Jae Sterling

Interview and photo by Will Geier

Are you originally from Calgary?
No, born Jamaican but it’s starting to feel like I’ve spent half of my life here. Starting to feel like I understand living here now. 

How would you describe your style?
Flexible. I never actually got good at music ’til I decided to write whatever I wanted. I play with lyrics more than I ever did before in my life. It’s freeing. 

How long have you been performing?
As a human, ever since I knew I could; as an entertainer, around five years.

What inspires you in your music?
Food, friends, and films. 

What is it like being a hip-hop artist in Calgary?
Awkward still in some parts to be honest. People are still figuring out that the scene exists and it’s taking some time to get crazy, but it will soon. I’m seeing to it. 
Do you find it collaborative?
More than anywhere I’ve ever been. Everyone here seems to know the city deserves more hip-hop, so everyone wants to help it grow. It makes it easy to work.

You have an upcoming show with Lyrique on the June 30. How do you go about preparing your set for a live show?
I rehearse lots, I have about a million anxiety attacks, I don’t eat and I don’t sleep. I’m a fan of boxing so I think I get just a taste of what it feels like for the champ on fight week. You wanna get in there and knock something out! I have lots of support from my team though, so it’s getting better. 

What would you like people to know about you?
That I am not just trying to get on; that I’m trying to prove something. I want people to listen to my record and know I’m serious at the craft and I’ll only get more serious. Everything is calculated but still free. I always wanted to be a true artist, no filters. It’s okay to be my fan because you know you can rely on me to put work in, every time. 

Where do you see Calgary’s scene headed?
Into a sea of treasures! People will be moving to Calgary to make it, so much more in like five years. I’m just honoured that I will witness history. Honoured that I might be in it.

What’s next for you musically?
Maybe a single with the homie Kid Mellow, who has settled nicely into Toronto, maybe an EP with my new official producer Michael Teh. We’ll see, you never really know. 

Where would you like to see your music take you?
To the other side of the world someday. I feel like less of a human because I think I know what the world is. I know it will be so much easier to do it how I want with music under my wings.