Charlie Wilson Protégée, Jai Fears, Wins ‘106 & Park’ Competition
Although recent “106 & Park” winner Jai Fears isn’t just starting out in the music industry, she is starting to put the industry on its ear. The singer-songwriter has already enjoyed an extensive career as a background dancer for a virtual who’s who of contemporary artists, including Aretha Franklin, Charlie Wilson, Vikia Winans and N’Sync. And while you listen to Jai Fears sing, you also have to watch her sing. Her pitch perfect and beautifully choreographed performances are earning Fears the praise of an ever-growing and intensely faithful fan base. Just prior to Fears’ performance with singing sensation Charlie Wilson, rolling out spoke with the performer about where she’s going and how she plans to get there. –roz edward
You recently won the ”106 & Park” Wild Out Wednesday competition. What do you have coming up next?
We’re working on getting an album out and doing a CD release [and] listening party.
You’ve got a couple of hit singles out, “Mickeyish” and “Hush.” How did those names come about?
Mickeyish is about guys who talk a lot of talk, but they can’t walk it. They always say when it comes down to it … that they would do something or confront someone who tries to holler. But when it actually happens, they don’t do anything. It’s a play on the song “Hey Mickey” when Mickey is a male cheerleader. “Hush,” aka “You Need to Shut Up” is pretty much the same thing … about guys who would be better off not saying anything.
Who are your favorite artists?
Definitely Beyoncé and Adele, and I am still a Brandy fan. I don’t care how long it’s been since she came out with an album, she’s still my number one favorite. I am really into EDM music right now and I love Calvin Harris, I love Rihanna and I love Drake. Those are the people that are in my iPod right now.
You’ve worked in music, dance and acting. Do you have a preference?
I love them all, but if I had to pick one it would be music — I live on stage. … I started as a dancer when I was 16 out in Los Angeles, then I came home to Detroit and began singing. … But even if I wasn’t doing what I’m doing now, I’d be working in the entertainment industry in one way or another. But I am expanding my [repertoire] and I appeared as Sweetie in the independent film, Joy Road. It was filmed in Detroit and the director, Harry Davis, is also from Detroit.
Do you have a mentor?
… My boss, the man I work for — Charlie Wilson.