There’s a little gem down South London that you need to be listening to, meet JAS. I was introduced to JAS’ soulful vocals last year with the release of her ‘Summer Jam’. It took a while but she’s now dropped her first EP ‘Into The Wilderness’ and it’s not something you want to be sleeping on. With a soundscape composed of Soul, Gospel, and live instrumentation, ‘Into The Wilderness’ is a tape that builds upon the blueprint left behind by the genres greatest and at the young age of 19 JAS has such a mature sound and captivating voice reminiscent of yesteryears best Soul artists such as India.Arie and Jill Scott, but that shouldn’t be any surprise as she grew up “surrounded by Gospel, 80s Funk, and R&B”. Without anymore build up you can stream “Into The Wilderness” below and get to know JAS that much better!
What inspired the creation of ‘Into The Wilderness’?
“Into The Wilderness is really my personal view on entering the music world, the ‘wilderness’ being the unknown. I really wanted to put together an honest collection of music that expressed where I was at and how I was feeling at the time.”
A lot of the instrumentation on your tape is live, what inspired that approach to your music?
“Live music is the best music! All the classics that have inspired me; Amy [Winehouse], Erykah [Badu], D’angelo, Tank, Frank Ocean etc. use live instrumentation and that music is timeless. I think that these days it’s really rare to find musicians, especially upcoming ones, that still create great live music. I feel like even though this route is a lot longer to achieve a sound I love, my vocals are just able to connect better with live instruments than heavy production.”
‘Into The Wilderness’ feels very soulful and has elements of Gospel, what drew you towards those sounds?
“I grew up around Gospel music & I’m actually still to this day in a Gospel choir… in my opinion there is no better genre of music - the emotions produced when listening is just unlike anything else. I think a lot of artists like Chance [the Rapper], Kanye, Stormzy for example are crossing the Gospel elements with other genres like Hip-Hop and Grime and it’s undeniably great. I always wanted to keep a Gospel/Soul sound whilst creating and it’s great that others with a lot of power in the game are paving way for young artists such as myself. It’s the most honest, emotional music there is and you can never get tired of it.”
In terms of your songwriting ‘Into The Wilderness’ sounds mature, is there any songwriters you admire?
“Definitely! Off the top of my head, Frank Ocean, Noname and Erykah are definitely a few of my favourite songwriters. I think Frank Ocean is one of the weirdest, most beautifully crafted creatives out there at the minute - his words seem so personal but so available to the listener at the same time. Noname for me is huge; I go to the river by my house when I can and she is all I listen to there - it’s perfect. Her storytelling is my favourite part.
Then with Erykah, her music literally sounds like she says what comes to her head, like it’s so casual but poetic - I just love it.
One UK songwriter I forgot to previously mention is Carla Marie Williams. Her journey is so inspiring - being a young Black female artist myself, her latest track ‘Freedom’ which she wrote for Beyoncé, speaks for itself as to why it’s so powerful to me.
However, although I love so many songwriters and their different styles, I would actually say I’m more inspired by authors when it comes to my songwriting process. For example my track ‘Sugar Don’t Be Sweet’ was inspired by the book ‘The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho’. I also write a lot of stories in my downtime, something about having the power to create any story you want with any ending excites me.”
You recently performed ‘Into The Wilderness’, what did you hope the audience would take from the live show as opposed to the record?
“I love performing live, I actually prefer it to recording my music. I really hope that the audience got a more honest version of the tracks and felt where I was coming from. I also got to talk a lot about where my influences came from so they could get a better understanding of the project.”
What do you have coming this year?
“A lot more performances, a lot more music and a lot more life. Sounds cliché but I have no idea what’s coming next other than me creating what I love & that really excites me.”
As we’re early on in JAS’ career as a musician there’s a lot to unravel throughout the year, you can follow JAS on Twitter and Insta @_Jasmusic to keep up with everything, and you can listen to her tape “Into The Wilderness” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Spotify.