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Since his younger years, R&B singer and song writer JayR has been captivating audiences with his musical abilities. Following his break into the Philippine music industry, the Filipino-American artist shares with Clarissa David he still has no plans to slow down, carrying on with his journey and taking his music to a whole new level with his latest album, “Elevated.”

As the old saying goes, the only constant thing in this world is change. For R&B singer and song writer JayR, the transformation he has gone through over the years as an artist resonates in his new album dubbed Elevated, revealing an edgier, more mature version of the multi-talented artist.

The highly anticipated sequel to this 2010 cover album of OPM classics, Elevated is JayR’s sixth studio album that features 14 original tracks, including the carrier single “Parachute” which is now getting more and more airtime in local FM stations and is set to become another chart-topping hit from the platinum artist.

Born Gaudencio Aquino Sillona III in Los Angeles, California, JayR comes from a musically talented family. His father, Gaudencio Sillona, Jr., was a pianist while his mother, Amparo Aquino Sillona, was a singer. Even his siblings, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews are all into music.

“You can say that music really runs in the family. Music has showed me how to live my life. I live for music. I live from music. Without it, I would be the most bored person on earth,” says the 33-year-old musician.

With a family like his, JayR became immersed in music at a tender age. At 10, he had his first paying gig singing the Righteous Brothers classic Unchained Melody at a beauty pageant for young girls.

JayR’s remarkable career as a performing artist began as a member of First Impression, a music group which later on welcomed another artist and JayR’s good friend Kris Lawrence. JayR was also part of another band, The Howlers, which he formed with other musically inclined members of his family.

But the Filipino-American singer admits having to take on a few other jobs before realizing that his quest in life is to create and perform great music. “My family really encouraged me to pursue music as a career,” he tells Balikbayan Magazine. In 2003, the Computer Engineering student at DeVry University flew to the Philippines to cut his own path in the recording world and launch his solo career.

JayR took the Philippine music industry by storm with his debut album under Universal Records, Gameface, which gained him a fan base and merited various major music awards. The album, which featured the chart topper “Bakit Pa Ba,” also catapulted him to R&B stardom. “The mixture of R&B and soul music just touches my heart—the chords, riffs and range really inspire me. It lights a fire inside me and pushes me to try and create that kind of sound,” he notes.

Indeed, JayR creates R&B music with much aplomb. His soulful vocals and impeccable music inject new energy to his chosen genre, making his take on R&B fresh, contemporary, hip. JayR describes his musical style as “smooth, complex yet flexible,” with influences from R&B greats like Gary Valenciano, Kyla, South Border, Kris Lawrence, Brian McKnight, Stevie Wonder, Kanye, and Jay-Z, among others.

His dream collaboration, JayR reveals, is a musical collaboration with Brian McKNight. “I’ve seen him perform live and he is so soulful. When he sang Back at One, changing the chords and notes he sang in choruses, it blew me away. I became a lifetime fan.”

Asked if he considers himself a great artist, JayR is self-effacing, saying that he can be among the ranks of R&B stalwarts if he continues his hard work on his craft. “I think that doing good not only for yourself but for others is a good starting point for someone to become a successful artist,” he adds.

After making a mark in the music scene with the release of his first album, JayR created over the years other well-received albums that further showcased his vocal prowess and established him as the “Philippines’ King of R&B.”

With his singing voice being one of his strongest suits, JayR continuously works on improving its quality by vocalizing on a daily basis. “I must sing and practice every day because, as cliché as it sounds, practice makes perfect.”

The award-winning artist is a force to be reckoned with not just in singing, for JayR also mesmerizes his audiences through his acting, hosting, in product endorsements, stage productions as well as songwriting. “Inspiration for writing songs comes from all sorts of places. I like to express my feelings through songs. I write from emotion and experience,” he says.

Incidentally, love—in all forms and types—has also become a recurring theme for many of the songs he’s written. The love theme is certainly reflected in “Parachute,” the carrier single of his album Elevated.

JayR surely knows how to stretch his artistic boundaries, for his latest album is a product of one of his other successful ventures: a record label. Dreaming of having his very own recording studio and record label, the R&B musician founded JAYRS Music in 2006 with the motivation of his late Tito Reny. JayR describes his paternal uncle as a man with amazing vocal quality and a huge fan of Frank Sinatra.

“Losing Tito Reny was very difficult for me and the rest of the family,” he reminisces. Christmas 2006 was the first time that the Sillona family celebrated without their beloved Tito Reny, and so JayR’s first ever Christmas album, Christmas Away from Home, featured songs especially dedicated to him.

JayR’s record label venture was renamed as Homeworkz Entertainment Services two years later, and the company now manages numerous talented artists, including the likes of Kley, Salbakuta, Q-York, and JayR’s girlfriend Mica Javier.

JayR says that starting a record label isn’t difficult at all. “The real challenge is to become a successful record label, and the key is good music and good business.” Being an artist himself, JayR says he understands how to work with fellow artists and help promote their music. “I learn a lot from the artists at Homeworkz. Everyone works hard and makes good music in their own way. Working with artists who are proactive makes the task a lot easier for me. We all help each other. We’re like one big team,” adds the entrepreneurial artist.

Another brilliant Homeworkz talent is none other than JayR’s sister Jhing who’s starting to make a name for herself for her distinctive sound and beautiful melodies. The siblings teamed up for the Elevated album with the single, “Farewell.” “We know each other so well that we can put together a song just like that—and it’s not just some average song,” says the proud brother. In Elevated, JayR also collaborated with other artists for the first time, namely Marie Digby, Gabi Wilson, AJ Rafael, Mica Javier, and DJ Riddler.

Expectations are high for Elevated, JayR’s fourth studio album under Homeworkz, especially after the four-year wait from the Philippines’ King of R&B.

“I wanted to create something very special, take myself to another level and certainly up the ante. I worked very hard on Elevated to show the public how I’ve evolved as a singer and songwriter. I believe that it’s a great album and I do hope people will love it,” says JayR.

 

Elevated is now available at leading music stores nationwide and on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play.

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