The Radar 105: From college dropout to platinum artist, Jay Pryor defies all stereotypes [Interview + The Radar Mix]
Electronic music is many things, but being short on stereotypes is not one of them. From the stigma that electronic music producers don’t make ‘real music’ to bros wearing the ultimate wannabe DJ uniform, there is always something to make fun of. While many reject that these stereotypes are laced with reality, Jay Pryor is a living embodiment of the electronic dance music era and all of its stereotypes — in the best possible way.
Jay Pryor is the bedroom producer who dropped out of college to become a famous musician after going to a Calvin Harris show on New Years Eve. Yes this really happened, and yes this worked out for him. Do not try this at home.
While Jay Pryor may not be a name electronic music fans recognize at first mention, it is a name that they likely will hear down the road. Think this promise is overstated? Pryor’s first major collaboration was one that he was not listed in the title for, but it has since gone Platinum. He was one of the masterminds behind hit single “Just Hold On” by Steve Aoki and Louis Tomlinson. Another mentor of his includes Nick Gale of Digital Farm Animals. To go from being a teen in Dublin at the skatepark on Saturdays to working with some of the biggest names in the electronic music industry, after deciding one day that electronic music was his calling, is an unusual story.
When considering where his future may take him, Pryor notes that he thinks the music industry is in a really inspirational place. He believes that now is the time for ‘fresh-faced’ producers like himself to come in with a new outlook and a unique style. While he picked up producing later on in his teens, Pryor has never been short on creativity. He even started his own graphic design firm when he was 15, and moving forward, he plans on designing his own music videos so that his tracks will be visually representative of his artistry.
Pryor is the exception, not the rule, when it comes to dropping out of college and becoming the next up and comer. He has defied all odds, and will be a producer to watch moving forward. He also is a featured artist for Dancing Astronaut’s The Radar series, where he has produced an energetic hour long mix showcasing past releasing and upcoming originals.
When did you become interested in music and start producing?
I started producing music 3 and a half years ago when I got back from a holiday with my friends after seeing Calvin Harris perform. I never really thought I had the confidence to create music and have an artist project, but once I started, my confidence quickly began to build. I realized this was the thing that people talk about, so I dropped out of college and started focusing on it full time!
Who are your musical inspirations?
Oh gosh, I’ll try and keep it short and sweet, but really I could go on and on about this. I really love where music is right now. There are a lot of fresh faced artists in the game that are bringing their own unique sound, look, and feel. Right now I’m really into Lil Skies, Bazzi, and also Tory Lanez – all those guys kill it. I also really have to mention Charli XCX too. She’s been crushing it for a minute, and her latest album is epic.
In terms of dance music, I love what DROELOE are doing. Brooks is someone I’ve looked up to for a while it. I’m also really excited by Virtual Self, which is Porter Robinson’s new moniker, and someone I used to constantly listen to when I started, and it’s dope to hear what he’s progressed to now.
Being 22 and co-producing “Just Hold On,” a track that has hit 400 million streams, must be pretty surreal. How does that feel?
Yeah, that was pretty sick. It didn’t really feel real until I saw it being premiered live on the X-Factor Final in Wembley Stadium. I’m forever thankful to Louis, Steve and their teams for that opportunity, and I just hope one day I can say I utilized that opportunity in the best way possible.
How would you characterize your style?
It’s hard to say right now. I’m writing a lot of music that is closer to my heart. I’m actually singing on a lot of my newer song ideas, and it feels really good. Of course, my music will always have dance influences and energy. But I want to portray an empowering message with my lyrics and a new sound. It’s epic, empowering, and makes you want to disrupt shit up. It makes you want to pave your own way, and do what feels right to you and only you. I can’t wait for you all to hear it.
Outside of producing music, what do you like to do?
Outside of producing music… I like writing music! But for real- I’m obsessed with art. I always have been. I actually started a graphic design company when I was 15, and I wouldn’t have gotten into creating music without it. I love everything visual as much as I love everything audible. I feel like a good brand represents your sound and message as much as the music does. I also helped write the treatment for my first music video, which I’m excited for you to see!