Growth: Justin "Jay-Wash" Washington
Exploring the growth of ideas, aspirations, and the mentality toward success.
I am a creator, just like my #Father
Profession / Profession
Musicianship: production, songwriting, singing, swag king cole.
Software Engineer @SnapChat
Q: If I was 10 yrs old and I asked you what you did at work, how would you explain it?
A: “Hey kid, see that app that you’re playing with on that iPhone? I made that happen. Swag me out.” LOL
Q: What’s the most fulfilling aspect of your job?
A: I love having a direct impact (testing/breaking/improving) on the apps/services that millions of people use everyday, including my peers! Least fulfilling part of that (even though you didn’t ask) is they always hit you up when something goes wrong (bruh, IDK!!!!), lmao!
Q: How did you get into beat making/music production?
A: Man, my family (on both sides) is incredibly musically inclined. I’d say it started at home, with my mom/aunts/uncles teaching me how (and forcing me) to sing. Then church – I loved sitting w/ the musicians and just messing around on the keyboards all the time. I started messing around with chords (had no clue what I was doing at the time, it just sounded LOWKEY dope, lol). Also started singing in the choir as a soprano (#swag).
Production came in high school, I guess it was just the most natural progression. I was always intrigued by the musical intricacies in songs, the songwriter/producer credits and liner notes, etc. I started messing around with production software in 9th Grade (Magix Music Maker – it was soooo dope!!!). Then I went on to the infamous Fruity Loops – I was just trying to replicate popular stuff on the radio, not really being original. When I got introduced to Pro Audio (Logic Studio) in college and took an “Intro to Computer Music” course, that took it to the next level.
Q: What inspires your musical creation? (What is it that keeps you going back to the lab?)
A: I’d say, it’s mostly the ability to create something from nothing – the same goes for how I got into Computer Science in college. It’s really amazing to have a melody/beat in your head, and then hear the exact thing days/weeks/months later through headphones. From conceptualization to actualization – it’s craysee! Plus, music is amazing, bruh. Off top. Universal.
Q: How would you explain your production style? Who or what influences that style? (What genre, cross genres, producers, artists, etc)
A: Lately, I’ve been trying to brand myself as “Heavy Metal Hip Hop/Alternative R&B”, lol. I love fusing hip hop and r&b with crazy guitars and wacky synths and grunge elements. IDK, though. I have so many freaking influences.
Timbaland is my favorite producer – like favorite, bro, c’mon now. But see, J Dilla, Pharrell, Rodney Jerkins, Hans Zimmer, Quincy Jones, etc., all find a way in my sound in some way. Then I’m also heavily influenced by gospel off top – I’m from the D, the gospel mecca (too many legends to name). I LOVE Alternative Rock. I LOVE country!!!!!!!! And Frank Sinatra is the GOAT.
In conclusion, I gots hella influences my g. We could talk about this forever. I’m still trying to iron out my “own sound” though, for what it’s worth. IDK what it’ll end up being!
I can rap, too. Stay woke.
Q: How do you get better at your craft? Talk about the process of improvement as a musician and as an engineer.
A: As a musician – I’m constantly listening to music and dissecting songs. It’s really a science. Sometimes less is more, other times being basic sucks, haha. I try to find goodness in every song, every sound. I also just go into fan mode and appreciate it all – from the iconic hits in every genre to the microwave pop jawns. It’s important to remain a student above all else. Then, it goes without saying that you have to put time in - From technical learning, to creative experimentation with different sounds and melodies. I try not force it, though. It’s important to push yourself sometimes, but keep it fun.
As an engineer – it’s a little more difficult, because technology moves so fast. Working for some of the most popular software companies in the world over the years has just helped me soak up info from literally the best in the biz. I got a computer science engineering degree, but I rarely write code day-to-day, so it’s just important for me to stay abreast of what’s going on and stay connected to senior level folks in the industry.
Q: You LOVE music and Technology. What is it about the combination of those two entities that excites you most?
A: I think it’s what I alluded to in #4 – being a literal creator in both fields. Look at what music and tech has allowed us to do in the past 10 years – fillion songs in your pocket, (almost) frictionless sharing and distribution, Soulja Boy and “Crank Dat” (made on Fruity Loops) lol, it’s just great. Especially from the creative side – the analog to digital shift in music creation has just empowered literally anyone to express themselves in music (good and bad thing, but whatever, haha).
Q: What life do you see for yourself in the near future? Will music and tech play a role in creating that reality?
A: I sure hope so. My tech career has been awesome – God has been so good to me, man. Like foreal. I look within myself and at all the incredible experiences that I’ve had, and I know it’s only been God’s favor on my life.
My stupid crazy insane dream is to do film scoring. That dream actually scares me, daily. I’ve always used tech as a platform for building relationships with professionals in other industries, “Oh you work at Apple? Oh shoot, you work at Twitter?!” lol. It’s been awesome – I’m always gonna be producing, writing and creating. I almost went to work for dope music/tech companies (Spotify, Beats Music, SoundCloud), but I’ve either passed on them due to ill timing or it didn’t pan out (in getting an offer). In the IMMEDIATE future, I’ll be at #somebody’s tech company. As far as music goes, I’m just gonna keep building and stay ready.
Q: Who are listening these days? Put us up on game!
A: Phantogram is my new fav group out right now, peep game! Foster the People, The 1975, Kid Ink, Kid Cudi, SZA, Hillsong United (The White Album, insane), Quadron, Cashmere Cat – just to name a few.
Q: What tips would you give to others that are thinking about picking up a hobby or building upon their passions?
A: It’s a blessing to be able to do your hobbies professionally. For most of us, I realize it’s not as easy – mainly because it’s hard to make [good] money doing what we love. And everything is gonna feel like work, at least sometimes. That said, I’ve found learning other skills, or pursuing other corporate endeavors while doing our hobbies on the side helps in a number ways – you get to network with other incredibly talented people (you never know WHO you’ll meet), you build discipline and character in how to work through not being immediately “happy”, you’re not one dimensional……man, hella ways (I actually ran out of stuff to say, but you get it).
Do hobbies, read books, have pastimes and what not, exercise that right briznayee (brain). If you absolutely love something, find a way to incorporate it into your everyday life, and engage in communities of like minded people. Don’t be afraid, really. Easier said than done, I know – I’m actually learning how to move through fear better currently. Feel fear and do stuff anyway. I’m not saying drop everything and move to NYC and audition for Broadway without proper preparation, but even still, you never know what could happen! Anyway, I’m rambling, there’s some other inspirational stuff I could say, but just DO IT! DO DAT! Love y’all!