Jayda G - Guy x 400LABEL: Ninja Tune
Expected in stock between 9th - 23rd June
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Jayda G, the Grammy-nominated writer, producer, DJ, environmental toxicologist, campaigner and broadcaster, is set to return with her new full length album ‘Guy’. Co-produced with Jack Peñate (who has previously worked with the likes of SAULT, David Byrne and Adele), with contributions from Lisa-Kaindé Diaz (of Ibeyi), Ed Thomas (Stormzy, Nia Archives, Jorja Smith) and more.
The album arrives on the back of a busy few years that have seen her Grammy-nominated (for her mid-pandemic single “Both Of Us”, created with producer Fred again..); release a trove of high-profile remixes for the likes of Taylor Swift and Dua Lipa; tour the worlds biggest festival and stages including Glastonbury and Coachella; release a compilation for the renowned DJ Kicks series and highly praised collaboration with Aluna; appear as a guest judge on BBC’s ‘Glow Up’; marry her childhood sweetheart in her hometown of Grand Forks, BC (in the same house her parents got married decades earlier); and contribute to the immersive installation ‘Undercurrent’ (New York, June ‘21) which focussed on the Climate Crisis, alongside artists like Khruangbin, Nosaj Thing, Mount Kimbie and Bon Iver.
Most recently she has embarked on a life changing journey whilst undertaking filming for the forthcoming feature-length documentary ‘Blue Carbon’ — the collective term given to seagrass meadow, mangrove and tidal marsh ecosystems that fringe every continent (excluding Antarctica) and sequester two to four times more carbon from the atmosphere per hectare than tropical forests. The film is hosted by Jayda and took her to the front lines of the climate crisis to meet with those communities already affected by the looming catastrophe. Created by the BAFTA and Emmy-winning director Nicolas Brown (The Serengeti Rules) and executive producer Fernando Meirelles (City Of God, The Two Popes) it also features Brazilian artist Seu Jorge and original music from Wu-Tang’s RZA. The film will be released later this year in conjunction with CNN.
The new album ‘Guy’ brings Jayda’s own voice and words more prominently into focus than ever before, across 13 tracks that draw on her House, Disco, RnB and Soul roots while emphasizing her pop songwriting sensibilities, interspersed with archival recordings of her late father, the eponymous William Richard Guy.
Those recordings — of which there are more than 11 hours, made shortly before he passed away when Jayda was just 10 years old — form the bedrock of the album’s narrative, capturing a small snapshot of the American experience, told through the eyes of a young African American man. Through a combination of direct quotes and Jayda’s deeply personal lyrics she paints a picture of his life: growing up in a rough Kansas neighborhood and his various interactions with neighborhood bullies, the police and local authorities (“Scars”, “Circle Back Around”); from being married and enlisted in the Vietnam War by the age of 18 and returning to find his wife with another man (“Heads Or Tails”, “Lonely Back In O”); moving to Washington DC where he had a side-hustle as a nighttime radio DJ only to be inadvertently caught up in the 1968 race riots (“Blue Lights”); and finally his new life in Canada where he married Jayda’s mother and sought to better not just his own life but those of his children and community too (“Meant To Be”). The album also pays tribute to Jayda’s Grandmother, and the resilience of and strength of Black women (“When She Dance”), and takes in several more reflective turns, examining not just the grief of her father’s passing (“15 Foot”, the title a reference to something Jayda’s mother wrote to describe the her own relationship with grief) but also what researching his life and listening to these tapes posthumously has meant to Jayda (“Your Thoughts”, “Sapphires Of Gold”).
“I wanted the album to be a blend of storytelling, about the African American experience, death, grief, and understanding,” explains Jayda. “It's about my dad and his story, and naturally in part my story, too, but it’s also about so many people who wanted more for themselves and went on a search to find that. This album is just so much for people who have been oppressed and who have not had easy lives.”
Despite the at times somber nature of the source material, the album ultimately proves to be an uplifting and positive experience, both musically and from the message it delivers.
“I think the biggest thing that really drove me to understand more of his life is that my dad, just a few years before he was diagnosed, had worked so hard on himself. He went back to school to become a social worker, examining himself and his own demons, and really working on himself in the process. And I think it's just a testament that it's never too late to look at yourself and try to understand why you are the way you are, and strive to be better. Understanding the Black man's experience, Black people's experience in terms of America, and rising above what society tells you you're supposed to be.”
One of the world’s most in demand DJ’s Jayda will continue to tour throughout 2023, with dates confirmed at Printworks in London (as part of their closing program), DGTL (Amsterdam), Terminal V (Edinburgh), Snowbombing (Mayrhofen), Field Day Festival (London), Primavera (Barcelona & Madrid), Hideout (Croatia), Defected (Malta) plus confirmed stops in Brazil and many more dates TBA.
Jayda has also reunited with director David Ehrenreich for several videos that will accompany the album, including on lead single “Circle Back Around”. Shot in Jayda’s childhood home and hometown of Grand Forks, British Columbia, it features intimate archival family footage alongside clips of her father, taken from the tapes he recorded.
Album photography (used across both artwork and press shots) is by acclaimed photographer and director Nabil Elderkin (Billie Eilish, Rosalía, SZA, Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, Dua Lipa, James Blake, Arctic Monkeys and more).