Music producer, engineer and UD alumni, Justina Bryce aka Likkle Jay joined us in 2013 where she started her engineering experience at the UD Studio. Since then, Justina has held her own studio sessions and worked on many projects for artists, film, adverts and sync. After many years of making beats from a young age, in April 2020 Likkle Jay self-released her debut single ‘Diamonds’, currently an MTV Base play-listed video. Despite 2020 being Likkle Jay’s first time self-releasing music, her productions have already racked up hundreds of thousands of streams. From working on the ‘NEXXT STEP – Behind Every Great City’ project in 2018, to more recent and upcoming releases from the likes of Chase Young, Vicky Pasion, Charlie Is Ready and more. Now, Likkle Jay is taking the next step in her musical journey by joining the prestigious Music Production Course at Abbey Road Institute.
We’re incredibly proud to have played a small part in Justina’s career and excited to see what’s next in the pipeline. We took the opportunity to chat to Justina about all things music.
What does music mean to you?
I think music is a huge part of life in general. It’s a powerful thing. Music is something that brings everyone together. I love how different songs can make you feel.
What does being a producer and engineer mean to you?
It means being able to be creative and bring an idea to life. They are both very important roles and crucial in how the end product of the song or project will sound.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I mostly get inspiration from listening to new music or from an idea presented to me by an artist.
What music are you listening to at the moment?
My overall favourite type of music is R&B. At the moment the artists that have been on my playlist are Blxst, Jazmine Sullivan, Bellah, Jvck James and Jevon to name a few.
Tell us about your debut self-released single ‘Diamonds’, what was your musical process?
I wanted to make an uplifting song with a motivational message. One about being able to be whatever you want to be – similar to ‘Nas – I Can’. I especially wanted the message shown in the video to be directed at young black and mixed individuals like ourselves. The musical process started with creating the beat. I got inspiration from a few 90s/2000s R&B and Hip-Hop tracks, especially ones that were part of movie soundtracks. The nostalgic feel is what I was going for. I then played around on the keyboard and recorded a few chords. The ideas/sounds just flowed from there. I knew KdotMelody and CHARLIE IS READY would be a perfect fit for the track and be able to convey the message as well as they did. I invited them to the studio for a writing session where we bounced lyric ideas off of eachother and was able to come up with the song Diamonds.
Tell us about the music video to ‘Escape’.
The storyline in the Escape music video came about from the idea of having a police chase. Zlyd (director) heard the track and got inspiration from the theme of ‘escaping’ in the lyrics. We decided to also incorporate the issue of racial profiling into the police chase but in a very light-hearted and comedic way. And a good R&B video just wouldn’t be complete without some amazing dancers and a love interest.
What’s next for Likkle Jay?
I’m looking forward to studying and learning more about music production. And just creating more music and hopefully releasing new tracks in the near future.
Do you have any advice for young artists looking to release their first single?
It’s good to plan your release and make sure you have everything ready. There’s loads of information on the internet about marketing and releasing music. Be confident in your music and put it out there.
What is UD to you?
UD is a great platform that supports and helps young talent.
How has UD helped you?
UD saw what I wanted to do and helped me train to become an engineer. They gave me my first experience holding real-life studio sessions. I also was able to meet a lot of music peers and industry professionals through their courses and networking events. I would definitely recommend others to get involved with their work!
Written by Klara Niklewicz