Edmonton-raised performer Jevy Jayy hits Rogers Place stage opening for Asake

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When Jevy Jayy was a kid her grandfather used to sing calypso to her.

No surprise, then, that as she got older she decided to get involved in…ballet?

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“I mean, I always sang as well, but I just became known more for my dancing,” says the Bajan-Canadian singer, who will be performing as an opening act for Grammy-nominated Nigerian Afro-pop star Asake at Rogers Place next Saturday. “I swear I was born with a mic. My mom would always make that joke. She’d say, ‘from the time you were small you told me that you wanted to be a performer.’ So I was that child that when everyone would come over my mom would make eye contact with me and say ‘Okay, Jevy’s going to sing for us.’ ”

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From those early family performances, Jayy became addicted to the stage. She recalls being cast as Fritz, one of the Stahlbaum children in Alberta Ballet’s The Nutcracker, and dancing with Ballet Edmonton, then known as Citie Ballet. Her taste in music accommodated not only her grandfather’s love of calypso, but opera and classical music as well. She picked up Ukrainian dancing and danced with Shumka, which Jayy finds amusing since she herself is Caribbean.

“I was always enamoured by different cultures and dances, especially Ukrainian,” she says. “It’s a very beautiful style of dance, and such a beautiful culture.”

It’s only in the last year or so that Jayy’s music career has taken off. The singer says that she was picked up for a distribution deal by Sony Music, and studio work has begun in earnest. Her first single, Dance With Me, dropped back in November of last year, establishing Jayy as a rising force in Canadian Afro-Caribbean pop.

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“I don’t think it was something where I was like, ‘Oh, I’m just gonna do it now, ‘“ she says. “It was always a part of me, but I just feel like as a singer and songwriter it just evolved. As I got older I was able to kind of take some inspiration from other artists who kind of paved the way before me such as Rihanna. I think it just took some figuring out to see how my music would be portrayed.”

According to Jayy, Dance With Me has already made an impact, having been streamed in over 50 countries. The next step is to expand her territory as an artist with a steady stream of singles. Coming up next is a tune called InTOXICated, which Jayy describes as a song about being overwhelmed by the feeling of love. It’s all part of Jayy’s plan to introduce the world music to what she says is her own genre, Afro-Caribbean, which she notes is a fusion between Afrobeat and Caribbean sounds.

Jayy’s allegiance to Alberta is strong, as is her respect for local promoter HunterTvAfrica, who is adding her to the show.

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“He’s an Indigenous promoter in this city, which is really cool,” she notes. “It’s also huge that he’s bringing one of the largest Afro-pop stars to this city with Asake. I feel so proud that I’m able to perform in Edmonton because it just shows how multicultural our city is. They could have chosen anywhere to hold it; they could have gone to Vancouver or somewhere else, but they chose Edmonton and I feel like that’s a testament to where I grew up, this amazing multicultural city. We’ve heard of a ton of artists coming from Toronto, but I think this next wave of artists are going to be coming out of Alberta. Alberta is the place to be with so many different genres and so much diversity.”

This is just the beginning for Jayy. Along with inTOXICated, which drops on April 20, she’ll also be releasing her first music video at the end of May. She’s not yet naming names, but Jayy reveals that the director has also worked with Chris Brown, Drake and The Weeknd as well.

Jayy is somewhat evasive on the question of future performances but allows that she would like to tour, with possible large arena shows and global festivals in the planning stages. There’s a backlog of singles to be released, and more recordings in the future. Opportunities are presenting themselves, though she can’t go into details just yet. What Jayy most wants to convey is that she hopes to spread her music as far as she can.

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“I think it’s even deeper than that,” she pauses on reflection. “It’s just to make an emotional connection with my audience. The combination of recording and performing helps me to better make that connection, and creates an amazing experience where I bring them together. I mean, in the end II make music to bring joy to people. .

Plans have been laid, but for now we have to wait as Jayy’s full artistic potential is unleashed through 2024.

“I’m so excited about the future,” she says “I feel like I am in the process of making a stamp as a Bajan-Canadian artist and really showing what Edmonton has to offer. If you’re in a city like this, and especially Alberta, you can start within the arts, grow and have opportunities to expand countrywide and globally. And I really see myself as the next big thing within the Afro-Caribbean world.”

Asake

With Rotimi and Jevy Jayy
When Saturday, April 20 at 8 p.m.
Where Rogers Place
Tickets $78.15 and up, available in advance from ticketmaster.com

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