Jayda G (CA)

Artist & Speaker

When her father got sick, a young Jayda was only vaguely aware of why her older sister would accompany him to a quiet room with a video camera for hours on end. It was only later, after his passing when she was just ten years old, that she discovered he had been documenting his life story, for her. Those tapes — some eleven-hours of them — formed the genesis of “Guy”, Jayda’s latest album project, named eponymously after her dad, William Richard Guy, and released on Ninja Tune on June 9th 2023. Jayda’s infatuation with music was sparked early, beginning with lessons in piano and violin from the age of 5, her tastes began to form around the impressive collection of records her dad — an avid collector — had built up of Soul, R&B, Funk and Blues. From her mum came a love of Jazz, from her sister an important appreciation for Disco, and from her brother, who was working in the Canadian music industry at the time, CD promo’s through the post that exposed her to defining artists such as D’Angelo and TLC. Following stints in LA and Vancouver, a move to Europe’s electronic music-meca Berlin would prove an important catalyst for Jayda, spurring her to eventually write and release her first solo projects: 2016’s ‘Jaydaisms’, 2018’s standout ‘Diva Bitch’ single, featuring long-time vocal collaborator and childhood friend Alexa Dash, and ‘Sacred Spaces’, released the same year on her own JMG Recordings imprint. Her debut album “Significant Changes” was released on Ninja Tune in 2019 and met with incredible praise from the likes of The Guardian, Mixmag (who made Jayda their ‘Cover Star’), Pitchfork, Dazed, Resident Advisor, Crack, NME and many more. The release of her mid-pandemic single “Both Of Us” (2021), created with producer Fred Again.. would prove to be a pivotal moment for Jayda. Paying tribute to the dancefloors of the past and drawing on her love of classic, uplifting house, the track quickly took on a life of its own among fans, drawing an outpouring of critical praise that saw it named as one of the “Songs of the Year” by Pitchfork, NPR, Billboard, The Guardian, NME, NYLON, Clash and many, many more, and earning her a notable Grammy nomination at the 2021 awards. It was another high point in what has been a burgeoning musical career that has also seen her release a trove of high-profile remixes for the likes of Taylor Swift and Dua Lipa; tour the worlds biggest festival and stages including Glastonbury and Coachella; release a compilation for the renowned DJ Kicks series and highly praised collaboration with Aluna; and appear as a guest judge on BBC’s ‘Glow Up’. Her success in the field of music has also dovetailed with Jayda’s other passion in life: science, particularly science concerning the environment. Being born and raised in the small picturesque town of Grand Forks, British Columbia, some 6 hours outside Vancouver, Jayda grew up surrounded by an abundance of nature amongst the mountains, forests, rivers and lakes. It was this that sparked an early an enduring interest in biology and the natural world. Pursuing an education in Biology which has seen her studying Sea Turtles in Maui and “playing fetch” with baby Porpoise in a Vancouver aquarium, she completed her masters in Resource and Environmental Management specializing in environmental toxicology, at the same time as writing and releasing “Significant Changes" in 2019. She later launched her own science-based interview series ‘JMG Talks’, a platform for young environmental scientists to open up about their research and bring greater understanding of their work to the general public. It’s just one example of how Jayda aims to bridge the worlds of music and science, and she has contributed to multiple panels and roundtable discussions on the ways in which these two disciplines intersect, including an interview with legendary climate activist Severn Cullis-Suzuki for Dazed Magazine’s “A Future World” series in 2019, as wall as articles for The Face, Crack Magazine, The Guardian and others. She recently contributed to the immersive installation ‘Undercurrent’ (New York, 2021) which focussed on the Climate Crisis, alongside artists like Khruangbin, Nosaj Thing, Mount Kimbie and Bon Iver. Most notably she has recently embarked on a life changing journey whilst undertaking filming for the forthcoming feature-length documentary ‘Blue Carbon’ — the collective term given to seagrass meadow, mangrove and tidal marsh ecosystems that fringe every continent (excluding Antarctica) and sequester two to four times more carbon from the atmosphere per hectare than tropical forests. The film is hosted by Jayda and took her to the front lines of the climate crisis to meet with those communities already affected by the looming catastrophe. Created by the BAFTA and Emmy-winning director Nicolas Brown (The Serengeti Rules) and executive producer Fernando Meirelles (City Of God, The Two Popes) it also features Brazilian artist Seu Jorge and original music from Wu-Tang’s RZA. The film will be released towards the end of 2023 year in conjunction with CNN. Across the 13 tracks on ‘Guy’ Jayda weaves an uplifting musical thread that draws on her love for classic House, Disco, RnB, Soul, and Pop, all interspersed with snippets for her fathers voice, each a snapshot into the life of young African American man making his way through an often hostile and difficult world. Through a combination of direct quotes and Jayda’s deeply personal lyrics she paints a picture of his life: growing up in a rough Kansas neighborhood and his various interactions with neighborhood bullies, the police and local authorities; his enlistment iin the Vietnam War by the age of 18; his side-hustle as a Washington DC nighttime radio DJ, who got inadvertently caught up in the 1968 race riots; and finally his new life in Canada where he married Jayda’s mother and sought to better not just his own life but those of his children and community too. The album also pays tribute to Jayda’s Grandmother, and the resilience of and strength of Black women, and takes in several more reflective turns, examining not just the grief of her father’s passing but also what researching his life and listening to these tapes posthumously has meant to Jayda. Ultimately though, the listener is left with a message of hope, of how understanding ones self, or, where one comes from, can help you to grow and better support yourself and those around you. Spurred by the 20 year anniversary of his passing, Jayda conicendently conceived the idea of using the tapes at the same moment both her siblings were considering similar creative endevours, with her brioher Sol going on to use the tapes as part of a documentary on their fathers life. Though Jayda can’t explain it, she feels like her fathers hand was at work in bringing the tapes back into their consciousness, and now ours, at just the right moment.

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Previous editions –
    2019 & 2018

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