Jae is an only child and grew up with both parents out in Chesapeake, VA. From what he told me, he has always been inspired by phenom athletes and entertainers. I think during THIS #ShineHard conversation was a moment where it dawned on him that he is actually becoming one himself. We met in Blackburn Hall on the campus of his very own Howard University. Jae was excited and frantic, as he was just leaving an interview with Angie Ange of 93.9FM Radio. The number one Hip-Hop and R&B station in the DMV. This week in DC is special for Jae, not only for the fact of being featured on the same radio station he once worked for, but it was also Howard’s Homecoming! We posted in Blackburn for a few while he chopped and edited some promo materials on the fly on his Macbook. I was impressed with his production skills. The radio interview was set to air at 6pm, so we hopped in the wheels and kicked off the interview a little beforehand.
Jae is the Tour DJ for artists Eric Bellinger and Problem. He is also a premier Hollywood DJ. He humbly told me, “I’ve DJ’d everywhere. Toxic, Supper Club, Playhouse, Gray Stone, Hooray Henry’s just to name a few.” Jae has built a platform as a go to DJ, but has also been called to host concerts and events. Notably he’s hosted the Atlanta Greek Picnic for the past four years. And most recently, he released a hit single titled, “You Playin” featuring artist The Game. Jae is the true definition of charisma. The energy he possesses allows him to meet and work with entertainers like Diddy, Floyd Mayweather, Terrence J, and many others. One thing he said about his work was, “They won’t come right out and say it, may know the name, may know the face, but they KNOW the VOICE.” We get a chance to hear you loud and clear in this weeks #ShineHard conversation…
What is your passion and when did you know?
Jae: My passion is being a Renaissance man. An entertainer with many hats, many hands, and many shoes. From DJ’ing to hosting to acting to being able to oversee an entire production company. I found that passion sophmore-junior year when I was at Howard during my undergrad years.
Who did you look up to growing up?
Jae: Wow! Jesus, My Dad. Ironically my dad is a pastor. He’s a Shepherd of the Lord that oversees a large church. And to be honest, every young black boy’s aspiration is to be an athlete of some sort. So you got your Kobe’s, LeBron was HOT! We were watching LeBron in high school dunk on fools, so you know. It was also dope to see Lil Bow Wow be who he was in high school, seeing cats like Omarion with B2K. That whole wave when everyone had a “Lil” in front of they’re artist name, that was so Dope! I mean, it looked corny, but that was so Dope! I looked up to people that were young and already doing their thing.
So do you have mentors now?
Jae: Yeah, Jesus! Uhh, my father, Rob Hill Sr., The Heart Healer. He mentors the world with his tweets and everything. Um Kenny Burns, Karen Civil, DJ Money, Angie Ange. I got a lot of different mentors that just give me their gems and their wisdom when they see me.
DJ, host, actor, entertainer. Tell me about #HowardToHollywood and how you got started in the entertainment industry?
Jae: Well #HowardToHollywood is basically the organic journey that I’m on right now. Right after graduation I got on tour with B2 Music Management and Kendrick Lamar, and basically I was just given the opportunity to open up the first two shows of the tour as a host and they kept me for the whole tour. Right after the tour, I ended up relocating to LA from DC with my boy Video Chris. When he got put on with Bad Boy, he hit me like, “Yo, I can’t go to LA by myself.” I asked him, “So who going withchu?” He was like “YOU!” So that’s how I got to LA. The #HowardToHollywood movement has just been my journey, my survival, my transition to a residential person chasing his dream in Hollywood.
I use the foundation of #Howard because this is where it all started for me. You know, yardfest stages, pep rallies, concerts, step shows, ResFest.This is where I birthed @JaeMurphy, my whole aura, just who I am on a microphone. That foundation stuck with me. All I have is who I was when I got to Hollywood. Who I became, my credentials, my resume, what I built! That’s all I had! Being able to utilize such a powerful hashtag, it’s not just MY hashtag it’s anybody’s who went to Howard. Lance, Taraji, Diddy. Ironically Diddy put “Harlem to Hollywood” when they launched revolt. But we not gon’ get on that. I mean he’s the big homie, he got it, but he knew where he got it from! *laughs*
What motivates you to succeed?
Jae: Failure! That’s all 50said, “High School you was the man homie. What happen to you?!”What?? Dog, you can ask any of my closest friends, I am not a cocky person. My people actually tell me that I’m too humble, but I’m gonna have a cocky moment right now, I was The Man at Howard! I was that dude without being a Kappa. Then I got my letters and I was the Nupes?? What?! I was that dude at Howard. Hol up, *Radio intro drops 615 pm* whats that??…
And then This Happened:
Johnny: Bruh! Tooo litt. Congrats!!
Tell me about your new single #YouPlayin. How did these collaborations come about?
