Standout Track: “Sober,” an R&B anti-love song built around oh-so-sad piano chords and a touch of go-go percussion, courtesy of producer Native. “Call me crack addict, dope fiend, and I overdose/See I need a hit, need a fix, need an anecdote,” Miss Jay sings.
Musical Motivation: DMV native Miss Jay, 21, says that it wasn’t addictive love that initially inspired her lyrics but actual addiction. “A close family member of mine was going through an addiction to a drug,” she says. “I didn’t understand why someone knew something could hurt them and the people around them so much, and still continue to use this drug.” Miss Jay says the plight of her relative (who is now clean and doing well), mixed with a constant stream of calls from girlfriends and guy friends who seemed strung out on their significant others led to the words about being hooked. “People turn it into whatever they want—some people consider it [a song about] love; others, a bad habit,” she says.
Studio Theater: In addition to putting together her own album, Miss Jay has been writing for others, including R&B singer Kenny Lattimore. One of the perks of working with a major label artist, she says, has been witnessing Lattimore sing some of her lyrics—and discovering that they share some quirks. “I tend to hand-motion words—if a note is high, I point up high, or if it’s low, I motion low—it helps me ease into the note better, but I look like a fool in the booth,” she says. Lattimore, Miss Jay says, “does that, too! It made me feel good, like I’m not as crazy as everybody thinks I am.” —Sarah Godfrey