Jai Paul

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Jai Paul
Birth name Jai Raj Paul
Born (1988-06-30) 30 June 1988 (age 29)
Origin Rayners Lane, London, UK
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
Labels XL
Associated acts
Website
Notable instruments
  • Vocals
  • drums
  • guitar
  • keyboards

Jai Paul (born 30 June 1988) is an English singer, songwriter and record producer from Rayners Lane, United Kingdom. He is signed to XL Recordings.[1]

Music career[edit]

2007—2011 - "BTSTU"[edit]

Paul's 2007 demo recording "BTSTU”, hosted at his MySpace page, received widespread music blog coverage throughout 2010, resulting in UK national radio play. International music press followed blog coverage of the track (with some publications shortening the song's title to "BTSU").[2][3][4] The song caught the attention of several record companies and a bidding war ensued, with Paul eventually signing with XL Recordings later that year.[5] By December of 2010, the BBC had long-listed Paul for their Sound of 2011 poll, asserting his style as "a startlingly fresh vision of 21st century pop music".[6]

On 21 April 2011, XL Recordings officially released Paul’s “BTSTU” (as "BTSTU (Edit)”)[7] to acclaim, with the BBC's Zane Lowe commenting that "Jai (pronounced Jay) Paul is part Dilla / part D'angelo but also full of individuality. An exciting prospect on the horizon."[8][9] On 20 May 2011, Canadian hip hop artist Drake “officially leaked” a track titled "Dreams Money Can Buy" via his blog, October’s Very Own.[10] Shortly afterward, "End of Time", a song by American R&B artist Beyoncé, surfaced online. Both tracks feature a sample of Paul’s "BTSTU".[11][12]

2012 - "Jasmine" and "Higher Res"[edit]

On 30 March 2012, Paul uploaded a new demo titled "Jasmine (demo)" to his official SoundCloud page,[13] subsequently receiving an official release via XL on 9 April 2012.[14] "Jasmine (demo)“ received positive reviews, with Pitchfork featuring the song as a "Best New Track",[15] The New York Times praising its "Prince era sensuality"[16] and The Guardian describing the production as "amazing."[17]

Later in 2012, Paul appeared as a guest on the deluxe version of Big Boi's 2012 album Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, having produced the track “Higher Res”. (Paul also appears on the track as a performer alongside Big Boi and Little Dragon.)[18]

2013 - Leaked material[edit]

On 14th April 2013 an unknown user uploaded a number of untitled tracks to Bandcamp, a music streaming and purchasing service that caters mainly for independent artists (artists without a record label). These untitled tracks were made available for sale as an album. Bandcamp is known for being vulnerable to scams and copyright infringement,[19] with consequenceofsound.net reporting in a feature that “Its response time to infractions is slow, and its built-in protections against scams appear minimal.”[20] However, hours after the page’s appearance, music press picked up on it and publicised it extensively, reporting the music as belonging to Paul and describing it as constituting his debut album, as well as including links to download the material in articles.[21][22]

On 15 April 2013, Jai Paul posted on Twitter:

“To confirm: demos on bandcamp were not uploaded by me, this is not my debut album. Please don't buy. Statement to follow later. Thanks, Jai”[23]

An official statement from XL Recordings followed on 17 April:

"As widely reported, on Sunday 14th April, music by XL Recordings artist Jai Paul was illegally made available via a fake Bandcamp account. This music was not uploaded by Jai and it’s not his debut album – it is a collection of various unfinished recordings from Jai’s past. Neither XL nor Jai will take any money from the sale of this music. We have been working with Bandcamp and PayPal [Bandcamp’s payment services provider] to resolve this situation and they have told us all purchases will be refunded within the next 7 days."

Fader editor Owen Myers, having spoken with Paul directly via email, quoted him as saying:

“I have not released a new record” and “Official releases are handled by XL.”[24]

Speculation/Conjecture[edit]

Myers however also reported the music as having come from a personal laptop stolen from Paul himself, citing a comment made by Twitter user ‘@FatAmpNadia’ as his source.[25] Major music press followed Myers’ lead, and the stolen laptop story was universally reported.[26] It is unclear how ‘@FatAmpNadia’ is involved.[27]

Many journalists and commenters suggested the leak to be a cynically devised marketing plan on Paul and XL Recordings’ behalf; having achieved the desired result, the two parties made false statements to the public ‘explaining away’ the events. Others conjectured that Paul did in fact upload the tracks himself, in an attempt to illegally leak and sell his music independently from record label XL Recordings and publisher BMG, seeing parallels with distinct situations involving unrelated artists.[28] Duncan Cooper of the Fader concludes that "In any case, the album's origins and officialness (sic) seem like something of a technicality" adding the opinion that "Jai Paul seems to be getting paid for it." despite the record company's claims otherwise.[29]

Reviews of leaked material[edit]

Many publications opted to review the leaked material as an “album” with Gigwise commenting “there are moments that sound distinctly unfinished. There are periods of silence at the end of most tracks, there’re only a few smooth segues between the skits and the tracks, and there are periods where the mixing of the vocal track sounds downright bad. The whole album doesn’t feel as precisely balanced as you would expect from Jai Paul.”

