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Interview: J.Eka

In his highly anticipated debut, J.Eka released ‘Bread & Wine’ this month. Bursting with slick flows, intricate rhyming, and – wordplay, ‘Bread & Wine’ is a vibrant re-introduction of the rapper. With the help of producer TwinTwo (Headie One, SL, Ms Banks), the single is bursting with the best elements of UK Rap. We sit down with J.Eka and talk about this gamechanging debut...

Hey J.Eka! Congrats on dropping 'Bread & Wine'! How does it feel to finally unleash this track after all the hard work?

Thank you! I feel like a weight has been lifted now that the first single is out there… now the real work begins!

You’ve been in the game for a minute, originally as Jayo. What sparked the transition to J.Eka, and how does this new alias reflect your current musical evolution?

I made the decision to step back, analyze, and then elevate, not only the quality of the music I was making but my environment and surroundings. During that process, I realized that in order to transcend, I needed to change my name. Changing my artist name represents my rebirth in the music scene. It even goes beyond just the music, it’s now my outlook on life and the art it imitates that has changed. It felt like God’s plan and timing. Sometimes when you know, you know. It feels right.

Everything I release now is intentional and well thought through with a purpose and meaning. Even the way I create music is different now. I’ve truly elevated as an artist and I intend to show that with my coming releases.

'Bread & Wine' really showcases your versatility and style. Can you tell us a bit about your collaboration with producer TwinTwo and how you brought your vision to life in the studio?

We actually met for the first time at a networking event in south London a couple of years ago and clicked instantly, especially when discussing music and creative inspirations. We’d hit the studio a couple of times that year but didn’t really leave with anything that felt release-worthy. But God’s plan. We linked up again last December and created Bread & Wine.

I wanted something that had that U.K. energy! It felt like that song that’s perfect for every occasion, every playlist. Once we’d sorted the drum pattern, which was drill-inspired, we sorted the melodic elements of the beat which brought it to life. After that, it really set the scene. That’s all I needed to begin writing. I often find that I need to feel something in order to create, so that’s what I did. Initially, all I had was 1 verse, but we already knew it was special. I took it home, wrote and recorded the rest then sent it back to TwinTwo for mixing/mastering, then the rest is history!

Your music draws from some heavy hitters like Jay Z and Kendrick Lamar. How do these influences shape your approach to crafting lyrics and beats?

It influences my lyricism heavily, I’m very meticulous when it comes to songwriting and delivery. It takes a fearless attitude when creating and releasing your art to the world, there’s a lot of truth and vulnerability in Kendrick’s music, which speaks volumes. They also influence how I perceive my goals as a creator outside of music. How to maneuver in an industry that’s always evolving and changing, and how to think beyond its confines.

If you could create a playlist with three of your songs and three songs from your biggest influences, what would you pick?

Damn, that’s a hard question! There are so many I’ve been influenced by. I’d say either “FEEL” or “HiiiPower” by Kendrick Lamar, “4:44” by Jay-Z, and “Lost In The World” by Kanye West & Bon Iver. In terms of my songs, I’ve only released one as J. Eka, so that would be Bread & Wine.

Aside from music, your fashion sense is on point—London Fashion Week, no less! How does style influence your artistry, and do you think it adds another dimension to your music persona?

Music and fashion have been intertwined since the birth of rap/hip-hop music. They’re practically inseparable at this point. I think that partaking in Fashion was always meant to be. Image is everything in this industry. Fashion is an extension of who I am and a visual representation of my art. I have to thank my partner Lala Roswess, who is my Image Architect and stylist. She always finds a way to bridge the gap between the music, my personality, and the fashion.

When you're not making music, what do you love to do to unwind and stay inspired? Any favorite hobbies or guilty pleasures?

I like reading, I love watching sci-fi films, and anything to do with space/aliens and conspiracy theories! Guilty pleasure though, sometimes a bit of toxic reality TV shows, it can be hilarious at times, not gonna lie! And anything fashion related always has my attention too.

Looking back at your time in the music scene, what’s been the most unexpected lesson or piece of advice that’s stuck with you?

I feel like I’m still learning something new about the scene every day. But I’ve definitely realized that everything happens on God's timing. We often create a narrative in our minds about how our lives and journeys to success will be and it almost never happens in the way we’d thought. That’s the beauty of it, I’m learning to be present in the journey and open to the fact that opportunities can present themselves in unconventional ways.

Thanks so much for talking with us J.Eka!

Listen to Bread And Wine On SPOTIFY | APPLE MUSIC

Follow J.Eka on Instagram | Facebook 


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