Jai Waetford is killing it rn. So we sat down with the breakout musician to chat about his new music, touring and mental health. Spoiler alert – he’s crazy talented and much more than just a pretty face. We don’t make the facts, we just report them.
You were on The X Factor when you were so young. How have you found you’ve progressed as an artist since then?
I went on the show when I was 13 and I’ll be 20 soon. I think the transition as a teenager is a such big transition normally but I missed out on like three years of high school and I’ve never had a normal job so it’s been very crazy. But I’m super grateful for it. I don’t think I’d want to change anything. I’ve learnt that I have to work hard no matter what you want in life and this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
What inspires you when writing music?
Being so young it’s hard because you struggle to pull from things that are going on in your life because you’re not really worried about that much. I still live with my mum and life is pretty simple so I try and pull from writers I’m working with or things I’ve heard about or things that I can imagine. But I think the real music always comes from things close to the heart.
You’ve dropped a bunch of new music lately. How has your music changed?
It’s pretty different! I released music about a year ago so it’s been a while but I think this new stuff is another evolution of where I already was. This is just another step for me and I think it’s a good one. I think I needed that past year just to grow up as a person, as a musician and really just figure out what I wanted to do and what I wanted to write about and ultimately find the songs that were going to represent me and my sound the best.
What’s your favourite single that you’ve released?
‘Friends’! It’s a winner. As a songwriter and as an artist, there’s a pressure to have a cool song that people believe in and I sort of became so over that. I was just creating music for the pure joy of it and that’s how ‘Friends’ came about. It was just me and my mate who I produce with. We were just mucking around and had this funny concept of a girl whose friends are always trying to talk to this guy and I played it for the label and they were like ‘This is sick!’
Is there an album or tour coming anytime soon?
We’re working on something but hopefully a tour!
You appeared on Neighbours a few years ago. Are you interested in acting again?
100 per cent! I enjoy it and it’s good fun but it’s also hard and time consuming. It takes a solid amount of time out of your music and right now I’m still really trying to focus on my music.
You posted a YouTube vid where you talked about your mental health. What were you going through?
I went through a period where I had everything I needed, but I couldn’t find happiness. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I didn’t feel like I served a purpose in anyone else’s life, let alone in my own and that was no-one else’s fault. But the reason I was feeling bad was the way I was looking at things. I was stressing over so many things – family, music – but I didn’t have any control over these things so how was I ever going to find happiness? I spoke to my girlfriend – I met her around that time and we became really close quickly – and she helped me see I was blessed to have what I have and should be focusing on finding happiness in what I already have. Now I’m just trying to create awareness. I don’t want anyone else to be in that position where they feel alone to the point where they can’t talk to anyone. If the video helped one person then that’s my job done.
How do you deal with hate online?
The way I look at it, if anyone has time to set aside to hate on someone else, they’re the ones who need to talk to someone and get a bit of help. If they can put all of their negative energy on someone they don’t know, I feel sorry for them. I never respond, I’m just like ‘It’s cool man. You do what you gotta do. If you gotta hate on me, you gotta hate on me.’
What does 2019 hold for you?
2019 is going to be exciting! I’ve learnt recently the music industry is a big whirlwind, so I’m going to try and make the most of what’s to come and work as hard as I can and try to give my fans what they want – get in contact with them more, whether through a tour or music but just try and be present and do the best that I can do.