Despite being an unofficial release, the "album" was ranked in year-end lists, at number 32 in the music blog Pretty Much Amazing's "40 Best Albums of 2013,"[30] number 28 in The Guardian's "Best Albums of 2013,"[31] and number 20 in Pitchfork's "Top 50 Albums of 2013".[32] More recently, the leak was recognized in "The 100 Best Albums of the Decade So Far," a list published by Pitchfork in August 2014.[33]

2016—Present - Paul Institute[edit]

In March 2016, Jai and his brother A.K. Paul announced a new project titled Paul Institute.[34] The project was inaugurated with the release of A.K. Paul's debut single as a solo artist, "Landcruisin'".[35] The song, having been debuted on Zane Lowe's Beats 1 radio show,[36] was available initially only to Paul Institute members who signed up via the Institute's website and SMS messages. Digital and physical copies of the record were purchasable via the site.[37]

Relationship with media and industry[edit]

Music media has speculated about Paul's background, motivation and intent as he has remained out of the public eye, and his professional music career has not followed convention thus far. British publication Clash noted Paul's distinctiveness early on, saying in 2011 "Hype is a fascinating commodity. Where some quickly melt down the attention for liquid purpose, promising talent Jai Paul removed all his music from MySpace and went to get his shit together".[38] XL Recordings founder and owner Richard Russell accepts Paul's idiosyncratic style, saying "Jai is a wizard... the way he's going about things is, I think for many, baffling. He's going about things in the most Jai Paul way you could possibly go about things. And who knows where that may lead."[39]

Guardian writer Michael Cragg, having met Paul in 2011, observes that Paul's enigma "seems genuinely uncontrived – Jai just doesn't seem into the idea of rushing or teasing new material if it isn't ready." [40] In a separate piece for i-D, Cragg goes on to say: “there was something incredibly charming about his confusion as to why anyone would want to talk to him. Weirdly, he was under the impression he could just release music for people to enjoy and that would be that.” [41] Pitchfork's Lindsay Zoladz suggests that Paul may be "perhaps more burdened by his talent than inclined to show it off."[42] Meanwhile, Quietus blogger Alex Macpherson disagrees, presuming the opposite; saying Paul's "career to date [consists] of little more than a couple of shonky demos and a carefully cultivated aura of mystique" in a scathing article titled "Jai Paul: A Scam To Feed The Internet Sausage Machine".[43]

More recently, Rolling Stone magazine asked singer Nao (who has collaborated with A. K. Paul) whether the Paul brothers' image was intentionally "mysterious". She answered in the negative, saying "They're not tapped into the industry in that way and I don't know if they give a shit." She added "They're normal guys that are trying to find their own route without playing the game."[44]

Discography[edit]

Single(s)[edit]

Year Title Peak Chart Positions Album
UK UK Indie
2011 "BTSTU" 139
2012 "Jasmine (demo)"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.

References[edit]

