You might not have heard of Jayne Gray just yet, but that’s about to change.
The LGBTQ music producer and DJ, based in Los Angeles, California, recently played a club set in San Francisco for an LGBTQ lesbian-owned events company Eden Entertainment and has just dropped the set on SoundCloud for the whole world to enjoy.
Titled NYE with Eden: San Francisco Club Mix, the 52-minute set mixes dance music with rap, hip hop, EDM and electronic, and it’s a hypnotizing set that not only shows off her raw talent but positions her as one of the most exciting LGBTQ music producers in the industry.
To find out more about the rising star, we sat down for an exclusive interview with Jayne.
When did you get into music producing?
I have been messing around with creating music since I was about 15. I always liked writing, particularly poetry, and would actually write love poems for girls in my class when I was in middle school.
I dated a girl who I started writing raps with in high school, and we’d go to my bedroom closet and record them.
We had a USB mic, Garage Band, and a beat we probably stole off of YouTube. It was nothing fancy, but I liked the way it made me feel. I kept it up for a few years and just throwing my raps on SoundCloud.
Although I had no idea what mixing or mastering was, I began to build a small following of listeners who I think simply just liked what I rapped about, even if it didn’t sound good.
I moved out to California when I was 18 and slowly got into the
What is the ultimate goal?
I think the ultimate goal for me is happiness and enjoying the journey. I struggle with getting too caught up in the end result and the destination, and forget to look around me and appreciate the process of the journey.
It’s a blessing and a curse to never be satisfied. That trait has gotten me where I am today because I continuously push, and that can cause unhappiness if I’m not careful.
I guess every morning when I meditate and visualize my ideal life, I see myself as a touring DJ, playing music around the world at festivals. I see myself with a badass home studio in LA, surrounded by good, genuine people.
I want to produce for vocalists that inspire me, and although I’ve taken a step back from being a rapper myself, it gives me just as much satisfaction to produce for others and give them that canvas to paint their ideas and experiences on.
You’re currently producing an all-female LGBTQ hip-hop album. When can we expect that?
All of the artists have been confirmed, and one has been announced. That’s Diiamond Royalty and she’s as talented as hell. It’s been an honour working with her. We haven’t announced a release date for the music just yet, but I’d say you can expect it in late summer.
What’s next for Jayne Gray?
This year is a huge building year for me. Last year, I took a lot of shows, played I think five or six music festivals. That was fun, but I think I jumped the gun a bit. I’ve gotten some good advice lately on being patient and trusting the process. Work on the fundamentals first.
When your moment comes, you have to be ready to catch it. If you have cut corners and have all this hype but not the skill to back it up, you may slip. This year I am working on becoming the best producer I can be.
Still doing releases, but putting less priority on live performance. 2020 will be the year for touring.
You grew up on a farm. How does your early life translate to your music today?
I’d say my upbringing definitely had a huge effect on who I am today. My parents always taught me to be humble and down to earth. They’re two of the most down to earth people I know and I think that’s kept me grounded and real, even while navigating the music industry of LA.
Also, growing up on a farm was sick!
We had horses, goats, donkeys, all sorts of birds. I always joke that, instead of playing with dolls when growing up, I’d get a bucket and fill it with baby birds and play with them on the grass. I would also sit in the dirt and arrange a bunch of rocks around me and bang on them with a metal rod and pretend to play the drums. Maybe that was foreshadowing – who knows?
What would you say to other LGBTQ producers looking to get into the industry?
My advice to LGBTQ producers trying to get into the industry is to take some time to think about your branding. I know LGBTQ artists, vocalists, and producers who make their sexuality and LGBTQ status very much a part of their brand.
And that’s not a bad thing, it’s just one way to do it. I’ve thought a lot about if I want to be a “Gay DJ” or simply a DJ that happens to be gay. What it comes down to is just being yourself and letting your truths shine through in your craft.
For me, I felt quite suppressed with my sexuality growing up, so when I found music as a platform, I wanted to let all parts of me shine. I never really had any big LGBTQ influences or people to look up to growing up in rural Virginia.
I think that is why I live my life so loud on social media because I want that 15-year-old girl in the closet with strict parents in Nebraska to see that it DOES get better. When I get messages in my inbox with people saying I helped them, it means everything.
Does being part of the LGBTQ community have an impact on your music?
I’d say it does. I’ve recently become more involved with Eden Entertainment Group which is a lesbian-owned LGBTQ talent and event agency based in Southern California.
The mix I recently released is actually a set I played for their New Year’s Eve party in San Francisco.
They are a fun and talented group of people and I’ve gotten connected with quite a few LGBTQ vocalists through them.I’d say it certainly inspired my upcoming rap album.
However, there are times that I want to keep my sexuality separate from my music and I do plan on releasing albums that are themed off of other parts of the human experience aside from sexuality.