Rising music talent shares his perspectives, goals


By Raymond Harris, Allen Parrish

The mention of prison usually conjures up stereotypical images of tattoos run amuck on men wearing black winter skull caps with pronounced devious expressions cemented on their preying faces. So no one would ever expect to find anything remotely resembling models of decency, creativity, or moral uprightness. These rare qualities, however, radiate from the fascinating personality of Jay West whose character and artistic genius caught the attention of BottomLine staffers.

Jay West, Born Kyle J. Harris in Detroit, MI, is a 21-year-old multi talented singer, song writer and producer, who is dedicated to making music that appeals to all races and music genres. At age five years old he began to display incredible singing abilities, and by the ripe age of six years old, this music prodigy was by then mesmerizing church parishioners by singing solo gospel songs in the men’s choir at Tried Stone Baptist Church in Detroit. His distinctive voice prompted many people to invite him to sing at different functions throughout the City of Detroit. It wee evident at this early age that Jay West was a gifted individual; it was only a matter of time that his talents would take him to new heights. His extraordinary ability to express himself through music is not limited to gospel music.

“Well, I like a little bit of everything. I don’t like stuffing myself in a box when it comes to composition. [As] long as it sounds good, I’m O.K. with it,” Jay west says when asked what type of music he prefers creating.

Jay West, a self-described artist, singer, lyricist” notes that his fashion is closer to that of Kenya West, end lists the same, Drake, The Dream, Lincoln Park, Pit Bull–just to name a few–as stars he would love to do collabs with, but points out that he gains inspiration from within himself.

During his grade school years, Jay West became a member of a local, yet nationally known youth gospel group by the name of God’s Little Soldiers. Although very successful, the Soldiers were missing a little “spice” in their group. Much like David Ruffin of the Temptations, West joined the group and helped them reach even higher heights in the gospel music industry. God’s Little Soldiers wars then nominated for a Gospel Stellar Award, which is the highest award you can achieve in the industry. West performed with God’s Little Soldiers at such prominent venues as New York’s historic Apollo Theater, The Cotton Club, The Bobby Jones Gospel Show in Les Vegas, and many more venues across the country.

During his formative years as a young teenager, it was apparent that Jay West had developed talents that went beyond singing. He began to write end compose songs that help his gospel quartet that he formed (Entouch), gain recognition throughout the Detroit area. Writing original songs for the group, West helped Entouch increase demand for its unique brand of music. For instance, shortly after joining the group, Entouch was booked to open the NAACP sit down dinner show for music giant Patti Labelle, and also invited to sing at a Ford Motor Company event featuring guest speaker Spike Lee.

Although rooted in gospel, West decided to broaden his horizons by writing music for all genres of music which led to West being asked to write songs for Kelly Roland. To this day, his music helps to define how far he has come as a person, and where he wants to take his music in the future. Currently, West is serving a three year sentence at a Michigan Correctional Facility for a criminal sexual conduct charge, of which he is greatly remorseful. Once he is dons serving his time (within 24 months), West wants to mentor S young men in the Detroit area; not only through speaking engagements, but through his music as well.

Unlike most prisoners who squander their time away at card tables and on basketball courts, West spends much of his time in prison writing songs from his heart; songs that are written to have some significant meaning regarding life in general. He explains that he doesn’t narrowly view his music as a mere form of entertainment–he hopes it grows into a movement. He has created his own record label called- Eykonic-Records. This smart move gives him independence and leverage to determine the brand and direction of his company. Eykonic (Pronounced iconic) has the following definition: A person or thing regarded as a symbol of a belief, nation, community or cultural movement.

Our current culture, especially with our young community, black or white, needs someone who can reach them and point them in the right direction. West wants to do just that; only he will do it through his music. While on tour he meets scores of other young people who often solicited knowledge and insight from him.

Jay West recalls that he told a group of wide-eyed youngsters to “Don’t be afraid of adventures. You have to be vulnerable sometimes end throw yourself out there to see if this or anything else is really what you went. Also, don’t be afraid to be different. If the people you’re around not going to help you get to the next level, they don’t need to be in your life. Period.
Well said.

West has learned a very valuable lesson and is paying for it with his freedom. But it appears certain that the corrupting influence of the prison environment will not tarnish him. Nevertheless, after his release, he will take this lesson and teach end mentor others so they will not make the same mistake. His music will help deliver that message.


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This entry was posted on September 24, 2013 by in Entertainment and tagged , , , , , , , , .


Confabulator. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this any articles,poetry,poems,artworks, books and any other material without express and written permission from Confabulator, editor LC DeVine, unless written approval from the author/artist is strictly prohibited. Excerpts,exact reposes, and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Confabulator, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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