Who is chris jay?
Recording artist, Chris Jay, born Christopher Jenkins, was born and raised in St. Louis, MO. Unlike a lot of artists, he wasn’t born into a family of musicians, so music was a talent he had to discover on his own. “Growing up in a household full of women, music was my escape. I was a quiet kid so writing was really my way of expressing my thoughts and interests,” says Chris.
It wasn’t until Chris was a junior in high school at Hazelwood East High School, that he realized he wanted to pursue a career in the music industry. He began by making beats using FL Studio software he found online. “I started off wanting to produce when I finally was able to get my hands on that equipment. But, I soon realized that the beats I was making were terrible so I shied away from that and began focusing more on what I knew I was good at --writing.”
A couple months after graduating high school, Chris participated in the local Gateway Cypher Vol. 1 and soon after, followed up with his first unofficial mixtape entitled, Patience Is A Virtue. “After that cypher, I received so much positive feedback. This was when I started taking the music even more seriously.”
In 2012, Chris received a direct message on Twitter from a guy named “Pow.” Pow, a close family member of St. Louis recording artist, Nelly, invited Chris to meet up at Nelly’s personal studio. “When I first got the message I thought, “yeah right!” At the time I had been getting random messages like that from people all the time. It’s crazy to think that I almost didn’t reply.”
With Pow now functioning as a mentor, Chris became more focused and knowledgeable of the music industry and, most importantly, the process of creating music. Constantly being pushed out of his comfort zone, Chris found himself around the very people he grew up listening to and being inspired by. “It’s a surreal feeling to finally meet and be around people you grew up listening to. It was weird because to them, it was all normal, they were already family. So I couldn’t show too much excitement. I would just sit back and soak it all in.”
Fast-forward 2 years (2015) -- Chris made the decision to move to Chicago, thinking it would position him for better opportunities to make his mark in a bigger market. With the lack of [known] resources available to him in St. Louis, the move seemed like a good idea. As time passed in Chicago, Chris quickly realized this move for opportunity didn’t necessarily mean it would be easier. “ I had a full-time job that was an hour away from where I lived in Chicago. Not being familiar with the city, I was late to work every day. The car I had was old and kept breaking down on me. It was bad and I couldn’t focus on music because I didn’t have the time.”
After only one year living in Chicago, Chris was fired from his job. Two months later, he moved back home to St. Louis. “The move back made me really put things into perspective. I contemplated whether or not to continue pursuing music. I was in a really dark place for about four months straight.”
Since then, Chris has overcome that darkness and is more motivated than ever. Recently featured in Vess Soda’s STL Made documentary series, Chris is ready to show his audience who he really is through his most personal and prized possessions - his music.
Chris Jay’s first, official EP, Thanks For Nothing, is set to release in early September 2017.