Tag Archives: Jay

Stranger 96/100 – Jay

100 Strangers - JayStranger 96/100 – Jay

“You’re the only person that can be responsible for your own happiness.”

Meet Jay.

What advice would you give to your younger self? “I would say that, at the end of the day, you’re the only person that can be responsible for your own happiness. Everybody goes through their respective struggles, but what makes the difference is how you choose to handle that… how you choose to get back up again. And the moment that you decide that you can’t get up again is where you’ve lost.”

Nice… did you practice for this? “No. {laughs}”

What is your biggest challenge right now”? “My biggest challenge is… finding a dream that’s worth working for. I moved out here for work… in this treadmill of work here… providing value for somebody else. And the things I want to do for myself, my dreams, have gotten lost by the wayside. The passion I used to have when I was younger is gone because of this work. So, now I’m trying to save. I’m trying to get some studio time… I do music. I’m trying to pursue that dream and put it at the forefront of my life rather than having it on the back burner.”

Where do you want to be in ten years? “I would want to be a semi-successful musician and model.”

What kind of music do you make? “I began my music career as a jazz musician. I play drums, guitar, bass and piano. In college I took to producing, mixing, mastering, rapping… I’ve always sang, but years of smoking have caught up to me, so I’m not as great a singer as I used to be or as I could have been. But I do still rap, so what I create is kind of an alternative hip-hop. I don’t really fit into any given genre because I don’t want to tell the same stories. I mean talking about money is cool, you know, if you have it, but I’d rather talk abut things that are real and that I’ve experienced.”

If you could put a billboard up in Charlotte, what would it say? “I’d probably put in really big letters ‘Think’. It’s not a lot to go off of, so any meaning that you draw from it is purely internal.”

Technical Notes: I had taken some photos using a reflector before we stepped into the doorway for the interview. During the interview, I noticed how amazing the light and shadow s looked on Jay’s face. I asked him if I could take another shot, and this is the result with no lights or modifiers.

Stranger 82/100 – Jay

100 Strangers - JayStranger 82/100 – Jay

I ran into our next stranger as he was on his way to open a bank account for his new tattoo business.

Meet Jay.

Tell me about Tattooing. When did you get into that? “I was around 19 when I got into it. My brother was the one that really was the first one to tattoo in our family. So, he got me into it.”

Where do you want to be in ten years? “Honestly, an empire. Yeah, an empire of tattoo shops, some property and definitely having a shop in Europe. I heard the Netherlands are really nice. I’ve been to Sicily. But I do want to check out the Netherlands. I’ll be going there hopefully this September. I’ll at least be able to go out there for a week and check it out and, you know, meet some people.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “Save up every dollar. I’d start with that. When I started tattooing, I realized that I could have definitely had a shot when I was about 22.”

If you had saved up? “Yeah.”

What did you spend it all on? “Hell, I was young. {laughs} I was young, man. What did I not spend it on?”

What made you realize that you needed to save money? “I did end up in a few situations where I was actually incarcerated. I was in jail for a little while… nothing serious… just six months. After that I was like… I just need to focus on my art.”

What is your biggest challenge right now? “That’s kind of a tough one because I mean it’s like, right now, I feel like the path has cleared up a lot. So, I guess staying focused… because there’s always things that are just popping up and trying to take you off your task. Yeah, just staying focused that’s basically number one.”

Technical Notes: It was a clear, sunny day, so I positioned Jay in a shaded area facing the bright street. I used a reflector to light up his face.