“Be kind to yourself” — I honestly believe that the only opinion of YOU, that should matter, is the one you give yourself. The way you talk to yourself, treat yourself, accept yourself — IS SO IMPORTANT. It’s vital that you be kind to yourself. Treat yourself with respect. You can be realistic, but being mean and self-loathing is not how you want to spend your time. LOVE YOURSELF! BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!
I had the pleasure of interviewing 25-yr. old Jayse Vegas.
Jayse Vegas is an independent artist born and raised in New York City. Since his debut EP in 2015, Jayse Vegas has been the writer and co-producer of their own music. Vegas has been the creative mind behind all of his visuals, performances and productions. After winning multiple awards and hosting over 100 events in the tri-state area, this multi talented artist is ready to conquer the world.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I was born and raised in Queens, New York. Until the age of 19, I lived with my mom and grandma in Queensbridge, with my younger siblings. I attended elementary school and middle school in Queens (P.S. 122, I.S. 204), and High School in Manhattan (H.S. of Arts and Technology). I grew up a lot faster than most people have to. I’ve been working since the ago of 15, and openly gay since the same age. At an early age I had to learn how to provide for myself and my family, as well as stay safe in a world where “my kind” wasn’t the most accepted.
I always had this drive and passion for music. In elementary school I was recommended to join the school chorus, and I started writing songs in High School (where I’d perform every chance given). After graduating High School, I soon got a job in retail — since then I’ve used almost every dollar I’ve made towards my music.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
Growing up, there were a lot of confusing times in my life. A lot of really high “HIGHS”, and a lot of scary lows. However, at an early age I found something that made it all level out. It was music! Music became my gateway, it became my ways of expression. Whenever I felt something I knew putting on music, or putting it into music, would help.
It is cliché to say, “Music saved my life”, but MUSIC SAVED MY LIFE. When I realized that power, I knew I wanted to transfer that same energy in what I did. I love to sing, I love to dance, I love to write, but the thing I love the most is giving people something they’ve needed to feel. I’ve wanted to “save lives” like mine was, through music.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
In 2016, I worked the door for a LGBTQ+ nightlife award ceremony. That year it was held at Stage 48, and like every year, almost everyone who worked in the scene was there. I had just begun bar hopping for gigs, and dancing background for a friend, but this award show was an amazing introduction to what I was about to step into. What makes this story so interesting, is that by the end of the night I made a promise to myself that I’d get nominated for an award, and perform the next year — AND I DID IT. Since then I’ve performed there every year, and have been nominated for a total of 7 awards — winning four.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
This one time I didn’t double check the songs I sent to a DJ, and during my set, I realized I gave them the wrong set list. There was an extended performance track mixed in with my songs that required choreography and dancers, and props — but, there was only me, in uncomfortable shoes, and wireless mic on stage. I learned two things that night. The first thing I learned was that I have an amazing auto-pilot system- I completely took that stage by storm- THANK GOODNESS. The other thing I learned was to be more responsible with my performances, and communicate more with the person running the tracks.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Since I haven’t been able to perform, and the recording studio has been closed since the beginning of the Covid Outbreak, I’ve been channeling my creativity into my music videos.
I just recently put out four music videos on my Youtube channel, in August, and I’ve got a few more coming in October. Starting October 1st, with a video for a revised and remastered version of my song, ENERGY.
One of my personal favorite songs from, THE GAY AGENDA, is a track titled, BLASPHEMY. There’s a remix coming out, with a video, featuring Aja. I’m really excited about that! The song is about dealing with the voices in your head, and the music video is about breaking me out of an asylum.
I’m currently working on THE GAY AGENDA II. Which will feature four brand new songs, and a visual project. THE GAY AGENDA, is the title of my last EP, it followed messages of manifestation and acceptance. Part two, will continue with those discoveries, and also introduce the powers of perception and gratitude. The songs are a combination of deep-house, and some latin flavors. I’m hoping to drop the first single off of that in January.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
Having diversity represented in film and television is important because of the power it has to influence the viewers. A huge reason I don’t watch much television or movies is because there’s not a lot of casts or storylines that include anyone I can relate to. Because of this, it sometimes feels discouraging, or isolating, or just a level of fiction I don’t care to deal with.
Having diversity represented everywhere is important. It brings inspiration, it opens the mind’s of viewers, and it makes everything more realistic. I am excited to be the representation I was looking for when I was a child — and the representation I’m looking for now.
Communities could come together, learn from one another, and live a little more peacefully if we stopped trying to exclude certain people from the media.
