Jazzston Darel Williams (born January 31, 1988) is an American hip hop recording artist and producer from Missouri City, located in the metropolitan area of Houston, TX. Williams embarked on his musical career in his early twenties while attending Southern University on an athletic scholarship. In 2012, while on the road playing for the Harlem Globetrotters, Williams created the moniker “Jazz Will” and recorded and produced a song entitled “In My Zone.” The song would later become the first single from his debut mixtape, Expected Excellence. The summer’s release of the project garnered much attention both locally and internationally fueled by the success of the aforementioned single. The following year, he released, S.T.F.U, his first EP, available through iTunes. The EP spawned Will’s biggest single to date, “Ratchet P”, which was his first single to receive play on BDS radio stations across the United States. Jazz Will’s musical style is a fusion of his southern roots, focus on lyricism, and creative delivery in his own unique manner. Known influences include the likes of Kanye, Timbaland, Pharrell, Outkast, Jay-z, Biggie, Lil Wayne, Ludacris, 2Pac, Chamillionaire, and Lupe Fiasco. Jazz Will has been noted saying that he aspires to become the next entertainment mogul from Houston. He landed his first acting role in a short film to be shot in fall 2015. Jazz is currently working on his latest self-produced EP entitled, 7 Straight To Heaven, slated for a winter 2015 release.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What city and state are you from?
JAZZ WILL: I am from Missouri City, TX which is in the metropolitan area of Houston, TX. I was born in Houston, but then moved to Missouri City around the age of 6 years old.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What is your music background?
JAZZ WILL: Ever since I can remember music has been a passion of mine. In the third grade, one of my cousins and I formed our very first rap group. I would attempt to make beats using a Casio keyboard, cheap headphones, and the very same karaoke machine we would use to record our rap vocals over cassette tapes. Throughout my entire elementary years, I was also a member of our school choir. Then in middle school, I was able to join the band, and I played all of the percussion instruments. I even dabbled with the piano and electric guitar a bit. I didn’t play in the band at all during my high school years because of scheduling issues. I had to choose to either play sports or join the band. I chose basketball which was also a passion of mine. Even still, I continued to write poetry and even beg my parents for a Motif 88 so I could practice making beats in my spare time. I didn’t get back into production until later in my college years when I got my hands on a free edition of Fruity Loops for Windows. That took my love for creation to another level. A few years later, after I stopped playing for the Harlem Globetrotters, I made the decision to pursue music full-time. I purchased a MacBook Pro, Logic 9, a studio microphone, and headphones. The rest is history.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are your songs about?
JAZZ WILL: I would have to say that my songs are about everything that we experience in our everyday lives as human beings. My subject matter includes sex, drug usage, dealing with certain aspects of success and failure throughout life, and true experiences that I’ve been through that I love to share with the listener in vast detail. I pride myself in painting a picture in a style that’s unique to me but effective in getting the point across. I like to show the different sides of myself which includes partying, vulnerability, story-telling, heartbreak, inspirational records, etc.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What is your favorite song to perform and why?
JAZZ WILL: I would have to say “Running This” because of the energy of the record and the way the crowd gives me that energy right back. It’s one of those fan favorites as well as one of my best songs overall in terms of delivery, direction, diversity, and production. It definitely has an anthem feel to it, so all of those elements make it extremely fun to perform each and every time.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What has surprised you the most in the pursuit of a career in music?
JAZZ WILL: I would have to say how the business aspect of it dominates and overshadows the music─ the art. I believe that us as artist and everyone who has love for the culture have to find a way to sculpt a new environment for the art. We have to get back to putting the music to the forefront and let everything else follow instead of vice versa. Of course I understand that it is a business, but at the end of the day let’s not forget what brought us here.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: Who are your musical influences?
JAZZ WILL: Without sounding so cliché, I must say Biggie and Pac. I’m really into lyricism so Ludacris, Lil Wayne, and Lupe Fiasco were always in my rotation. Growing up in the Houston area, artists such as Paul Wall, Z-Ro (a fellow Missouri City native), Chamillionaire, UGK, etc. were heavy influences as a youngster. However, as I grew older I gravitated more to Nas, Jay-Z, Andre 3000…the list goes on. I admire Jay-Z in a business light as well because he makes the type of moves I will one day make as I continue to take the steps to get where I want to be.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: How would you describe your music to people?
JAZZ WILL: I like to call my music the “Music of Life.” It is your very own theme song for your everyday living to use at your own discretion. I say that because at any given moment we can have different vibes that exude out of the pores of our body. We go through various emotions even on a fairly normal day. In a sense, we aren’t floating through life on one specific cloud of emotion. It varies, and I like for my music to reflect that in a relatable manner.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What makes you stand out from other artists?
JAZZ WILL: My versatility first and foremost because I’m able to write, create, and perform within any and every genre of music, and be able to do it without compromising who I am as an artist. Also, the fact that I produce as well is rare in its own right. I believe that being a sort of “one man band man” is a gift that I do not take for granted, and I think the industry could use more artist who are capable. Additionally, I am one who is a firm believer in being unique and not conforming to the trend. Instead, look to be ahead of the curve and create the new trend or new sound. That brings longevity in an industry full of short-lived careers.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What would you like to see changed in today’s music industry?
JAZZ WILL: Touching back to what I previously stated, I would like for more of the artists in today’s industry to be themselves and not get caught up into trying to make a “hit” record based on what they think is “hot” right now. It seems as though too many people are in it just to get a quick buck but don’t respect the art nor have the passion to create and/or inspire greatness. That’s what is lacking and needs to be changed.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS:What are some upcoming projects that you are currently working on?
JAZZ WILL: Currently I am working on my next EP entitled, 7 Straight To Heaven. I actually have already chosen the songs that will make the final cut. Now, I am just tying together all of the loose ends and putting the final touches on it as far as artwork, track list, and things of that nature. I’m extremely excited about it because this is the first time in 3 years that I’ve actually produced all of the songs on the project. I know that this is hands down my best work to date, and I’m looking forward to getting in the hands of music lovers worldwide.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are your career goals? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
JAZZ WILL: Career wise I want to be one of the greatest to ever have graced the stage, vocal booth, keyboard, TV/movie screen─ the entertainment industry period! I want to be the next Renaissance man, and the first of its kind to come from where I come from. I want to impact lives worlds over for decades and create a legacy that will live on forever. In the next ten years, I see myself being a household name and well on my way to being the best mogul that I can possibly be.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: How can your fans access your music and contact you?
JAZZ WILL: The easiest way to access my music and contact me is by visiting my website www.JazzWill.com. It has all of my mixtapes and EP’s, soundcloud, social media information, email, etc. Nevertheless, here’s a list:
Instagram – @JazzWillMusic
Facebook – facebook.com/JazzWillMusic
Twitter – @JazzWIll
Soundcloud – soundcloud.com/JazzWill
YouTube Channel – JazzWillTV
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