We sat down with Jaye Funk, social influencer and owner of The Music Parlour, a speakeasy themed music studio and venue.

He also fronted the upcoming Japanese band What the Funk.  The teenage sensation quickly moved from playing turntables to starting hip hop duo New Fro Matter with a number 1 album on Soundclick. Jaye found that hip hop saved his life from depression and anxiety during his early teens and also helped him become more extroverted and become a success. He decided he wanted to help those who are less privileged than himself, discover their musical talents, which gave him the idea for the What The Funk charity.

Jaye Funk in London. Photograph by Ben Moore.

Thank you for taking the time to chat with us, can you tell us a little about your musical career and how you got started?

I first started getting into music, when I was DJing at private parties during my teens and also drumming from a young age. I then got into rapping with my hip hop duo New Fro Matter, hitting the top charts on Soundclick. The first album I produced was when I was sixteen. After I finished New Fro Matter, I then started The Glad Stones, a folk rock duo. 

You became very successful at a relatively young age, how did you handle the pressure?

Music helped me relax and the success came with it. I loved what I was doing.

Alongside your music, you also run an impressive speakeasy-themed venue – The Music Parlour? How and when did you start that venture? 

I went to Japan to study music, where I formed my funk band. I then went back to Singapore to be with my family and that’s when I decided to contribute to the music scene. I wanted to do more than just follow my dreams, so by opening my own venue it would let other people follow their dreams. There is also a recording studio helping other artists realise their potential with plenty of open mic nights.

Jaye Funk photograph by Ben Moore.

Do you have any plans to open any similar venues abroad?

I am going to open a venue in Amsterdam for creative entrepreneurs to have a space during the day and a live venue at night. I want to make a café by day and it will be under The Parlour brand.

We know you’ve started working with Joshua Kane – have you always been interested in fashion?

Yes, however I started out with streetwear before graduating to suits. I am previously experienced as a bespoke tailor.

What encouraged you to pursue tailoring?

I was looking for a job and there was a fantastic opportunity to join a bespoke tailoring company.

As a trainee-tailor, how would you describe the perfect suit? 

A modern, slim fit suit. One that fits the silhouette perfectly.

Jaye Funk wearing Joshua Kane. Photograph by Ben Moore.

In the future do you see yourself focusing more on a career in music of fashion? Or perhaps both? 

I want to try to bring both together, just like Pharrell Williams or Gnarls Barkley. 

Who are your favourite designers? 

Joshua Kane, Versace.

Tell us about your personal style; how would you describe your fashion sense?

I like a mix of smart business and high end streetwear.

Do you think fashion and music intertwine?

Absolutely, they complement each other so well.

You founded What The Funk; can you tell us about the charity events you run? Why is it so important and personal to you?

My first opportunity to do this. I want to give back to the creative industries, like I did and am still doing with The Music Parlour.

Jay Funke photograph by Ben Moore.

You’ve accomplished a lot in your career – being a musician, owning your own speakeasy and now venturing into tailoring. How do you find the time to keep up with all of your ventures?

I find I focus my energy towards music and the ventures branch out from that.

Finally, can you tell us about your plans for this year?  

I want to come back to DJing but bringing back the live aspect of the show – make it a real show with visuals and crowd participation.

 

Jaye is currently focusing his creative talents on hosting a wide range of charity events for underprivileged young people in London to develop their artistic talents with the launch of What the Funk.

The first of these events took place at Albert’s private members club in Kensington on January 10th in association with Youth Music, a national charity investing in music-making projects for children and young people experiencing challenging circumstances. For more details visit youthmusic.org.uk   

 

Words by Sophie Exton