Photo | Bridger Scott | @bridger
Creative + Fashion Direction | AllanTroy | @AllanTroy_
Asst. Fashion Editor | Niesa Gordon | @neececup_
Production Asst. | Gabriela Mershad | @mershykisses
Hair | Dustin Baker | @dustinnbakerr
Makeup | Josiah Cracraft | @thekidglitz
Graphic | Jeanette Chiu | @jeanette.sc
Interscope Records’ young pop savant, Jaira Burns, is the next one up. She takes us behind the scenes in the style of late night conversations.
Kode | This past year, you released your three singles “Ugly,” “Burn Slow,” and “High Rollin” (all we are obsessed with btw) all seem to really meld different genres together and not just rest particularly in pop. What would you say are some of your biggest inspirations genre wise when it comes to your music, can you really take us behind the creative process of making and picking a track?
My biggest inspirations genre wise stems from my love of urban music and my love of pop music. When I am in the process of creating a new record it usually starts with me explaining how I’m feeling that day in that very moment or whatever is on my mind at that time. Then I like to have the producer create a skeleton of the beat so that I can see how it makes me feel. After I catch the feeling of the beat I start to write, continue revising and writing for hours until we figure out exactly what we want the message of the record to be.
Kode | You have such an effortless and nonchalant ease in your approach vocally, who would you credit to really helping you find and hone in on your vocal stylings?
Well first of all thank you, it’s not as easy as it looks! There are definitely a couple people that I have to give credit to for helping me really find my voice. One being my mom, Ryan M Tedder (the man I’ve been working with since I was 13), and Travis Bruce.
Kode | All your current tracks make some kind of awesome references to partacking in marijuana and you actually play a big part in the writing process. What inspires you to write music and do you have any particular formula?
Honestly, life in general inspires me to make music. We all have so many emotions and so many thoughts running through us. It is nice to have a place where you can write them down and let them go. Even if they are ugly thoughts, with music you can turn them into something beautiful. A lot of the times my past problems and happiness come out in the writing process because it’s something that is relatable to my fans. We are all human and I find that talking about things you’ve been through or even want to go through can be very therapeutic. I want my fans to know that they aren’t alone in anything they go through.
Kode | You have been pretty consistent with the chill bop vibes of “Ugly,” “Burn Slow,” and “High Rollin.” What can Kode readers expect from the full ride of your first project?
What you can all expect from my first project is going to be along the same vibes as “Ugly,” “Burn Slow,” and “High Rollin.” Just as they all had different sounds and vibes, the project will be the same. Every song will give you a different feeling and each song will give the listener a piece of the things I’ve felt and have been through in my life. Can’t wait for you guys to hear it!!
Kode | Already, your fans include the likes of Olivier Rousteing, the creative director of Parisian design house Balmain. How did you feel when your song “Ugly” was handpicked for the Beats by Dre x Balmain advertising spot featuring non other than Kylie Jenner?
I honestly didn’t know how to feel at first. I was so shocked and so taken back, like they really want me? My song? Jaira Burns? Did they get this right? 😂 But yes indeed, it was real and I couldn’t be more thankful to even have been in the discussion, let alone the one they chose!! It was definitely unexpected, that’s for sure!
Kode | Speaking of fashion, what is your relationship with it? How would you describe your overall style and do you have any current favorite brands?
My relationship with fashion has definitely started to grow pretty big these past couple of years, seeing as though when I was younger all I would wear was hollister! My style now, I would describe as urban, grunge, glam extravaganza. I never wake up wanting to wear the same things I did the day before, just like my music it all depends on my mood that day. Some of my favorite brands right now are OBVIOUSLY Balmain. How can you not love those clothes? I love stores like Pretty Little Things and Forever 21, but my all-time favorite place to get clothes is the thrift store. One of a kind no matter what you get, and you can always alter it to your body shape. 😌
Kode | Now everyone from music to movies to television are diversifying their brands in many ways and stepping into multiple categorical ventures from fashion to technology and of course fashion. What other things are you into, what can we expect from you and the Jiara Burns brand as you grow?
Well you can expect to see me in movies one day for sure, acting was the first thing I started when I was about 10 years old. Hair products will definitely be a thing for my brand soon, my own clothing line, perfume line, and much more is to come!
Kode | Obviously with social media such a major part of the pop cultural zeitgeist and everyone sharing so much of themselves, what are things you share publicialy and what exactly would you like your fan base to know about you?
