By David Mitchell
Jay Fenix is Rising
Melanie Fiona’s signature song, “It Kills Me” may just be the breakthrough single of 2010. Not since Deborah Cox’s “Nobody’s Supposed to be Here” or more recently, Keyshia Cole’s “Love,” has an R&B ballad been so vital to launching the career of an artist. In today’s dance- laden world, it’s rare for major record labels to go out on whim and reach audiences with a straight-up ballad. But this song, produced by Jay Fenix was just undeniable.
“I felt it could’ve been a single, but you know how it is,” says the Washington, D.C.-based Fenix. “The label had their plans, and you never know how things are going to turn out. When they said it was going to be a single, it was confirmation to what I already believed. If people heard the song, they would love it. I knew it would catch on and grow.”
The response has been great indeed. “It Kills Me” recently spent multiple weeks at #1 on the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop Single charts during the month of February. It also entered the Top 100, while Fiona’s album, The Bridge, is a top ten charting album on Billboard’s R&B/Hip Hop Album chart.
All of this success is garnering more production-songwriting work for Jay Fenix, who currently is producing music for Musiq, Chrisette Michele, Fantasia, and his own female group in development, Heiress. Although the excitement over the Fiona single is new to Fenix, accompanying major recording artists isn’t. Jay Fenix’s resume includes performing on the road as an in-demand keyboardist for the likes of Stephanie Mills, Jennifer Love Hewitt and on the Melissa Etheridge & Rosey tour.
Fenix is also a preacher’s kid with a gospel music background. He is formally trained in classical music—having attended Washington, DC’s Duke Ellington School of the Arts, and Syracuse University, where he was an Information Management & Technology major.
For now, though, the focus is purely on the music, says Jay. “I want people to really get to me know me through the music,” he says. “Like those guys, I want you to feel the warmth and emotion, whether through a ballad or a club banger. I want my work to speak for itself. And believe me, there’s a lot more to come!”