Getting To Know... Jerry Jean

Having already established himself with a wealth of riveting releases these last few years, New York-based artist Jerry Jean returns once again to deliver his breezy new single 'Lean In'.

Teaming up with singer Nicole Zuraitis for the new offering, 'Lean In' makes for an incredibly rich and shimmering listen. With its bold and euphoric soul-inspired textures, soaring atmosphere, and compelling vocals layered throughout, he is certainly looking to get our toes tapping with this one.

So with the new single available to stream now, we sat down with him to find out more about his origins and what has been inspiring him most over the years.


What was the first instrument you fell in love with?

Although I’m primarily a singer and pianist, I initially fell in love with the violin. It was my first instrument at 4 years old. Growing up, I distinctly remember playing in a youth orchestra, getting goosebumps at rehearsals, and hoping other people could share in those sensations. I wanted everyone to understand how awesome music could make you feel.

What kind of music did you love when you were younger?

As a child, I enjoyed classical music along with popular songs from previous generations, and also jazz. Chopin, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Elton John, The Beatles, Queen, Duke Ellington were on heavy rotation. I’d play and sing the songs that captured me at the piano. In high school, I had already stopped taking classical piano lessons and begun diving into jazz, eventually getting into New Jersey’s All-State jazz band as a pianist. Although I was very aware of the big hits of the time playing on Z100, the popular NYC radio station in my area, I gravitated more towards the songs of yesteryear.

What was the first album you remember owning?

I remember being in a local music shop as a child and crushing hard over this goddess of a woman on the cover of a CD. I hadn’t yet reached puberty, but I wanted to marry her. It was Mariah Carey’s debut album. I had no idea what the music would sound like, but after buying the CD based on the cover photo, I was absolutely floored by her singing. Incredible power, range, expression, and tone! To this day, early Mariah’s voice is unparalleled.

What is the one song you wished you could have written yourself?

Bridge Over Troubled Water. I love how it melds intimate, comforting vibes with epic swells. The bones of the song, just the lyrics and melody, are classic and durable so you can dress the song up and interpret it multiple ways. The song has a beautiful, universal vibe.

Do you have any habits or rituals you go through when trying to write new music?

When composing a new song, I usually start at my keyboard and sing and play according to my feelings at the moment. I’ll vocalise nonsensical lyrics, but at this stage it’s just about splashing paint on the wall. I’ll record snippets with my phone and label good ideas in my voice memos. The music and lyrics often materialise simultaneously. I enjoy this stage the most, because it feels like catching the muse without editing.

Who are your favourite artists you have found yourself listening to at the moment?

Recently, I’ve been enjoying Emily King, John Batiste, and Jacob Collier. All fantastic musicians who feed the soul in their own distinct way and are not boxed into a fixed genre. Music should be fluid.

If you could open a show for anyone in the world, who would it be?

Well, if I had a time machine, I’d choose Aretha Franklin. She’s the absolute queen whose artistry transcends race and time. What a legendary voice!

What do you find is the most rewarding part about being a musician?

For me, the most rewarding part is the record making. I enjoy creating and crafting something new, getting it to the finish line, and publishing it to the world. Making records is like writing a book. You put so much effort into it and it’s often a Herculean battle with yourself. But a minor miracle later, you have something tangible in the end that can be enjoyed again and again.

And what is the most frustrating part?

Technical problems such as software glitches, formatting issues for online posts, song metadata accuracy, are all things that usually have little to do with creativity but are important to address. The modern musician must wear many hats. As technology keeps evolving, the amount of time spent dealing with the technology seems to increase as well.

And what is the best piece of advice you have received as a musician?

You need only be the best version of yourself. It takes years to hone your voice and you may imitate others in the process initially, but ultimately it’s your own voice that needs to be heard.


Jerry Jean's new single 'Lean In' is available to stream now. Check it out in the player below.