Brooklyn-based queer musician Jayse Vegas has just unveiled his latest music video, his fifth in as many months, for his single Energy, shot at NYC LGBTQ+ nightlife venue 3 Dollar Bill. “I really miss performing, and passing along great energy through my art on stage,” the 25 year-old New York native singer-songwriter told The Queer Review. “I wanted to bring people back to the experience of being at one of my shows.”
Energy featured on Vegas’ 2019 EP The Gay Agenda, but Jayse never felt completely satisfied with the original version of the track as he told The Queer Review’s editor James Kleinmann ahead of the release of the new version. “This song was the last one that I had finished for the EP, and it wasn’t going to make it because personally I think I could have done better lyrically on the third verse. But it turned out that it’s everybody’s favourite song on the EP. People ask me about it a lot, it’s on all of my merchandise and people say, ‘keep that energy’ to me all the time now! I have face masks, that say ‘Keep That Energy’ on them, I got sweaters, I got colour changing mugs; I’m a merch queen! Anyway, I thought I guess I can give the track the treatment that I’ve been giving every other song this year, and why not spruce it up, and add something different? So I took out the part that I didn’t like and added a little dance break into it. Now I actually wish that this was the original version, but it’s okay, it brings new life to an older song!”
James Kleinmann, The Queer Review: So what originally inspired you to write the track?
Jayse Vegas: “I was in a time in my life where the people around me were changing, all of my work buddies were going in directions that I wasn’t really interested in going. And it was very evident to me that not a lot of people are consistent with the energy that I have, and that’s okay, it’s not my fault, it’s not their fault. So it’s all about understanding that, no bad blood, but we just gotta keep the energy we have.”
So it’s about protecting your own energy in a way?
“Yeah, the phrase ‘keep that energy’, can be used in a way where you tell it to somebody who’s making you upset, you’d be like, ‘keep that energy!’ Or if somebody’s making you happy, then it’s like, ‘Yaaass! Keep that energy!’ It’s all about remembering the energy that you carry.”
For anyone who hasn’t heard the track yet how would you describe the vibe, what kind of sound did you want to create?
“With Energy, I wanted to focus on the lyrics so I decided to talk rap it, like talk sing. I worked with Christopher Ambrose who has produced 90% of my songs. We’ve been working together since I started. I guess it’s a pop trap type song. You know it’s not hip hop, it’s not rap, but it’s also not pure pop.
Tell us about the concept behind the video for Energy.
“Well, I haven’t performed in six months, since COVID shut things down. So March 11th was my last show, and it’s crazy because before this I was doing two to four shows a week since 2017. So I was on stage all the time and it’s how I’ve kept myself alive. Then this pandemic hit, and I’ve been channeling all of my creativity into my music videos, that’s why I’ve been working so hard on those. And it’s the fifth video we’ve shot, so by this point I’m like, what the hell is my concept going to be?! And I was like, ‘Oh, I’m gonna make it look like a performance. I want to bring people back to what it would be like if you came to one of my shows.’ I wanted to film it as 3 Dollar Bill because we also shot Peace Be With You there, which was kind of the opposite of this music video. In that one I’m dancing around in a completely empty venue, there’s no lights, no nothing, and I’m very carefree. Also, 3 Dollar Bill was becoming my second home. I was working with Robert Garcia, they are another independent artist, and we had a weekly open mic night there, and we were also throwing a monthly showcase event for the LGBTQ community.”
“I’m wearing a Diego Montoya mask in the Energy video. Diego and I have been friends since the beginning of my musical journey. He’s always been supportive and this year I was finally ready to buy my own custom Diego piece. So I thought let me hit him up for this music video. So we spoke about it and we had a few ideas for a mask, but then he went missing for two weeks! I was like, ‘Okay, that’s cool, we’re all busy, there’s a pandemic ging on.’ Then I find out that he was busy making Lady Gaga’s VMA mask! So, I’m like, ‘Okay, cool Lady Gaga, you kinda cock blocked me! But now that that’s over I’m gonna go back and go for it.’ So Diego lets me know what’s happening and he kindly let me borrow the mask that I wear in the Energy video. When I picked it up from him, I said, ‘So, I would really like to buy something custom from you, and he’s like, ‘Yeah, let’s do this.’ Then he goes missing again. And, I’m like, ‘Oh, my God, what is happening now?!’ A week later, he’s like, ‘Oh, here’s Lady Gaga in a custom dress that I had made for her’, and I’m like, ‘Oh, my God, Lady Gaga is cock blocking me and Diego so hard right now!”
How do you think your sexuality comes through in your music?
“I would hope it reads that I’m gay! I would hope that reads that I am a flamboyant homo! I don’t necessarily care for how it reads. I just want it to read that I’m free and comfortable, and I love myself. And that I’m gay, because I love being gay and I don’t see anything wrong with that.”
For more on Jayse Vegas and to stock up ‘Keep That Energy’ face masks and other cool merch, head to: JayseVegas.com. Follow Jayse on Instagram @JayseVegas, Twitter @JaySelikechase and Facebook.Find him on Apple Music and Spotify.