I really like to show people every aspect I can of myself without getting too personal. It’s important for me to show my fans who I am right now, but to also show them how I got to be this person. There was a massive struggle and lots of hard work and tears to get here. As fans continue to get to know the Jaira Burns of today, I will continue to open up and tell them all about who Jaira Burns used to be and how I got to be where I am now. I want my fan base to know this thing called life isn’t easy but it’s what we make it and we are all in this together.
Kode | I’m sure it couldn’t have been easy trying to get your break in the music industry and having such a successful and supportive label like Interscope behind you is amazing. What advice would you give to your younger self and can you walk us through your process of getting your record deal?
Some advice I would give to my younger self would be, “Get your shit together.” Haha but honestly as kids we don’t think about the future as much, we only think about the present. But if I could talk to my younger self, I would tell her to stop making excuses and work harder. I have been working with my producer Ryan M Tedder since I was 13 years old. We worked so hard trying to find my sound and my look, bouncing from basement to a tiny bedroom trying to make music. We constantly tried new things to see what worked and what didn’t. Finally we made a body of work, about 4 songs and it was the closest we had ever gotten to my sound. I had just turned 18 when Ryan left Pittsburgh for an opportunity in California.
I was in PA without the only person I trusted to work with, who knew me well enough to musically create what I wanted. At that moment, I knew I had to get to California. He lived in California for about six months before I finally gave him a call and told him that I was moving there because I needed to be making music. It was funny too because he didn’t believe me when I first said I was moving here! But it was real. The first week I was here, we were pretty much in the studio all day every day and we ended up with a small body of work. The first week of me being in Cali, I had my first meeting with a major label. That was a super amazing and eye opening experience. While we were considering that option, Ryan’s business partner, Darius Ingram who is Vice President of Upscale Music Group, had a connection at Interscope Records. They sent over the five songs that we created and after a few conversations, I was signing my contract with Interscope Records.
Now the blue hair is fast becoming a very recognizable trait for you. What made you choose blue, is it your favorite color? Also do you dye it yourself? If so what brand do you use?
When I was young, my mom never let me dye my hair or really do anything to it for that matter. Now, looking back, I probably would have done the same thing if that was my daughter with the hair I had lol. In PA I would always ask hair stylists if they could color my hair blue and EVERYTIME I got the same answer, “I’m just going to kill your hair, it’s just going to fry right off if I do that.” So the second I got to California and everyone was saying they could do it, I was like I’m doing it. Blue is my absolute favorite color, it always has been since I was a little girl. What better color to have on your head than your favorite one!! I do NOT dye my own hair! I don’t think I could achieve this look myself if I wanted to! 😂 It is actually very time consuming and quite tedious to keep up with!
Kode | You are actually from Vandergrift, Pittsburgh, USA but have been in Los Angeles for some time now. How would you compare it to the two and what do you like most about both places?
Hmmm…. I don’t know if I can really compare them in anyway. Pittsburgh is a small city that is all about family living. There’s lots of hard working people surrounded by small towns where everybody knows everybody’s business. One thing I love about Pittsburgh is all of the seasons. Spring and fall were always so beautiful to me. The people in Pittsburgh also have a friendlier side when it comes to strangers. When you see someone walking down the street, you wave, ask how they are doing and have small conversation. That’s not weird. However, Los Angeles is one of my favorite places to live seeing that I don’t have to be in the cold winter anymore!! Lol I love Los Angeles so much because of how free we are able to be here. We can pretty much make money doing whatever we love and it is so culturally diverse. Which gives you an opportunity to learn about other human beings and their traditions. Each day is different in LA. It is BEAUTIFUL!!
Kode | The one thing 2017 was good for is that it brought out some great music including yourself. Who are some of the other new and current artists you are listening to and do you have any Grammy favorites?
Ahh thank you! Some of my favorite current artists are Khalid, Billie Eilish, Rihanna is my fav of all time, and I’m obsessed with Migos.
Well we are definitely expecting amazing things from you, what’s the last thing you’d love to leave with the Kode readers?
Be thankful. You may not have everything you’ve ever wanted right now but you have every tool to get there. Remember what you do have and how hard you had to work to have those things. Be kind, love your friends and your family. Reinforce to yourself that you are amazing and good enough. You don’t need permission to be you. 💙 And lastly, I love you guys so much. -Jairbear