GET TO KNOW: Jirias
After honing his craft for the last decade, making the journey from jazz musician to rapper, New Jersey-born Palestinian-American artist Jirias has now returned to deliver his breezy new single 'Steve Jobs'.
Channelling a wonderfully smooth and atmospheric aesthetic, 'Steve Jobs' makes for a brilliantly enticing listen. With his own killer flow riding a bed of woozy and ethereal beats, his newest gem showcases a name brimming with potential and exciting ideas.
So with the new single available now, we sat down with him to find out more about his background and influences over the years.
What was the first band or artist you fell in love with?
The first band I fell in love with was Panic at the disco in 5th grade, after they released their first album. I wanted to be Brendan Urie so bad. My first email address as a kid was “panicatnintendo”. Now I don’t really keep up with them as much, but I still love some songs.
Did you ever form a band when you were younger and if so, what did they sound like?
Yeah I’ve formed a couple jazz quintets when I was younger. I used to only listen to jazz in high school because I really wanted to get good at improvisation. I used to play at Maggiano’s Little Italy when I was 17/18 for exposure. We were one of the first jazz quintets on soundcloud, so a couple of our early songs now how a bunch of plays. I have not formed a traditional band since around 17.
What has been your primary inspiration in writing music?
My primary inspiration in writing music has been to capture powerful emotional expression. I know that sounds pretty cliche, but I really just chase a certain feeling. Jazz improvisation at the highest level feels like flying, and if your ears can really keep up with what’s happening you have a window to a whole new world. I make music for those listeners who are looking for nuanced, mature hip hop and R&B because I see a window in hip hop that hasn’t been brought to light yet in my opinion. I really want those people who listen to jazz and have trained ears for hip hop sound production to check out my music because you’ll probably appreciate the most. But, if a song doesn’t fundamentally make me giddy and excited, I usually end up scrapping it. I only put out songs that I think no one else could bring to life but myself. I’m hoping I achieved something close to that with my latest work.
What is a song you wish you had written yourself?
Right now I’ve been listening to that Silk Sonic album and I really like “Smoking Out The Window.” If that isn’t the most accurate song emotionally and tonally released in the past month I’ll be damned. I usually get sick of Bruno Mars voice but the way he spills out those sweet falsetto notes on this is crazy. Sounds like Brent Faiyaz and that’s a much needed refresh for Bruno. Breezy Lovejoy, I mean… Anderson .Paak is always one of my favorite artists to hear on any track. Great combo and they hit a home run on this track.
If there was any moment in your career you could relive, what would it be?
Back in the earlier days of Soundcloud I was coming up around the time of Yung Gravy and I reached out to do a song. He wanted $300 for a feature and that was pretty reasonable, but I just didn’t have the money at the time and honestly I had no idea he’d blow up like that. Maybe 2 months later he was huge. Should have got the money together on that, but hindsight is 20/20.
Which artist would you most love to share a stage with?
Childish Gambino is my pick, I think he’s the original Internet personality. There are probably artists like .Paak that are “technically” better than Gambino but that level of influence Gambino has as a human on this planet is beyond any other artist in pretty much any field—he’s become a new archetype of a person in terms of artistic influence. I respect anyone that constantly tanks their own career, but still succeeds in the end. He’ll burn it all to the ground if it’s not perfect or genuine, and I respect that.
And is there an artist you would love to collaborate with as well?
Top two artists I want to collaborate with are Kanye West and Frank Ocean. This is the peak of hip hop/R&B to me, and making an amazing song with either of these artists could be any song writer’s biggest achievement in life. Imagine having that one Kanye song that everyone really loves. Or being featured on a Frank Ocean album? Forget it, that would be a dream come true, a one in a million opportunity.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
I see myself working as an attorney while also working with a major label to release tasteful, mature hip hop, R&B, and jazz content. I want to make music that stays relevant over time. Longevity is my goal in music. I will be here making music no matter what and I’m improving really fast with engineering everything myself. At the same time, I’m a law student who intends to use that opportunity to help as many people as possible. I’m trying to turn into a key for my community. The best thing for me would be to know everyone I can in the music business, and in the legal field. I also want to give opportunities to artists I really believe in because too many artists right now are biting Arab culture and I want the real to rise up. I’m trying to “Donald Glover” this thing lol.
Jirias' new single 'Steve Jobs' is available to stream now. Check out the new video for it below.