Jae: Bro, I always wanted to fill in the shoes of a Drama, of a Khaled since scream. Push a single with artists on it and sit back like, “Yeah, I’m the DJ. I orchestrated this. I’m smart. I’m Loyal.” You know what I’m saying? I moved to LA and I did that. I wrote this record with Eric Bellinger on March 7th. Jereme Jay made the beat. You know Problem hopped on there since I’m his DJ. I played this joint at Toxic, The Game looked at me like, “This your record?!” I said, “Yeah.” I got a 12 bar Game verse like a month and a half after that. I had a song bruh! Summer ’15 #HowardToHollwood, it’s an Album.
What’s been the biggest challenge in your career thus far?
Jae: I often talk to my manager and so many things happen. Prime example, for people to hear the radio interview they just heard or see my name everywhere, that’s just my leg work paying off. People around me pushing me and putting me all the way out there. Everybody doesn’t know who you are. Secondly, the people who do know who you are, go to book you, and don’t want to pay you your worth. That’s when you do need management. You do need representation in your corner. The challenge has been trying to break away from being the homie that’s very talented to being the professional entertainer that’s about business.
Has it been a struggle for you to find success in the entertainment industry?
Jae: Bro, I’m looking like the man when I come through, especially when I come back to Howard Homecoming, but they don’t know the story.People don’t understand how hard you really gotta work. Man, I’ve slept on couches, air beds, girl’s house’s, n***a what?! Man we can talk that real.It’s just a whole nother mind set. It’s like pledging bro. Success is a process. I mean clearly I’m not on 106&Park or Revolt TV but they don’t know that “Yeah, I went out. No, I didn’t get it.” Man, you gotta do so much sh!t, dog. Like, doors gotta get slammed in your face. People gotta tell you “NO.” You gotta get jerked. You gotta build tough skin. This industry is cold and mean. You can be HOT today and be luke warm next week. That’s how it goes. #HowardToHollywood is a real life story bro. There is no fabrication to that hashtag.
Tell me about a life experience that really inspired you..?
Jae: I can tell you this. A life experience I had at the top of this year. Crazy how I ended up on 106&Park. When I graduated I was trying to be the host for 106&Park. I had a very strong campaign, it was perfect. I was out of school, but it wasn’t for me. God said it wasn’t for me. At the top of this year, me and my boy Problem performed on 106&Park. When I got there everyone knew who I was and Problem looking at me like, “How does this dude know all these people??” That showed me that I was on the right path and I was doing what I was supposed to be doing.
What frustrates you the most about today’s culture?
Jae: To be honest, social media. It’s the most powerful thing that allows us to communicate, but it’s the downfall of our upcoming generation. This is all they know. They don’t know nothing else besides social media and their cell phone. I just feel like it can be a distraction. You gotta know what to limit, take in, take out. I just dislike that you can be in a room full of females tryna have a conversation and what they doing? *Face plant in cell phone*… Social Media is good: You can find stuff out on instagram before the news. Social Media is bad: You have your name thrown under the bus. It’s ugly bruh, everything is public.
What accomplishments are you most proud of thus far?
Jae: Man this song being out. I don’t know how I did it. First of all, how did I get a record with The Game? I was listening to The Game before JV basketball games in high school. “Let me put you on the game! The documentary.” How do I have a full song out on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Google Play, and radio stations. Playing in Miami, LA, DC, my hometown in VA. Wow. I don’t know how this happened, but I guess it’s just another catapult that God has set up for my career.
What’s the #1 factor behind your success?
Jae: Not being afraid of rejection. Having to dig deep and trying something else. And like, proving people wrong, bruh! People that don’t know me or hear my name, wondering, “uhh I don’t know. Would he be right for that gig? Can he turn up? Can he DJ?” Low and behold, by the end of the night, “Brooooo I didnt know. You killed it!” And at the end of the day, still through humility, I just say “Thank You.”
What Advice would you give young people that aspire to be the next young entertainer?
Jae: Have faith in yourself. A lot of people have a comfort zone that they don’t want to step out of. When I graduated people were saying I just need to be a one man show and learn how to DJ. Bruh, I picked up them turn tables off Craigslist and I learned how to DJ by survival. When I got to LA, I had no job, I had no employment. And to be honest, I moved to LA to get on Revolt TV. Be that as it may, I wasn’t selected. I have love for BET and Revolt TV, but at that time, where I was in my career, they didn’t see something that everybody is starting to see now. I say all that to say, You gotta really look at yourself in the mirror, have faith in God, and be like, “Yo, this is what I wanna do, this is gonna make me happy, this is gonna put a smile on my face in front of a rainy day.” You gotta be able to go to sleep after midnight and wake up at 4am to do something that you love. And another thing is just studying your craft. You are always a student. Study your craft, practice your craft, and master your craft. At the end of the day, if you’re still standing on ten toes, nothing can stop you.
Johnny: Faith to believe! Sometimes you gotta jump out of the nest and learn how to fly on the way down. You’re dropping gems in this one bro. You got what it takes to go as far as you wanna go! Respect, #HowardToHollywood x @ShineHardFamily.