Jay Som

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Jay Som
Jay Som - 7th Street Entry - First Avenue - 4 22 (33481952291) (cropped).jpg
Duterte in March, 2017
Background information
Birth nameMelina Mae Duterte
Born (1994-03-25) March 25, 1994 (age 25)[1]
Walnut Creek, California U.S.
Years active2012 (2012)–present
Associated acts

Melina Mae Duterte (born March 25, 1994), better known by her stage name Jay Som, is an American, Los Angeles-based, DIY and bedroom-pop singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. Her second album Everybody Works was released on Polyvinyl Records in March 2017, which was preceded by Turn Into, an LP of demos that first gained her attention as a singer-songwriter.[2]

Early life[edit]

Duterte was born in Walnut Creek, California, United States, and grew up in the suburban outskirts of Oakland, California. She is the daughter of Filipino immigrants, and cites her parents' immigrant background and cultural customs as major influences.[3]

Duterte grew up playing the trumpet and guitar, and began writing and recording music at the age of 12.[3] She originally intended to attend a conservatory program for jazz but instead decided to focus on songwriting.[citation needed] After enrolling in community college and studying music production and recording, she began recording in her bedroom studio and self-released music under the moniker Jay Som, which was created from an online baby name generator and means "Victory Moon".[4]


In November 2015, Duterte released nine tracks on her Bandcamp page under the name Untitled. They began to receive attention online despite the fact that they were intended to be demos, and were eventually re-released twice as Turn Into, first under Topshelf Records and then Polyvinyl Records in 2016.[5] Following Turn Into, Duterte opened for Peter Bjorn and John, Mitski and Japanese Breakfast.[6]

Everybody Works, Duterte's first proper album as Jay Som, was released March 10, 2017 under Polyvinyl and Double Denim Records.[7] It was preceded by the song "1 Billion Dogs" in February.[7] Duterte has said that the album's sound was influenced by Tame Impala, Yo La Tengo, the Pixies and Carly Rae Jepsen's E•MO•TION.[8] Everybody Works landed on Best of 2017 lists from Pitchfork, NPR, Stereogum, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Billboard and others.

In January 2018, Duterte released "Pirouette" and "O.K., Meet Me Underwater," singles that were recorded during the same sessions as Everybody Works but did not end up on the final track list.[9] In June 2018, Duterte toured with The National in Dublin, Ireland. They also recently toured with the Alternative Rock band Paramore, and was their opening act for the second half of Tour 5.

In September 2018, Duterte released a split EP Nothing's Changed with Singer/Songwriter Justus Proffit. Consisting of 5 tracks, all recorded in her home recording studio - where she also recorded Everybody Works.[10]

Duterte has been featured on KEXP, NPR's Tiny Desk, Pitchfork, NPR and Rookie.[11][12]

The follow-up to 2017’s Everybody Works, Anak Ko was released on August 23, 2019 via Polyvinyl.[13]

Musical style and reception[edit]

Duterte performs all the music on her records herself and records in her own makeshift studio in her bedroom.[6] She describes her musical style as "headphone music".[2]

Joe Coscarelli of The New York Times has described it as "D.I.Y. bedroom pop" and noted its intimate, lo-fi aesthetic.[14] Pitchfork has described Jay Som as being intimate, and having the "crushing vulnerability" of Phil Elverum, and the "gloriously slick sound' of Carly Rae Jepsen.[15] Liz Pelly of Time Out has described Jay Som's sound as "mesmerizing and multidimensional dream pop that favors reality over escapism, drawing from classic pop and funk".[16] Pelly also described Duterte's singing as "low and languid".[16]

Duterte has stated that Phil Elverum's music has had a profound impact on her music.[15] Karaoke, Yo La Tengo, and My Bloody Valentine have influenced Duterte's vocal style.[15]

Her touring band includes Oliver Pinnell on guitar, Zachary Elsasser on drums and Dylan Allard on bass.



Title Details Peak chart positions


Turn Into
Everybody Works
  • Released: March 10, 2017
  • Label: Polyvinyl, Topshelf
17 46
Nothing's Changed
  • Released: September 28th, 2018
  • Label: Polyvinyl
- -
Anak Ko
  • Released: August 23, 2019
  • Label: Polyvinyl
2 13

Music videos[edit]

List of music videos, showing year released and directors
Title Year Director(s) Ref.
"Ghost" 2016 Neil Davis [19]
"Baybee" 2017 Charlotte Hornsby and Jesse Ruuttila [20]
"One More Time, Please" Christopher Good [21]
"The Bus Song" Michelle Zauner [22]


  1. ^ "melina d. (@melinamaed) -Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  2. ^ a b "Polyvinyl Records". Polyvinyl Records. 2016-11-18. Retrieved 2017-04-11.
  3. ^ a b "She Shreds Magazine - Ends Meet: An Interview with Melina Duterte of Jay Som". She Shreds Magazine. 2017-03-08. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  4. ^ "Polyvinyl - Jay Som". Polyvinyl Records. Retrieved 2018-04-12.
  5. ^ "Jay Som Signs to Polyvinyl, Album Turn Into Reissued". Pastemagazine.com. Retrieved 2017-02-12.
  6. ^ a b "Jay Som: Turn Into Album Review | Pitchfork". Pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2017-01-16.
  7. ^ a b "Jay Som has what we all need right now: "1 Billion Dogs"". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved 2017-02-12.
  8. ^ "Everybody Works, by Jay Som". Jay Som. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  9. ^ "Pirouette, by Jay Som". Jay Som. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  10. ^ "Album Review: Justus Proffit & Jay Som – Nothing's Changed EP (Polyvinyl)". Kexp.org.
  11. ^ "Jay Som - Full Performance (Live on KEXP)". YouTube. 2017-05-26. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  12. ^ "Jay Som: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert". YouTube. 2017-07-19. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  13. ^ Blais-Billie, Braudie (June 4, 2019). "Jay Som Announces New Album Anak Ko, Shares New Song "Superbike": Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  14. ^ Coscarelli, Joe (March 22, 2017). "Jay Som Brings Her D.I.Y. Bedroom Pop to Brooklyn". The New York Times. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
  15. ^ a b c Pelly, Jenn (February 2, 2017). "Jay Som's Hard-Working Dream-Pop". Pitchfork. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
  16. ^ a b Pelly, Liz (May 31, 2017). "Rising indie-rocker Jay Som captures the grind of city life on her new album". Time Out. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
  17. ^ "Jay Som Chart History: US Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. Retrieved October 26, 2017.
  18. ^ "Jay Som Chart History: US Independent Albums". Billboard. Retrieved October 26, 2017.
  19. ^ "Jay Som - Ghost [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]". YouTube. October 5, 2016. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  20. ^ "Jay Som - Baybee [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]". YouTube. February 23, 2017. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  21. ^ "Jay Som - "One More Time, Please"". YouTube. May 18, 2017. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  22. ^ "Jay Som - The Bus Song [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO] (Amazon Original)". YouTube. October 10, 2017. Retrieved April 9, 2019.