An Interview with Jay Will (GameOver)

Industry Focus:  An Interview with Jay Will (GameOver)

By:  Natasha Von Castle

VP:      Artists such as Shaggy, Mr. Vegas and Jah Cure (just to name a few) have spoken about your brilliance.  Do you spend time with them, then create a treatment or, do you create a treatment based on the song which they agree to? 

JW:      When people (artists) partner with me, they usually come to me saying “hey I’ve done my part – I delivered great lyrics and great vocals now I want you to deliver your part and tell me what you think.”  I am very fortunate (and grateful) that I have opportunities where people ask me what I think, and what I think ends up becoming a marketing tool for an artists campaign for a song.  That is a huge privilege.

Sometimes I call the artist, sometimes I am contacted by the record label.  As well, there are times where we don’t need a treatment because we are in sync with our discussions about the visuals and then other times we need the treatment to be signed off.  The same approach is not used for all projects.  Majority of the people who reach out ask for my opinion and we go with that.

VP:      Kanye West’s “Through The Wire” music video can be seen as a ‘breakthrough’ point.  You and your team directed that music video.  Tell us about that.

JW:      When that music video was made Kanye was not an artist yet the way we know him now.  He was a very established producer, but not an artist.  He was working with a lot of people, namely Jay-Z.  “Through The Wire” was Kanye’s first ever music video.  We came together as a collective on this project because we all worked at MTV at the time.  My role was Editor / Producer of Kanye’s EPK which then became ‘the content used to make the’ music video as we see it.  All of the footage existed already thanks to Coodie who regularly filmed Kanye, and we put it together for the music video.  Special shout out to entire Kuamp squad, especially Chike because he was the one with the overall vision and plan for the music video.

‘Kuamp also did the music video for “Jesus Walks” (the third version) as well as projects with Kanye and Common and Kanye and Mos Def.  What we did was always a collaborative effort – Kuamp was the ultimate team.

VP:      You recently produced a high-profile music video for VP Records.  The music video for Spice “Send It Up” was filmed at Lucas Films Industrial Light & Magic Studios. 

JW:      Yes!  Two things.  Spice’s music video for “Send It Up” was historical moment.  It was history for VP Records, for Jay Will Productions, for Spice, for our culture. 

The technology that was available through Lucas Films is what we used for “Send It Up” but we shot it at Robot Studios.  The screen is named after the movie the Mandalorian because of the innovative technology.  There are only two studios in the United States with this technology; one in Miami (where we shot) and one in Los Angeles.  We shot at the biggest one!  No other Caribbean artist has shot a music video this way.  Spice was the first one.  She is at the forefront with VP Records who took advantage of this technology.

As for Spice’s performance, she is a natural!  She is a superstar.  She has her own personality and as such, tell her what you want and she will deliver it!  By the way when Spice said “me like man and me will find them,” that was not scripted and it was perfect!  Spice came up with that on her own and it works!

VP:      Let’s talk about “Go Down Deh” for a minute!  You brought our Jamaican culture to the forefront with authenticity and to audiences in such a way that it was easily digestible.  What was it like putting that video together?

JW:      My niche is showcasing true Caribbean, not just Jamaican, lifestyle and culture in a mainstream manner.  So working with Spice, Shaggy and Sean Paul on this monster song which I love by the way, was a great experience.  We were looking to work with other mainstream directors but when COVID hit, Shaggy said “Jay, you got this.”  VP loved it, we shot the video and the rest in history.

VP:      Another music video you worked on is Christopher Martin’s “You’ll Never Find.”  That video is a little lighter and showed dynamics that sometimes take place in relationships.  Was it difficult to mold Christopher into an Actor?

JW:      No, it was not difficult to mold Christopher.  Christopher is a very talented artist.  Melinda (the female lead) is a talented actress, and I am a talented director.  With this all-star team, everything was magical.  I have worked with Christopher in the past so there is a mutual respect and the process was very easy.

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