"Crawfish and High Life" Press interview w/ Jay Anderson returning to perform May 3rd

The last time we kicked it with Jay Anderson he was just getting back from NOLA and had a bunch of stories to tell! Well, he has returned with more things to share and we were more than happy to chat and get the scoop for our CW fam.

All photos captured by Freakish Nerd.   Jay,  Recording his new album “Crawfish and High Life”  in MKE.

All photos captured by Freakish Nerd.

Jay, Recording his new album “Crawfish and High Life” in MKE.

Jay came back in town to record the album, Crawfish and High Life, which is about his experiences between New Orleans and Milwaukee (such a fitting title, right?). Jay’s experiences in NOLA have been nothing short of amazing, so much so that he knows he definitely isn’t moving back to Milwaukee. He wants to live in NOLA for a while then eventually move to Cuba. There are parts of the culture here in Milwaukee that he isn’t completely satisfied with, but it’s not really a Milwaukee thing, it’s more of a Northern vs. Southern thing.

“Walking past people on the street and they don’t make eye contact with you, or if you’re walking alone down the street and someone else is walking alone down the street, down South you say hi to people. You greet them and make eye contact whether you know them or not,” Jay says.

Jay wants to try to embark on the path of being a master musician. He wants to be able to know everything about his voice and his saxophone that he possibly can. He says Jazz and Blues is pretty much what started this country and because of the Congo Square and the transatlantic Slave trade in New Orleans, if you want to go to your musical roots, that’s where you go.

“If you want to learn French, you move to Paris. So if I want to learn Jazz and Blues, then I’m moving to New Orleans.”

Immersing yourself completely around the culture of what you want to do or learn about is one of the best ways to master it, in our opinion. The moment Jay feels like he has the ‘critical acclaim’ in NOLA like he has in Milwaukee, then he’s going to Cuba. Why Cuba though?

“Everything goes back to Africa and the transatlantic slave trade which brought people through the Islands first and then to the mainland. So after I get done learning what I need to learn from New Orleanian culture and history [of music], the next stop for me is Cuba or Puerto Rico because slaves were there as well.”

After Cuba and PR, Jay would like to go to Côte d'Ivoire. Then next stop Japan or Europe. So basically, y’all not gonna be able to catch up with Mr. Anderson lol. But his passion for music will always keep going.

“I don’t think it’s ever going to stop. As soon as I find another musical style I want to understand, I don’t care if I have to learn another language. I just want to emerge myself in all music. I’m just on this quest to find the rarest sounds. Nothing is enough for me.”

Jay said he’ll dig through crates of old records left behind, finding the stuff that’s not on iTunes or Amazon. Things everyone else isn’t listening to. Now this wouldn’t be Jay’s first soul search. The soul searching and the music are one in the same to him. Since he has decided to dedicate his life to music, if he’s traveling and searching for more then, it’s for the music.

Jay, so far, has written 4 albums of material in NOLA. He claims he can produce so much content because it’s such an interesting place to live as a musician. There is inspiration galore. Doing music full time in Milwaukee, damn near drove him crazy. He argues that in NOLA he has more time, and there are so many things that will spark an idea in his head.

“Your ideas are gold. All you have to do is remember to keep them,” says Jay.

As soon as he booked his May 3rd show here, (Performing with Stomata the new album “Crawfish & High Life” 7pm at Wilson Center For the Arts) he utilized his time to get the album done. Setting deadlines that nobody truly knew would ever work but have now proven to be quite genius. Feeling strongly about these compositions he up some amazing “local” talent,  and asked them to come for a 1 day no holds bar session at Riverwest studio. Everyone he called did what they were supposed to do, so much so that they cut 11 tracks in 10 hours. YES 10 hours!


Sure, it’s amazingly insane! But why does he have such a strong pull here in Milwaukee?

“I was extremely fortunate and lucky. And because I know my lineage. A lot of musicians don’t talk about that or acknowledge it and it’s one of the most important things in any type of artistic career. The person who raised me in music in Milwaukee was David Wake. And I learned from Mark Davis. It’s a blessed and charmed life. Somehow I always ended up being around the people who were the real movers and shakers.”

