On Jay Elle’s new full-length, 12-song album, Ride the Wave, he shares his way of dealing with the pandemic. “I think that much of what we do in life is ride one wave after another, as best as we can,” says Jay. “Some waves are fun to ride…and some are tough. Riding a pandemic is no picnic. But what choice do we have? I take life as it comes, and ride the wave.” His refreshingly droll perspective no doubt aids him as he takes that ride. “The pandemic feels like one of those endless rainy days that I hated as a child. Boring!…There was no one to hang around with on rainy days. At home, I was on lock down with the same old toys. No guitar then. No internet. This new album is about how to best enjoy yourself while waiting for the sun to shine again.”
Music was always part of Jay Elle’s life, especially at family gatherings, and at home, the radio was always on. After learning a few guitar chords from a school friend and a cousin, Jay’s musical curiosity was piqued. But a lifelong obsession with the beauty and power of song ignited when his aunt bought him a guitar of his own. Jay remembers, “I…dedicated more time to guitar playing and songwriting than other activities. I would get this spine tingling feeling when I heard certain songs, a blast of energy, like I could do just about anything. It felt hopeful and positive.”
That positive energy led Jay to the Geneva Conservatory of Music, where he studied theory, composition, classical guitar, and singing. But with his heart more attuned to popular music, he soon joined a band and dove into blues, rock, jazz and pop. Rather than a rebellion against classical music, he sees his journey into the pop realm as more of a move toward the middle of the musical spectrum. It’s really all about the song: “Between the rigor of rendering a classical piece as it was written, and the open fields of blues or jazz improvisation, I feel that the pop song format is ideal if you can bring some of these elements together to serve a great melody and meaningful lyrics.”
Seeking the roots of blues, jazz, and pop, at age 22, Jay relocated to the United States. Living in New York City opened up a lot of musical opportunities, and he has now been actively making music for more that two decades.