Recently, we reached out to up-and-coming producer JAYBeatz to talk about how he got his start producing, and how he comes up with his insanely popular mash-ups. Below, is the outcome of that interview. Jay was also kind enough to give us the exclusive first listen to his latest mash-up: Tinashe x Drake – “2 On” (A JAYBeatz Mashup)”. Listen to the exclusive, and peep the interview below:
Kind of a broad question, but to start, who is JAYBeatz?
JAYBeatz, Jarion Alexander, is a 21 year old Hip-Hop/R&B producer/mashup artist/college student from Charlotte, NC.
How did you get your start with producing? What made you want to produce?
Near the end of high school, I use to play around with instrumentals of popular songs at the time and I with mix them with acapella tracks I could find just to see how they would sound together. I enjoyed doing that a lot so I began making little amateur blends/mashups but I didn’t share them with anyone. Then I got the thought “What if I made my own beat mix with the track?” That was when I got into production for the first time. It wasn’t until I got into college when I became serious. One of my best friends, who is a rapper, was trying to put out a mixtape and I told him I started making beats, so we started working on it together. I downloaded some programs and kept messing around with them until I got good and fell in love with it.
Who are some of your producer inspirations? What do you listen to get inspired?
Timbaland, The Neptunes, Kanye West & Just Blaze and have produced MANY of my favorite songs; they are probably my biggest influences when it comes to production. Also I’m heavily influenced by Noah “40” Shebib’s ambient style of production, T-Minus & Boi1da. To get inspired I just listen to good music. If I’m trying to make a track with a certain vibe, I’ll listen to a track with a similar vibe to get ideas flowing.
A lot of your mash-ups are insanely popular (the Jhene Aiko x Frank Ocean x The Weeknd “Runaway” mash-up has over 2.5 million streams on SoundCloud alone). Did you expect them to become so popular?
Honestly not at all. 2.5 million plays is pretty crazy to me. And a few of the artists have acknowledged and shared the mixes; I never would’ve expected that, haha. I’m just super appreciative and grateful people continue to love, share and support my work.
What has been your favorite mash-up to create?
I would have to go with my “We All Love Beyonce” mashup. That one took a little longer to do, but I had a lot of fun making that one. I feel it is one of my more creative mashups and I tried some techniques I’ve never tried before on that one. I received a lot of positive feedback on that one also. My favorites change all the time since I enjoy making each one.
Now, you don’t only do mash-ups, you also have some pretty sick original productions. What’s your process like when you’re building these beats from the ground up?
I make all my beats using my laptop and FL Studio. I have a MIDI keyboard I use occasionally also. My process changes frequently, it just depends on what I am trying to create. Sometimes I’ll start with some nice drums or a drum break, and other times I’ll start with the melody. Sometimes I’ll hear a nice sample on youtube, and I’ll automatically open up FL Studio and try to flip it into something nice. I’d say on average it takes about 2-4 hours to make a completely finished product, depending on how complex it is.
I saw that recently, rapper XV put out a track (“My Town”) that was produced by you. Are there any other artists you’re hoping to work with soon?
Yeah “My Town” was a track I co-produced with a producer named Zuki and he ending up getting it to XV. Big “thank you” to him for and putting the song on his EP. For some upcoming rappers, I’d like to work with Chance the Rapper, Isaiah Rashad and Rich Homie Quan. I would love to work with some R&B artists like Tinashe, August Alsina, Rochelle Jordan, Eric Bellinger, Jhene Aiko, etc.
What’s been your favorite production/song to come out in the past year, and why?
Overall I’d go with “IV Play” by The-Dream. The-Dream is one of my favorite artists, and I just love the old-school early 90’s R&B vibe. It’s one of my favorite songs this decade.
This year I’d go with “Man x Woman” by Mar. It has a perfect blend of a 90’s House vibe and R&B, and the beat switch-up is mind-blowing. Amazing track.
So what’s next for JAYBeatz?
I have some local and upcoming artists I’ve been working with and we should be dropping some more tracks over the summer. I have an instrumental tape I’m working on currently that I want to get out sometime during the summer also. And I’m always working on more mashups so I want to get another mashup mixtape out this year; a sequel to “High Volume Mashups: Vol. I”. And just continuing to learn, grow and get better as an artist.
Dope! Thanks for kicking it with us man!
Great talking with you, thanks for reaching out. It’s been a pleasure.