Social media also has factored in to Jays unorthodox pull and success. In New Orleans the people tend to do a little research on who is “playing” in the lively and competitive music scene.  They see his profile and say, “Apparently there’s a whole city of people who are like ‘this is our boy’.” Like him or hate him, he really has been a force in Milwaukee music industry the past several years.

With a new band, Jay Anderson and the Night Trippers, that has members that he admits are all better musicians than him, he is once again pushing his limits. He suggest that they all hold him accountable for his mistakes and tell him where he needs to improve. Which is why this method is more strategic then one would think.

“Whatever you’re doing down there in NOLA, if you’re around the right people, they’re going to correct you and help. I wouldn’t call Milwaukee soft, but Milwaukee doesn’t exert the same pressure that’s necessary to cultivate that kind of environment,” Jay says.

Shots fired? Maybe. But think about it, does he have a good point?

Even outside of music, Jay only wants to be around people who are conducting themselves seriously. Holding themselves and their your peers accountable. If you only hold yourself accountable, it’s just you against the world.

Like our Editor, Lexi said, “you’re only as strong as your weakest link” and Jay noted that “the best position to be in is if you’re the weakest link.”

Now you know we had to ask him about his label! Voodoo Honey still exist but has shifted it’s attention to just his solo projects. Instead of managing artists, if he sees that “thing” in you, if you have that drive and he knows something that you don’t, he’ll put you on game. But only if your ears are open.

CopyWrite was lucky enough to get a sneak peak of “Crawfish and High Life” and we think it’s dope! It gave us that down south NOLA, Louis Armstrong vibe with a balance of new era genre mixing that MKE is getting quite good at. The Crawfish part of the album is definitely there with the smooth jazz feel, and all the Milwaukee features and musicians added, brings it all home with the ‘High Life’. There is imagery, word play, experimental homages, and some vocals that we didn't expect out of Jay. It combines creative expression with experience, and pulls at the strengths of true collaboration. He really couldn’t have chosen a better title to combine the two things that captivates who he is now and where he has been. We’re excited for the album and we can’t wait for your show this week.

Thanks for chatting with us again, Jay!

/Carrie for CW

Snapshot Press Release: On to Greater Things (Vincent Van Great at Summerfest 2018)

It’s that time of year again when all of our local favorites are on the move, elevating the playing field and checking off all of their goals. Vincent Van Great is no exception.

CopyWrite Magazine caught up with him backstage at Summerfest after his performance as the opening act for Tory Lanez on the Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard stage, this past Thursday to see how things have been developing since our last sit down at Summer Solstice in 2017.

Images by FreakishNerd // Mahdi Gransberry

Images by FreakishNerd // Mahdi Gransberry

After a massive set with his band Ninja Sauce and some other talented artist from MKE (Dana Coppafeel, Jay Anderson, Blizz McFly, & Yo-dot), Vincent Van Great was eager to retreat into his dressing room away from the crowd and all the action. “I’m hungry, [and] I need to eat,” he said crashing onto the couch.

CW: “Big Stage! Summerfest! A Great set! How are you feeling yo’?”

VVG: “I’m feeling really good. Excellent to say the least.” The look on his face of exhaustion was carried out with the satisfaction of completion.

CW: “Was it what you expected?”

VVG: “It actually was exactly what I expected. I know the type of audience that Tory Lanez brings so I added some extra groovy and smooth songs to my set instead of doing something way more hip-hop.”

Though Great seemed a little iffy on the crowd's thoughts, we noticed quite a few heads bobbing and catching the beat, enjoying the vibe. Festival crowds can be spazmatic when awaiting headliners but this bunch didn't seem to mind at all. (ON THE RECORD! LOL.)

This is his second year playing as a major opener at Summerfest. Last year he played the Johnson Control stage before the epic performance of BJ the Chicago Kid.

VVG: “They keep putting me with these R&B type of guys even though I do a lot of hip-hop.”