  1. ^ New Signing – Jai Paul, Chrysalis Music News. Retrieved on 18 December 2010.
  2. ^ "Jai Paul, “BTSU” MP3". The FADER. Retrieved 2017-08-07. 
  3. ^ "Jai Paul - BTSU". HYPEBEAST. Retrieved 2017-08-07. 
  4. ^ Lester, Paul (2010-05-10). "Jai Paul (No 782)". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-08-07. 
  5. ^ "Jai Paul | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-08-06. 
  6. ^ "BBC - Sound of 2011 - Jai Paul". Retrieved 2017-08-06. 
  7. ^ "BTSTU (Edit) - Single by Jai Paul on Apple Music". iTunes. Retrieved 2017-08-06. 
  8. ^ Cragg, Michael (2011-04-22). "New music: Jai Paul – BTSTU". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-08-06. 
  9. ^ Lowe, Zane. "BBC - Zane Lowe's Hottest Records blog: Hottest Record - Jai Paul - BTSTU". Retrieved 2017-08-06. 
  10. ^ "Drake Leaks First Song From Take Care". MTV News. Retrieved 2017-08-06. 
  11. ^ "Beyonce “Till the End of Time” MP3". The FADER. Retrieved 2017-08-06. 
  12. ^ "MissInfo.tv » Drake Debuts “Dreams Money Can Buy” Off His Upcoming Take Care Album (Updated)". www.missinfo.tv. Retrieved 2017-08-06. 
  13. ^ ""Jasmine" Review | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2017-08-06. 
  14. ^ "Jasmine (Demo) - Single by Jai Paul on Apple Music". iTunes. Retrieved 2017-08-06. 
  15. ^ ""Jasmine" Review | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2017-08-06. 
  16. ^ Cragg, Michael (2012-04-02). "New music: Jai Paul – Jasmine (demo)". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-08-06. 
  17. ^ Cragg, Michael (2012-04-02). "New music: Jai Paul – Jasmine (demo)". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-08-06. 
  18. ^ "Big Boi - Vicious Lies And Dangerous Rumors". Discogs. Retrieved 2017-08-06. 
  19. ^ "Bandcamp". Wikipedia. 2017-08-01. 
  20. ^ "The Brief and Bizarre Life of the Fake Amazon Bandcamp Page". Consequence of Sound. 2015-10-28. Retrieved 2017-08-07. 
  21. ^ Baggs, Michael. "Listen: Jai Paul releases long-awaited debut album | Gigwise". gigwise.com. Retrieved 2017-08-07. 
  22. ^ "Download Jai Paul’s Self-Titled Debut LP". The FADER. Retrieved 2017-08-07. 
  23. ^ Paul, Jai (2013-04-15). "To confirm: demos on bandcamp were not uploaded by me, this is not my debut album. Please don't buy. Statement to follow later. Thanks, Jai". @jai_paul. Retrieved 2017-08-07. 
  24. ^ "Maximum Distortion: The Peculiar Case of Jai Paul | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2017-08-07. 
  25. ^ Myers, Owen (2013-04-15). "Jai Paul had his laptop stolen, there will be a statement at 3pm according to @FatAmpNadia". @owen_myers. Retrieved 2017-08-07. 
  26. ^ "Jai Paul’s album leaked from stolen laptop". Consequence of Sound. 2013-04-15. Retrieved 2017-08-07. 
  27. ^ "Feature: How I ‘Found’ ‘Jai Paul’ And What We Know Now | Crack in the Road". Crack in the Road. 2013-04-14. Retrieved 2017-08-07. 
  28. ^ "Gigwise". gigwise.com. Retrieved 2017-08-07. 
  29. ^ "Download Jai Paul’s Self-Titled Debut LP". The FADER. Retrieved 2017-08-07. 
  30. ^ "PMA's 40 Best Albums of 2013". Pretty Much Amazing. 18 October 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  31. ^ "Best albums of 2013: 30–21". The Guardian. 5 December 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  32. ^ "Pitchfork – The Top 50 Albums of 2013". Pitchfork. 18 December 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  33. ^ "The 100 Best Albums of the Decade So Far (2010-2014)". Pitchfork. 19 August 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2014. 
  34. ^ "Jai Paul and Brother A.K. Paul Launch New Project Paul Institute". Pitchfork. 21 March 2016. Retrieved 11 September 2016. 
  35. ^ "A.K. Paul reveals first Paul Institute release: 'Landcruisin". FACT Magazine. 24 March 2016. Retrieved 11 September 2016. 
  36. ^ "A.K. Paul Shares “Landcruisin’”". The FADER. Retrieved 2017-08-08. 
  37. ^ "Jai Paul's Brother A.K. Paul Releases "Landcruisin'" | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2017-08-08. 
  38. ^ "Electronic Talents #5: Jai Paul". Clash Music. 26 May 2011. Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
  39. ^ "New Music: A Record Label With The Midas Touch". NPR. 8 June 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  40. ^ "New music: Jai Paul – Jasmine (demo)". theguardian.com. 2 April 2012. 
  41. ^ "why staying silent is fast becoming the secret to superstardom". i-d.vice.com. 21 November 2016. 
  42. ^ "Maximum Distortion: The Peculiar Case of Jai Paul". pitchfork.com. 19 April 2013. 
  43. ^ "Jai Paul: A Scam To Feed The Internet Sausage Machine". thequietus.com. 19 April 2013. 
  44. ^ "Meet Nao, Avant-R&B Star Moving From Back-Up Singer Shadows". rollingstone.com. 29 July 2016. 

External links[edit]