Freejay on his musical evolution: from high school to his latest EP

By Kendall Polidori, News Editor

Courtesy Jayson Doss
Released Oct. 25 under the name Freejay, “VCR” was a very different project for Jayson Doss compared to his past work.

Earlier this year, Jayson Doss experienced two impactful events that took a toll on him mentally, emotionally and musically.

Doss, junior audio design and production major, unexpectedly stopped hearing from his music producer of more than a year, and his girlfriend of three years broke up with him, all in the span of a few months.

Though devastated and unsure of what he was going to do, and with a lot of newfound time on his hands, Doss did the only thing he wanted to do—wake up and write a song every single morning for four months.

Rather than let it get in the way of his future, he decided to put it toward his craft and develop his skills as an artist. Now, he is releasing his latest EP, “VCR.”

“[My ex-girlfriend] meant a lot to me and losing her led me to reflect on myself a lot more,” Doss said. “It was a really impactful experience for me, even just creating the music.”

Released Oct. 25 under the name Freejay, “VCR” was a very different project for Doss compared to his past work, he said. Although he has been producing music since 2017, this was the first time he had to produce any of his own songs.

With a focus on his ex-girlfriend, Doss also incorporated a great amount of singing, rather than rapping, and said it was more of an R&B project.

Through his talent for assembling words, Doss delivered songs on his EP that are relatable for anyone who has ever gone through a breakup. In his song “TSM,” he sings, “I thought you loved me, I thought I changed. But now I love me, and it’s okay.”

Courtesy Jayson Doss
With a new EP out and his first solo show under his belt—which was held Oct. 4 through SoFar Sounds Chicago at the Kinzie Hotel, 20 W. Kinzie St.—Doss said he wants to continue doing more live shows.

After three years at Columbia, Doss said he has learned the techniques of engineering and how to properly record and produce his own music. Doss had already taught himself how to sing, rap and play piano, so he wanted to know how to do each part of the recording process.

Doss graduated from Homewood-Flossmoor High School in 2017, alongside other names in the local music scene like Juice WRLD, femdot., tobi lou and Queen Key. While he is not sure why so many people from Homewood-Flossmoor have succeed in the music scene, he said the students there are provided a lot of resources, such as a class he took on the industry of music.

“I am definitely proud to be from there, and I want to add to the legacy of Homewood-Flossmoor,” Doss said.

It was there where he became part of the Chicago artist collective, Freesole Chicago. Started in 2015, the collective was made with the concept of creating a group of talented and driven young artists, including musicians, dancers and other creatives. Aside from performing shows and helping each other creatively, Doss said the group is more like a family.

While he is not necessarily always writing about his own life, the actual physical aspect of sitting down, writing and creating music is therapeutic for him.

“Music has been a rock [for me], just something I could always go to, whether I am expressing myself through it or not,” Doss said.

With a new EP out and his first solo show under his belt—which was held Oct. 4 through SoFar Sounds Chicago at the Kinzie Hotel, 20 W. Kinzie St.—Doss said he wants to continue doing more live shows. Because he did a great amount of singing on the EP, he said he wants to go back to rapping and explore what that sounds like over his own beats, which is something he has never really done before. He said his next step is to evolve as a producer.

“It is always a constant evolution process,” Doss said. “This is my passion; this is what I love to do.”

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