*Jay Rush is a multi-talented, soul-singer who has suddenly emerged on the R&B scene. His gritty sound naturally mimics that of his brother, R&B crooner, Lyfe Jennings. Jay has uniquely combined the R&B sound with that of “gangsta rap”; thus producing a hard-core, yet, soulful sound and coining the phrase “Rhythm & Gangsta”, also referred as “R&G”.
Jay gives credit to the streets for serving him a multitude of life’s lessons…good and bad, and he described his sound as “Street Soul,” which he told EUR/Electronic Urban Report is “not singing about gang fights or shooting back and forth. I just tell my story from a more of a gritty perspective. Like from a lower level,” he said. “A lot of love songs that you’re hearing now, they sound so pretty, like it was effortless. That’s just not how it works on my end. I have two people that I came up listening to that I kind of pattern my style after, which was Marvin Gaye and Tupac, and that’s kind of a crazy cross, but that’s the mix that I use and that’s what works for me,” Jay explained.
Rush says that his latest single, “Music” is the “Right song for the times right now. It’s melodic and it’s all urban. It has that raspy street soul edge to it. Right now, a lot of R&B music sounds the same, like they all got the same writers, and they all use the same sounds. And to get a little break away from that, I got my song “Music.” he said.
“I write all my own music,” Jay said of his process. “I like to write about life taken from the angel of the underdog. Ultimately, I would love to have a single that gets noticed to where I can tour all over the country with. I do countless songs and countless features. It’s just getting that one solid record that solidifies you. I’ll be content with that,” Rush added.
Is local radio helping Jay attain his immediate career goals by supporting his music? According to the indie artist, “You get some support but then you get no support. Or you may get support from the people but then the DJ don’t support you. Or you get support from the DJ’s but the people don’t support you. So, it’s a toss-up with the music scene here.”
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Rush was born in Toledo Ohio, and began his singing career at an early age when he decided to join a few members and form a group called the Dotsons. As his bio notes, due to the untimely death of his father, Jay and his four siblings were forced to grow up in a single family household, that lacked male leadership. Therefore, at age 15, Jay took a different path that ultimately lead him to the streets…and then to jail in the Ohio Penal Correctional Facilities. It was there that he decided to go back to what he knew and loved most…music.
His passion would eventually earn him the best male vocalist 2009 for the 419 awards and Ohio Hip Hop awards. He was a featured artist on B.E.T.’s “106 & Park,” “The Who’s Next Music Series” for Hot 97 in New York, where he opened for MIMS, Hood Hard TV, Atlanta Georgia and the Verizon Wireless Music Sound Stage in Atlanta.
Jay says he finds it “ironic” how black R&B singers today are struggling to compete with white soul-pop artists.
“Soul much is pretty much like a dinosaur now-a days unless it’s done by a European singer,” Rush noted.
As more and more people are producing and releasing music, there has been an exponential growth in promotion agencies. What’s your perspective on the promo system?
Jay: It’s a gift and a curse because it’s a good thing you got these companies out here with access that you wouldn’t have regularly had, but then at the same time, you gotta figure out which company is bona fide to handle your business the way you want it handled. I’ve been blessed to be able to tour around the country a couple times, with Bone Thugs in Harmony, and I’ve done songs with 2 Chainz, Foxy Brown, Styles P. So, I’ve just been blessed to do a lot of things that a lot of unsigned artists aren’t able to do.
What would you say has been your struggle in getting that one hit single that catapults you to super stardom?
Jay: First and foremost, it’s always the money. You gotta have that budget and a lot of times people don’t want to deal with you. But another problem I run into is, they always bring up the fact that, ‘Oh, you and your brother sound so much alike, and we don’t know if it’ll be feasible to put you out.’ So, ya know, I always run into that door.
The New York Times once called Jay’s brother, Lyfe Jennings, a “socially minded R&B singer.” He’s known for his songs “Ghetto Superman,” “More Than a Girl,” and “Must Be Nice.” He may or may not be currently involved with reality star Karlie Redd from “Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta,” the current season of the scripted series have viewers believing that Lyfe is Karlie’s flavor of the moment.
What’s Lyfe’s opinion on your music journey?
Jay: (laughs) You’d have to ask him that cause I haven’t the slightest idea.
You’ve never asked him for career advice?
Jay: It’s almost like, you’re on tour on a regular basis. So if you felt there was something that you thought would be beneficial… I don’t know…
Basically, being Lyfe Jennings brother hurts your career.
Jay: Yeah, definitely. The fans like it. It intrigues them but the people behind the desk are like, ‘Eh… We don’t know if it’ll be worth us investing our money and he’s already out.’.
Do you think the record labels pushback from you because of the similarities in sound, or because industry folks don’t want to risk their relationships with your brother?
Jay: I don’t know. I know of one situation with Deborah Antney, Waka Flocka’s momma. She used to manager Nicki Minaj and Gucci Mane. Me and her had dealings and she was going to manage me cause she heard me sing and she was like, ‘Oh my God, I gotta get you on Gucci song. I gotta get you on OJ Da Juiceman.’ And you know, we’re good friends now, but she had taken some of my music over to a couple of labels. In particular, Gucci Mane and my brother were on the same label at one time, and she said she took it to the label and the label was like, ‘We already know who Jay Rush is.’ But this is how she summed it up to me, she was like, ‘They say: Well, Lyfe is an asshole. So why would we want to deal with two assholes?’
Jay is currently working on a reality show “about the struggles that come from being the sibling of a national recording artist.,” and he says that the “misconception that a lot of people get is that, it should be easier for you to get a foot in the door when actually it’s the exact opposite. I got John Legend’s brother, Fantasia’s brother on board. Ray J has a half brother,” Rush said of the possible participants on the reality series.
In addition to working on the reality show, Jay and his team are “doing shows all over the country.”
“We’re just trying to generate that buzz and hopefully somebody will notice the effort put forth. Until then, we’re gonna keep going with it.”
You can stream Jay’s latest single “Music” via the player below: