We had the good fortune of connecting with Jay Whitaker and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jay, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Growing up, I always pictured myself an artist. I had sketch books full of drawings and I taught myself piano. Every time I compose, I imagine myself building a sculpture. What doesn’t look like much when you start, ends up being grand when you finish. It is absolutely euphoric when I bring an idea to life accurately. That feeling keeps me coming back. I remember as a kid, looking up covers to my favorite songs on YouTube and being blown away by the musicians I saw. I became obsessed with how creative they got with songs. I could never fully answer the clique of, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I knew it was something along the lines of what I saw on YouTube. I had a gut feeling about playing, producing and performing that I couldn’t ignore. I love giving the experience of music to other people, whether its through a stream, YouTube video or performing live. I’ve had a passion for this since the day I got on the keys. You never want to be the person that’s envious of someone else who went for it. I don’t want to get to the end of my life and think what it could’ve been. As I matured and realized this, I figured what’s the worst that can happen if I pursue this as a career? I don’t make it? That beats standing on the sidelines and not getting in the game. I knew there was a way to live out my goals. It’s a matter of going on the journey.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I received my first keyboard when was 3. I grew up as an only child and playing my keyboard kept me busy. I taught myself how to play the songs on there by slowing the tempo of them. I also binge watched every piano tutorial out there haha. I uploaded piano covers to YouTube and Vine all throughout high school. Along with performing, I was also a track athlete which is where my name, “TrackFingers” came from. A cover I did of Rihanna’s, “Pour It Up” went viral in high school which today has 79K views. The Little Einsteins cover I did in college has over 123K views today. Uploading videos has led to collaborations with musicians, partnerships, all kinds of cool things. The hardest part about teaching yourself is no one corrects your mistakes! I post videos and replay them constantly to see what I can do better. Investing in music courses, going to live shows and networking with artists all help expand my musical ear. I did not go to school for music nor am I classically trained. I’m just passionate, dedicated, consistent and constantly learning. Those elements help me transcend stumbling blocks along the way. I’m at a point where I play by ear, compose and cover songs in my own style. I house music on Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, SoundCloud, YouTube you name it. The next phase is growing more as a producer. I’ve done songs for artists that I know and even myself. This will be a focus of mine moving forward along with piano. Even though I have 2 piano albums, singles and a ton of YouTube videos out, the work is never done.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Downtown Dallas in the Deep Ellum area is a great spot for the action. You’ve got bars, clubs, restaurants, live music performances, murals the list goes on. One of favorite my favorite spots I take friends when they visit is The Wing Bucket. Their massive wings and margaritas get us nice and full. The Freeman & Louie Louie’s Piano Bar always showcase great talent in the DFW. When I take friends, they’re always impressed. For more laid back days, we go to The Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Klyde Warren Park, The Aquarium, the list goes on. I’m still learning my way around here.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My family; Mom, Dad, siblings & Grandparents. I have some close friends back home who’ve always been supportive: Chris, Shon, Kwenton, Bird, Dylan. If you’re reading this, much love. These people have been with me through highs and lows.
Shon Watson Sidney Proctor Robert Salas