idea, and this is how I want it to be. However, as he sang the song, I pictured something completely different from what he was doing. It took speaking to Lojay over a couple of weeks and saying I know you have your vision, but can we try this for me and him just trusting me and saying, okay, J, you know, let’s, let’s try what you’re saying. So, it ended up being the way it is now, but I never had an idea that would be my song, it was me making a song for Lojay, And it just became this.

 

Was much of a change from when it started as a song specifically for Lojay to when it became your song? 

JAE5: I have realized that my songs tend to be more political. Dimensions was neither a love song nor Propeller, so this is the first type of love song I’ve done. And I’m happy that it was with Lojay because you know he is Gangster Romantic, that is him. If it were just down to me, we would have ended up putting out a political song, and we do have a political song, and that would have been my go-to one. However, this song was very much a result of our meeting in the middle, and everybody collaborating is why the song is what it is.

 

Lyrically how did you both bring your songwriting ideas together?

Lojay: I mean, we spent, like, probably all together, a couple of hours in that session, and then it was just fine-tuning over time because it was just a natural process. From the moment I heard the chords, I already knew what direction I wanted to take it in and where my heart was at that time. And I just expressed myself. That’s the beauty of it. Whenever J and I are together, there is this moment of pure conversation, but it’s almost like within that period, I have these ideas that were formulating in my head. So, by the time we had beat, I was on the microphone. Usually, it’s like I’ve built different ideas in my head, and it’s talking about them. It’s such a seamless process.

JAE5: The crazy thing about this one is the chords that he is talking about. I didn’t start the chords. We were in with my friend Morten Lava, another producer on the song, and Lo and I were chatting away, and he was sitting down on the keyboard, just playing. And as he’s playing, Lojay is humming a melody, and I was like, yo, both of you don’t stop what you’re doing because I know you think you’re messing around. But this is serious, and then Lo just started singing those first lines of the chorus, and I ran to that keyboard and said, Yo, let’s do this song now.

 

The song’s title and lyrics, “I wish I poured all my love on you,” and the whole essence of the song is very much reflective of loss and regret, so how did those specific lyrics speak of the song to you both? 

Lojay: I mean, usually, my songs reflect where I am. And, like, if you listen to my previous projects, it’s easy to get an idea of where I was at the time of making this song. I was reflecting on the loss of my situation, which was a relationship that ended where I wished I had given more. But then, when you’re working with other people, they can expand your vision. And that’s basically what J did where I thought this was about the loss of a relationship. He saw more to it and found a way to expand it through the video and add the extra touch of making it deeper and opening it up to a wider audience.

JAE5: I haven’t told anyone this part of it. Lojay is talking about the song, and he said the loss of a relationship he was in. And I’m listening to it, and I’ve never really had a loss of a relationship that I regret in that sense. So, I don’t feel it from that point of view. But I just remembered my uncle passed away in a car accident, and one thing that I didn’t do was he would call me, and I wouldn’t answer the phone, because I’m busy, and it would be, I’ll get back to him, I’ll get back to him. And he just passed away, and this is the person who looked after me in Ghana for three years. So from my point of view, when I was hearing Lo sing what he was singing, saying I wish I poured all my love on you. I was hearing it from a loss of a different relationship, a relationship of someone I should have given time to. That’s where I heard it. And that’s why we were able to meet in the middle and come up with a different perspective because you also have Libianca, who bounced off Lo well, and he put the base of what it should be. Then she added her touch to it and sang it with a different flair and added her touch to it which was amazing.

 

And speaking of the video Jae you directed this with Richard Kattah, it is very much true to the emotion and the message of the song you talked about. When did that idea for that concept come about?

JAE5: When we started the song Lojay had a very different picture of what it was, Lo was saying this is a club song we will have this summer. And I was like, hmm, what if I made it a bit more depressing, and I was trying to explain it to him, and it got to the point where I had to get someone to write a treatment, and we had to visually put it together so I could go to Lo and say this is what I think we should do. And so, after we did the song and I linked up with Richard, and we were able to execute that in the way that I thought about it. But also, with Lo having someone that’s trusting of your ideas is amazing because I’ve worked with a lot of artists, and before you even speak, it’s no, we’re not doing that because they usually feel it’s their vision is their song, they’re going to represent it. At the same time, Lojay was just like, okay, cool. It’s not what I think it should be, but let’s try it, and it’s amazing to be able to do that.

 

And for you, Lo, how did seeing the video and the concept Jae had change the song’s meaning for you, if at all?

Lojay: I won’t lie to you; it is too much, too good, and I was not expecting it all. When we first were creating the song, as we have said, I had a different idea, and he had a different view of what the video should be like and what story we should tell with the song and everything. However, this was 100% J, just the idea of having this shocking moment in the story of the video and what happens. When you hear the song, many people are probably not thinking about it going in that direction. It opens up a new space for the whole song. As I said with the lyrics, the video makes it that much more emotional and deeper than what you would expect of a typical love song and what you might think when you listen to it. I loved it.

After working on this song together, can we expect more music in the future from both of you? 

JAE5: Oh, yeah. 100% Lojay and we are trying to get a project out, like; I want to do a whole EP. There’s so much more to Lo Than Love, or do I want to get a body of work, my interpretation of what a low J project will sound like? His first project LV N ATTN with Sarz was a heavy club, and then they had Gangster Romantic, and I want my version of that, what they did as a body of work.

 

Lojay, you worked Sarz on your previous bodies of work LV N ATTN and your album GANGSTER ROMANTIC. This song had a very different vibe, so how did this experience working with JAE differ in terms of what he could bring out of you?

Lojay: I mean, as I mentioned before, with JAE, he’s able to take me to places that I wouldn’t usually go, which is one of the best things about working with him. He pushes me in different directions and makes me do things that I didn’t think I could do. It’s a very open experience sharing ideas and not feeling like my ideas or his ideas must overpower the other it’s just two guys who love music and enjoy making music together.

 

How do you both feel about the song since it’s been out, and what can we expect next?

Lojay: I’m super, super excited not just about this song; I’m also super excited about the other songs we have. Like I said, we’ve been working, and we’ve just been having a good time. And we’ve been eager to share this music more than anything. We will see this performed live at some point because this music that we have created deserves to be performed live with a live band and full choir and everything. So yeah, I’m just excited about the music to come.

JAE5: That’s the energy, man. Like, the music is amazing. The vibe is good. We’re happy with the products. And it’s wild because we have songs on that we’ve done that may be stronger than this one. It’s like the level is high. Like, the level is very high. So, I’m so excited for people to hear what else we have done

 

Follow JAE5 via @jae5 and Lojay via @lojaymusic

 

Interview Seneo Mwamba

Photographer Ejiro Dafé

 

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