Mondale Smith reports from New York
He is better known by his stage name Jay Anderson, but around the household, he is simply known as Jumaine Walcott.
The legally trained, Guyanese born, Brooklyn rapper is humble, focused, ambitious and a goal seeker.
Born in the Cinderella County of Essequibo, Jay’s decision to balance school life while chasing a musical dream is any but a fairytale.
He moved to the New York from Guyana at the age of 13, now, nine years later he has completed college and recently graduated with a Major in Law and a Minor in Criminal Justice.
Ultimately he is aiming to one day be a Criminal or Corporate Lawyer with political ambitions, but music is his first love and that’s no secret.
“In my mind I envisioned that I would be intimidated and sure enough I was told that I wouldn’t fit in”, he remembered about when he first moved to New York.
One girl in 9th grade, as he recalled, told him he didn’t belong there and that his dreams were beyond achievable especially since he was a ‘foreigner.’ However, that has all changed. “A lot of the people who taunted me are now my well wishers and cheer leaders,” he said.
The culture change might have surprised many who came from slipping out of the house to go swimming and two seasons to a fast paced first world experience.
Intimidation and peer pressure were the order of the day facing him, but instead of allowing them to be barriers, he changed them to facilitators. That was coupled with the motivation from his mother, Lurine Jones, who is a Guyanese nurse working in New York city.
Although he spent the first 13 years of his life in the county famous for its many rivers and creeks and waterfalls, Jay Anderson admitted that when he moved to the United States, he could not swim but he decided to join the High School swim team anyway.
But his love for music and writing poems would eclipse his aquatic homes. He remembers writing his first poem and that served as the springboard for his plunge into the world of rapping.
Jay reflected that “my brother had hip hop instrumentals and one day I was vibing to the tracks on a webcam and there is where I realised that I could do this. It was a case of music coming to me more than I was going to it”.
Now Jay Anderson is arguably one of Guyana’s best known emerging rap artistes with countless tracks, three singles and three videos.
He said he has been approached by talent scouts including a European based Record label that wanted him to drop school and do music.
According to the budding artiste, while the offers were tempting his mother was a stickler for “education and qualification first, anything else after.”
Jay Anderson with a sense of pride admits, “I don’t regret my mom’s stern Guyanese values because she is a long-term person and thanks to her I’m a graduate on my way to higher heights with a firm educational base and music is still there.”
Having graduated, he is now moving to complete several conferences with the United Nations. When those are completed, he said all of his focus will be on his music.
He advises youths to “stand for something and believe in you while taking kind the wisdom of years and you can and will be more than just popular.”