I'm guessing you have all heard the recent #1 song "Pyramid," with amazing vocals by Charice. (If you haven't, you should totally look it up - it's so pretty!) Well, if you know the song, then you know it features Iyaz, whose real name is Keidran Jones, a musician from the British Virgin Islands. His new album Replay was released in June and we've got an interview with him, talking about how he got his start in music, what his name means, and how much he hates math! Read on for the full story. . .
Q: How did you and Charice get together to do "Pyramid?"
Iyaz: One of the reps in New York played the song for me. Actually he played me a couple of Charice's videos and I was like, "Wow, this girl can really sing!" It was just like a rough draft and I just loved everything about it. So I said, "Oh man! You've got to get me on this," and we made it happen.
Q: You call your music Island Pop. Would you describe what that is?
Iyaz: When you say island I just want you to think of stuff that makes you feel good that you see on TV- the beaches, the palm trees, the nice weather, the white sand. Stuff like that. Stuff that makes you think vacation. And then when I say pop I mean mainstream music. So that’s my summary of Island Pop. It's make-you-feel-good mainstream music.
Q: How is life different on the British Virgin Islands?
Iyaz: Oh man! I would say, to me, there's not much different between here and the British Virgin Islands besides the fact that here it's more fast-paced, and in the islands everything's cool running. Nobody really cares about anything down there. But the reaction to my music is the same up here as it is down there. I have the same amount of people showing me love. It's basically the same in my eyes. To you, it might be Fantasy Island! [laughs]
Q: When you started putting your music and videos on MySpace did you think this could possibly be your break?
Iyaz: I didn't hope or think! I was just putting my music on MySpace for the fun of it. I was actually in college. I was just putting my music on MySpace because I had a little following back home in the islands. Instead of having to ship CDs down or trying to send it out in e-mails to everybody, I just put it on my MySpace so everybody could go there. Then Sean Kingston started hitting me on MySpace and then everything just shot off from there.
Q: Where does your name come from?
Iyaz: Iyaz was actually my godfather's name. It means "the boss," "the head kahuna," "the one in charge." They always used to call me Mini Iyaz when I was in the islands. I'm not mini anymore so now you've got Iyaz.
Q: Did you have a favorite subject when you were in school?
Iyaz: My favorite subject was English because I was always a big storyteller, so when we would have those English or literature classes I would get nothing but A's, A+'s for that class. That's probably why I'm so good at talking and writing songs, because I tell stories.
Q: What about math? Did you like it?
Iyaz: I hated math. Math is the reason I didn't want to go to school. But oh my goodness I hated that thing math! If I had a math test I always used to try to call in sick. Oh man, I hate math. But math is definitely something you need. And my mom would always stick on me because my mom was the guidance counselor, so she helped me through that. I hated, hat-ED math.
Q: If you could be an animal, what kind of animal would you be?
Iyaz: I would be a lion. Not only because I'm king of the jungle but because a lion is always protective of anything that's near to him. Just like a lion I'm strong minded, I'm strong willed, and anything I do I try to be powerful and have a big impact.
Q: What is the one thing you wish everyone could do to make the world a better place?
Iyaz: One thing I wish everybody would do to make the world better is stop being greedy because that's where everything starts. That's where everything starts when you start being greedy and start having egos. That's where everything good turns bad.
Interview by Marie Morreale
Photo Courtesy Nabil