Jay Miners | In Betweens (debut album) - Exclusive Track-by-Track Artist Commentary
Throughout the eight stunning tracks on her debut album In Betweens, NYC-based indie artist Jay Miners lyrically paints vivid snapshots of her recent life experiences and observations. From reflecting upon what ultimately matters and brings true joy in this 'timeline of life' to gentle reminders to slow down and never, ever stop dreaming, In Betweens is a delightful, introspective and engaging listen that does not disappoint. In Jay's own words, In Betweens explores "the spaces we take up, make room for, and give ourselves permission to let go of."
Born and raised in New York, Jay grew up playing classical piano. Her childhood musical influences are varied, ranging from Simon & Garfunkel, Steely Dan, and Joni Mitchell to folk/pop singer-songwriters like Sara Bareilles and Vienna Teng. During her college days, the joy of writing and sharing her own music took shape in 2016 when she wrote, recorded and ultimately released her first set of songs in a DIY, acoustic EP (This Is How You Fight). Not long after, she played her first open mic and performed her first show. In the past few years, Jay has worked with Brooklyn-based musician and producer Harper James (Eighty Ninety, Middle Youth) to elegantly bring the eight residents of In Betweens to life.
I first discovered Jay's music with her 2019 single, "Constantine," an inspirational, piano-driven ballad with delicate, melodic vocals that reminds the listener to dream. With each single release that followed, I quickly became hooked on Jay's innate knack for creating and performing beautiful indie-folk/pop gems that easily become welcome earworms.
In order to properly accompany you on your journey through In Betweens, SoundThread Music Blog is excited to present an exclusive track-by-track commentary from Jay Miners, as she provides insightful glimpses into the lyrics and makings of each song on the album. And for a bit of visual accompaniment, we've included the official lyric videos for a few of the tracks, featuring impressive artwork by Jeff Deng. Read on, listen, and enjoy!
"A song full of questions and no answers. I wrote this during lockdown last year, which I spent at my parents' house. I got to spend this long stretch of quality time with my folks, which is something that hasn't happened since before college, and it reminded me of childhood and being free. At the same time, I was feeling incredibly discouraged with my career in music and this 'timeline of life', and feeling like I wasn't moving forward or making progress. I found myself asking questions: How do we allow ourselves to feel six years old somedays, and thirty the next, and why does time feel so fleeting as we get older? How do we stand still and acknowledge where we came from, but also keep growing? How do we balance being continually 'productive' with this other desire to slow down, 'waste time', and take in the moments? I'm still figuring out the answers to these, but still I find comfort in knowing I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be."
"This song started with that bass rhythm on the piano, and I was humming a melody over it for days. I was also thinking a lot about my relationship with my phone and technology, and thought it would be interesting to write from the perspective of our devices."
"I wrote this after finding out that my parents were selling the house I grew up in. It became a way for me to process that change. At the end of the day, it's a love song for my parents and the feeling of home and comfort that I always associate with them. This was recorded completely remotely during the thick of lockdown. Piano on the track was recorded on my parents' baby grand, before we sold it!"
A Long Pause
"From learned behavior, I was never the best at expressing emotions like anger or sadness. This one is about a difficult relationship, the kind where wanting time away and needing to say a lot to each other can exist in the same space. The kind that might change the way the relationship operates, but will hopefully pave way for a stronger version of it. This song is probably the most personal one on the album -- I was incredibly emotional with the vocal takes!"
"This song is the only track released with the album. I love making weird-ass records with Harper and coming up with interesting arrangements together. This one is an ode to Asian American women leaders of our history, who paved the way for me and our community."
"This is the very first song we ever released from the album, and the first one Harper and I worked on together. Recorded on a real piano at Degraw. I was thinking a lot about this 'kid part' of myself, who I often associate with being creative and open and free. At the time, I was going through major writer's block and thinking, 'What if my kid self is gone? What if I'm grown and jaded?' I was processing those questions, named my kid self Constantine, and wrote this song for her."
"This one began as a big 'f*** you' to a job I left a few years ago. It's both a goodbye song to a lifestyle and career that was nothing I ever wanted and a commitment to continue down an open and creative (although often uncertain) path where I make my own rules. I held onto this song for a while before deciding to record it, and this one was really fun to bring alive in the studio."
Meet Me in Space
"I think this might be my favorite off the album (don't tell the other songs, but there is always a favorite child). A reminder to keep the imagination alive and to keep dreaming and finding new places to discover."
A big thank you to Jay for taking the time to provide such insightful commentary!
And if you're near the NYC area on October 14, Jay will be playing all of these songs at 7:00pm ET at East Berlin NYC with Keepsake House. Join in on the album release celebration if you can!