With all the being said, I’m ready to be Disney’s first openly gay prince. Or Marvel’s first openly gay Spider-Man.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
This is tricky, because I’m very stubborn. So, even if I was told one of these five things — I’m not sure if it would’ve made a difference. I’m a person who, um, “learns from experience”. With THAT being said, here are five things I’ve learned throughout my journey, that I hope encourages someone to… make more thought out decisions.
- “Not every opportunity needs to be taken.” — As an independent artist, as an entrepreneur, I understand the excitement of getting to our goals. Often, we’re handed opportunities that could “help” get to them quicker. Sometimes this is a double-edged sword. I’ve invested time and money into things that I could have done without. I’ve also passed on opportunities that could’ve gotten me on a TV show, but they didn’t align with who I was trying to become as an artist. Now, when I’m presented with opportunities, instead of jumping on board right away — I think about the ways it can help with my movement.
- “Be kind to yourself” — I honestly believe that the only opinion of YOU, that should matter, is the one you give yourself. The way you talk to yourself, treat yourself, accept yourself — IS SO IMPORTANT. It’s vital that you be kind to yourself. Treat yourself with respect. You can be realistic, but being mean and self-loathing is not how you want to spend your time. LOVE YOURSELF! BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!
- “In 2020, there’s going to be a worldwide pandemic that is going to shift life as we know it. Invest in home studio equipment and rubbing alcohol! It’s going to be six months of no gigs, no vaccine, and one stimulus check (only 1200 dollar, don’t be too excited).” — I don’t think I need a story to explain this one, but, if I had a studio at home I definitely would’ve released a lot more music this year.
- “Your intentions are all that matter.” — I’ve learned that you can’t trust everyone’s intentions. It doesn’t matter though, people are going to do whatever they want to do. So, focus on what you do, the things you do, and why you do them. If you’re working positively, and projecting optimism, what the person next to you is doing or thinks, doesn’t matter.
- “Practice acceptance, perception, and gratitude.” — Life is going to give you everything you need, put you everywhere you need to be, and show you everything you need to see. Accept who you are and where you come from, give yourself an optimistic perspective, and be grateful for how far you’ve come because you’ll always have so much further to go.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Remind yourself of your purpose. Remember that someone is always watching. Whether it’s one person, or one million. Someone thinks you’re awesome! Someone thinks you’re cool! Someone is looking forward to you not giving up.
I’ve felt completely burnt out at one point. Never felt good enough, never felt like I was going to be accepted by the mainstream. I’ve invested my entire life into myself, and sometimes the hard work has paid half back, or less. However, there are changes being made in the lives around me that make it worth it.
When I feel down and out, I remind myself of that thing I said earlier, “I’ve wanted to “save lives” like mine was, through music.“. For me, that’s my purpose, and it keeps me from burning out all the time.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
My objective is to start a movement with my career. I want to take the world by storm with love and acceptance. It’s in everything I write, sing, and perform. It’s what I call, THE GAY AGENDA.
The key to happiness is fully loving and accepting ourselves, as well as everyone around us.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
As I thought about the answer to this question, I received a phone call — from the person whose name was the first to pop into my head. A coincidence? Haha, I’m a little bugged out by it. Their name is Robert Garcia.
Robert Garcia, has become one of my best friends and biggest support systems over the last few years. From recording a song together, to hosting shows together, to riding through some of the craziest times in both of our lives, we’ve built a bond like no other. I’m extremely grateful for our friendship, they’ve made me more aware of my talents, and purpose.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Everything happens for a reason.”
I use this in my song, NO MERCY. I say it to myself daily to help sharpen my perception. I’m not obsessed with giving “everything” a purpose, but I am aware that everything we experience is a learning opportunity. Nothing is a waste of time, and you’re always where you’re supposed to be.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Madonna. Honestly, she’s the one who really inspired me to be who I am today. I always loved music, but it wasn’t until my mom introduced me to Madonna, that I knew for sure I wanted to be a performer. From her songs, to her visuals, to her IDGAF ATTITUDE, to her love for the LGBTQIA community! Everything about her has empowered me. I often found myself asking “What would Madonna do?” — in a lot of instances. No, that wasn’t a GLEE reference either, I’m serious.
I’d want an opportunity to just talk. Maybe about music, but more so about life and how she’s found ways to stay so strong and brave throughout the years, especially when she first started. I’d like to personally thank her, a lot of her work and the ways she put herself out there has greatly inspired me.
How can our readers follow you online?
Most importantly, you can follow me on all streaming platforms, APPLE MUSIC, SPOTIFY, TiDAL, YOUTUBE, and more — just search JAYSE VEGAS.
I’m most active on INSTAGRAM, follow @JAYSEVEGAS.
You can find my merchandise at JAYSEVEGAS.COM
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!
Thank you! I appreciate you taking the time to get to know me!