CW: “Do you think that's because of the live band?” (If you have not yet seen his performances with Ninja Sauce, you are missing out.)

VVG: “Well it's cool either way. But it's definitely about to usher me into this new sound that I am coming up with. Which leads me into me and Dana’s new project.”

Vincent Van Great will be dropping a new project later this summer entitled, ‘A Tape Called Fresh,’ co-starring Dana Coppafeel. The concept pushes the throwback cassette style, with an A side & B side tracklist. The A-side featuring the more hard-hitting Hip-hop sounds that their day-one fans enjoy where the B side will host more groovy melodic, “girly records.”

CW: “Girly!?!”

VVG: “Haha, you know the songs with a more R&B feel, that are vibey. The B side of the project will really cue everyone into the lane I’m entering in, so listen to that project and peep the B-side. But I mean it's all fire.”

We believe it. Great has been working on his craft for a while now, and all the progress that we have noted has been the elevation into bigger and better things. Production, delivery, and even performance style have morphed but still are very much his own sound.

CW: “We have known you for a long time. It's obvious that you are getting plenty of traction locally and it’s expanding into industry. Are you ready for it?”

VVG: “I have been working a long time for this and sometimes you don't get to sit back and really realize what you have accomplished. Because for me I’m still peddling…”

CW: “Like literally peddling on a Bublr bike. Haaaaa!”

VVG: He starting laughing hard. “There you go babbbyyyyy! Shout to Bublr Bikes!”

Vincent Van Great rode his custom VVG Bublr Bike on stage since they are proud sponsors of his Summerfest set!

VVG: “There will be several other Vincent Van Great bikes in different Bublr Bike locations, so if you see a VVG bike; pick that one!”

Shameless plugs are life! It is undebatable that Great is making moves. Where summer is alive in well these major sets are just apart of the action with many more showcases to come around the midwest.

VVG: “I’m headed out July 20th to Des Moines, Iowa. So if you’re out those ways come check me out. I know everyone reads CopyWrite, so they will get the message.” (He’s right, especially those in the midwest we get a lot of love). “Then the following weekend I’m in Minneapolis, Minnesota. August I will be back here for Hip-Hop Week MKE and September you can catch me at Bayview Bash, so I’m definitely around for the festival season. Oh and Kansas City Indie Fest, as well.”


So with all the Great moves comes even Greater sacrifice. With his new opportunities of industry stardom at several levels on the line, he has been splitting his time off the road between L.A. and Milwaukee, cultivating dual homes.

VVG: “It’s split between the two because I’m working with Lana Turner (Comedian & wife of late comedian Ralphie May) now, as her Music Director for her new show, ‘Perfect 10’. So I will be back and forth from here to there trying to dot some I’s and cross some T’s on that coast.”

As you can see some of your local faves are not so local anymore but the love is the same, calling out his favorite (yes, we said favorite) magazine to share his 2018 Summerfest set. His passion and artistry shined through as he directed his band into each song, creating interest and making sure the crowd knew is exactly who he is. “I go by the name Vincent Van Great!”He said it five times y’all, make sure it sticks.

CW: “Is there anything else you want the people to know?”

VVG: “I love CopyWrite. Thank you, ladies, & your team for always helping me out and having my back. Y’all keep killing it.”

And as always, we love you back!

#SupportTheLocal opening acts this year at Summerfest. They will be worth your time!


Check out the digital version of this article here.

Klassik - RESTRAINT Feat Jay Anderson, Sistastrings & Lorde Fredd33

We are here for all of this!

MKE collaboration Gawds, you have done it again.

Klassik’s, "RESTRAINT" in combo with the artistry of  Lorde Fredd33, SistaStrings, and Jay Anderson, applies that musical tension that creates those pulsating moments that linger in your head once the track is over.

Its “An introspective offering that remains beautifully fluid throughout, this is certainly a track for your summer playlist.” (says the submission from Voodoo Honey. . .emmm hmmm agreed)

Check out this track and let us know if it will make it into your summer playlist!