Posted On 21 Jan 2019
Get to know Sony RED Music’s Australian pop recording artist and social media sensation Jai Waetford!
Waetford is poised for a breakout year with his first official single of the year, “Friends,” which was recently released and already clocked over 1.3 million streams and been featured on 15 New Music Friday Spotify playlists globally.
The digital savvy 19-year-old musician—who finished in third place on the fifth season of The X Factor Australia and has opened and toured with international pop superstars Selena Gomez and Little Mix—already has an impressive list of accolades to his name at home and abroad.
These accomplishments include:
Cumulative streams amounting to 510 million worldwide.
An ever-growing social media empire of 2.2 million that consists of: 550K Spotify monthly listeners, 891K YouTube, 510K Instagram, 655K Facebook and 200K Twitter followers
A Top 10 single in Australia with “Your Eyes” that was certified ARIA-Gold.
A debut EP that entered the album charts in 16 countries and peaked at #21 on the ARIA Album Chart in Australia.
A recurring role on the Australian soap opera Neighbours (149 episodes in 2016).
Learn more about Jai Waetford in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you now?
Jai: It’s currently 9:16pm and I’m in bed with my girlfriend about to watch a movie.
Now that 2019 has started, what musical goals do you have yourself this new year?
Jai: I want to release a track every couple of months, keep my music up to date and current with the trends, and remain true to myself and what I like.
Did you make any new year’s resolutions?
Jai: Not this year, which is a first, I feel like my goals are so broad and different that it’s hard to pick one to dedicate the new year to.
Growing up, how important was music in your life?
Jai: It was and still is my favorite thing ever, I always felt a connection to it and used to find myself in bed fully submerged in a cheap pair of headphones trying to pin point what sounds and moments I liked in a song.
Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician?
Jai: Music was never something I had even imagined being able to make a career out of, it was just a pure love for music and the joy and escape it brought me, over time I decided to spend more time on it and eventually auditioned for The X Factor Australia and since then I haven’t really looked back.
Was it an easy or difficult choice to make? Was there ever a time when you thought about doing something else?
Jai: I was 14 when I auditioned for The X Factor so at that time I was so naive and had no idea what I wanted or where I wanted it to go. It took me a while after the show to really absorb how my life had changed and I never really had the chance to stop and think if there was anything else I’d rather do, but I came around to it and realized I was exactly where I wanted to be and I still am. I’m a big believer that God is good and everything happens for a reason.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career?
Jai: How much there is to learn and how long the journey to my goals really are. I’m glad it’s something I love doing because I have a long way to go and I know it’s going to take a lot of hard work and a fair bit of time.
What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
Jai: The uncertainty of it all is scary at times and the thought of, “What if today is the most successful I’ll ever be?” But that thought inspires me to work harder and be better at what I do.
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live today?
Jai: I don’t think I would have wanted to grow up anywhere else, I love my family and my friends and I’m grateful for the upbringing I’ve had. I think that reflects in my music—you won’t ever hear me brag or boast about what I have because growing up we never had anything and that helps me appreciate what I have now.
What do you think being on The X Factor Australia taught you about music, performing and being in this business?
Jai: It taught me to make the most of what ever opportunities come my way and to work hard for what you want because if you’re not working the hardest you can at what you love, there will always be someone better who’s working harder.
Would you do the whole show over again if you could?
Jai: For the pure fun of it and the amazing time I had with the crew and other contestants? 100000%!
And what would you do differently another time?
Jai: I would have probably waited until I was a bit older, but then again if I did that I wouldn’t know what I do now.
Would you recommend young aspiring artists to try out for a music and singing show like that one?
Jai: It’s honestly up to you, if you feel it would be good for you and you’ve got the guts to do something like that, then for sure! There are so many ways to gain recognition these days in the industry so it’s really up to you.
Let’s talk about your newest single, “Friends.” What was the inspiration for it?
Jai: It’s about the online world and the dangers of people being one persona online and the complete opposite in person.
What was it like making the music video for it?
Jai: It was the smoothest and most fun music video I’ve ever shot! The crew were legends, the locations were amazing, the studio setup was exactly how I wanted it, and I was super happy just to be there doing it.
How creatively involved with the making of it were you?
Jai: I love the creative side of things so most of the shots and story lines stemmed from ideas that I had. I am super picky when it comes to visuals and stuff so I like to be as involved as possible.
When do you hope to release more new music and a full album of new songs?
Jai: I’m constantly in the studio working on new music, and honing my craft. I’m going to continue to put out new music throughout the year, which will make up a larger body of work, whether that be an EP or an album.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms?
Jai: My socials are just a reflection of my day to day life. If I am doing something and want people to see, I capture it and share it with whatever platform feels right. It’s a good way to for people to feel in touch with what I’m doing.
Is it hard to stay up to date on it all?
Jai: Sometimes depending on what I’m doing but I try not to stress about it too much, real life is a lot more valuable than that on a screen.
What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?
Jai: Live video is sooooo cool, being able to talk and interact with real people in real time is sick, makes social media seem a lot more personal and real than just standard posts.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music?
Jai: There’s a list of about 50 songs that changes every couple of months but right now it’s Travis Scott , Jorja Smith and The Weeknd.
Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
Jai: Frank Ocean, his older stuff is genius and I think I could learn a lot from him.
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island forever, what musical item would you take with you and why?
Jai: My guitar, because it’s the only one I play well! Hahaha
If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on?
Jai: South Park, completely irrelevant but it was one of the only shows I watched as a kid.
What do you think makes an ideal show for you?
Jai: A crowd that’s just down to have fun and make the most of the environment. As long as they’re happy, I’m happy.
Do you have any tour dates you would like to tell our readers about?
Jai: I’m doing some dates later this month on the east coast of Australia, we’ll be playing in Sydney and doing a couple of shows in Melbourne. I’m hoping to get a chance to tour for some of my overseas fans this year too, we’re working on it.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music?
Jai: I think that whatever they choose to take away from it is completely fine as long as they believe the lyrics as much as I did when I was writing them.
I’d like to know more about how you want your music to be timeless?
Jai: I’m still new to this but creating music that connects to people on more than just a musical level inspires me. I feel like creating a personal experience every time someone listens to a song is pretty powerful, so that’s the goal.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
Jai: Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope you have an amazing day!