It is not everyday that an artist uproots their lives and finds instant success. Hell, its not everyday an artist finds success in their own hometown. Jay Finley is an exception to the rule.
This story is national. Literally! It starts in Peoria, Illinois. Then, it travels south to Memphis. Then, it heads to the A. Oh, and then it heads to Los Angeles. Wait, eventually he goes back to Atlanta. However, the implant began to blossom in Chicago. (Damn, bro ass had to travel over six thousand miles! I did the math!)
Hardships have built Jay Finley into the artist that he has become today. Whether it was assisting his ill mother or eating a spoonful of peanut butter at mealtime, Jay maintained the grind.
"It Was A Dream..."
He had to convince his mother to let him move to Los Angeles. After all, he was only 19!
"I was like 'Yo, Mom, I gotta leave.' I'm nineteen years old. I saved up money for a year so I could get out there. I knew the only the way I could get out there was by telling her that I was going to school. When I first got out there, it was cool for the first six months. Then after that, it just spiraled, and I moved back to Atlanta that summer."
Once he was back in Atlanta, his luck was still pretty questionable. He lived with a friend on the east side of Atlanta. The situation was uncomfortable. He lived with four other kids. He slept on the floor. He drove to the other side of town for work with his homeboy.
"He didn't have a car or a job, so I told him I could get him a job. I was working at Whole Foods. At the time, I had a 1993 Chevy Lumina. It was my first car ever. We would trail each other to work. I worked in the morning, and he worked at night. He would sleep in the car for eight hours while I worked. Then, I would sleep in the car while he worked. It would be eleven o'clock before we pushed back to East Atlanta. That happened for about year."
He credits his musical development to his mother. Jay Finley credits her for being a published author. More over, his mother suffers from fibromyalgia. He assisted her every step of the way. That forced him to grow up quickly. Basketball he said was his escape. However, writing was his passion. Writing is his passion.
"I'm motivated by the culture. I moved to all of these cities; Atlanta, Memphis, L.A., and now, Chicago. I take all of these influences and cultures, and I used that in my music. That's why it's so different and unique. It sounds different. I'm influenced by Neo-soul. My mom listened to a lot of Erykah Badu and stuff like that. I was also influenced by the rap music. My mom wouldn't let me listen to rap music. One of the first artists I listened to was Nelly, believe it or not. It was his song 'Hot in Herre'. After that, I just fell in love with the music."
The musical influences for him were A Tribe Called Quest, Big L, The Notorious B.I.G, and host of others.
"I loved the lyricism and the content. It's a form of expression."
Jay Finley describes his music in one word: truth.
School and Stuff
So, Jay Finley got a call from some family in Chicago. Aware of his situation, they called for him to move to Chicago. The catch: Jay Finley had to go to school. In August of 2016, he enrolled and aspired to bigger and better things. However, music was never far away. He wrote and wrote. He kept up with the grind. One day, there was a meeting that changed his fortune. He met another local rapper. That rapper was E.Nos. Then, the rest is history. In November of 2016, he got his break. He participated in the Urban Color Magazine segment "The Saturday Night Lineup". Needless to say, he buried it and stood out from his fellow MCs. He has worked with the likes of Rich Da Pit, and most recently, Sonny Trill on the single "Add It Up". His sound is unique. It's melodic. It's strong. It's sort of high pitched. None the less, it's Jay Finley. The Era Gold representative launches his project later this spring, and he is currently producing a short film. Is it safe to say that he made it? Not yet, but he sure is close. But what is his advice for an aspiring artist?
"Sit back and contemplate you life. Keep pushing and stay humble. What I've learned in my journey is that no one is going to give you anything. People may act like they want to help, but they won't. The thing is, it starts with you. It starts with self-motivation, and you have to keep pushing through. Whatever you believe in, keep believing."
Oh, and he's doing alright in school.