"MOVES," Directed by Jay Towns. Premiered June 4, 2021.
A powerhouse track bringing an authentic hip-hop sensibility, "MOVES" is Jay Towns' latest release. The track was entirely written, produced, and performed by Jay Towns. The music video, directed by Towns, was the largest he's made to date, with a total cast/crew of 20+ members. Collaborating with Cinematographer/Editor Hannah Lindvall and Assistant Director Sunnie Eraso, this music video was fairly involved on the production side and took a full shooting day to wrap. Jay Towns has mentioned that "MOVES" is his favorite song that he has released thus far. "MOVES" can be found wherever you listen to music.
"Houdini," Directed by Hannah Lindvall. Premiered May 21, 2021.
"Houdini" by Jay Towns takes the "magic of music" to a whole new level. Reminiscent of a pop-rap style made popular by artists like Post Malone and Juice WRLD, "Houdini" immediately catches the listener with a catchy hook. "Everything I do, make it look easy/ Work my magic had me looking like Houdini."
In this track, Jay Towns playfully alludes to the various successes he's had in his career thus far, how much work it's taken, and how easy it looks from the outside.
The music video, directed, shot, and edited by Hannah Lindvall, tells the story of a not-so competent magician and his search for a significant other (Gabi Leibowitz). This video takes place in a number of places, including a film studio and the streets of downtown Chicago. This music video had many other locations that were captured and later cut out to preserve the simplicity of the piece. "Houdini" is available to stream wherever you listen to music.
January 3, 2021
"January 3, 2021," Directed, Shot, Edited, and Lyrics by Jay Towns. Music by 8een. Premiered January 3, 2021.
"January 3, 2021" is a freestyle project by Jay Towns that was written, shot, edited, and posted within 6 hours on January 3, 2021. Jay Towns was sitting in his living room, idly listening to lo-fi music and thinking about his experiences as 2021 was just beginning, and found himself in a stream of consciousness that he felt was worth writing down. Accompanied by a beat by producer 8een, Towns takes a moment at the beginning of 2021 to be conscious and reflect on his takeaways from 2020. The "January 3, 2021" video is live on Jay Towns' IGTV (@jaytowns) and the song is streamable on both SoundCloud and Quadio.
It's Not You, It's Me
"It's Not You, It's Me," Dir. Hannah Lindvall, Music by Jay Towns, Premiered December 5, 2020.
Created as part of the Fall 2020 curriculum for the Independent Study Program in the Radio/Television/Film (RTVF) Department at Northwestern University, "It's Not You, It's Me," written and directed by Hannah Lindvall, follows college student Lily (played by Liv Glassman) as she struggles to navigate a budding romance as a global pandemic evolves into a national crisis.
In his debut as a film composer, Jay Towns created all of the music that you hear in the film. From the hip-hop track you hear in the party to the sweeping synths underlying the last intense scene, each sound was meticulously crafted by Jay Towns to tell the story of "It's Not You, It's Me." Jay Towns worked closely with writer/director Lindvall to ensure the desired pacing and intensity of the music during the scenes. In total, about 40% of the 12-minute film is scored. In post-production, Sound Designer Nihar Gagneja took the overall sonic atmosphere of the film to the next level which resulted in the final project you see above.
"Green" Music Video, Dir. Hannah Lindvall, November 13, 2020.
In December of 2020, Jay Towns featured his original music in a film titled "It's Not You, It's Me," written and directed by Hannah Lindvall. For this film, Jay Towns wrote a hip-hop track titled "Green" that he released as a single and made a music video for. The music video, also directed by Lindvall, incorporates actual shots from the film into the music video narrative.
This collaboration was especially significant because not only is Towns' track "Green" featured in the film, but he also composed the entirety of the film score. As an artist who identifies strongly not only as a performer but also as a composer, this project acted as a pivotal moment for Jay Towns in terms of his musical credibility. This was also a project of interest because of its taking place during the COVID-19 pandemic, completely safely. Because of this impressive collaborative feat, the project was covered by several media outlets, including WNUR Radio, Pocket Concert, The Daily Northwestern, and Quadio. Other crew on this video includes Rachel Philips (1st AC) and Nataliya Savchenko (Set Photographer).
"2K" album cover, June 19, 2020.
"19" Music Video, Dir. Jay Towns, November 13, 2020.
The track "19" is a fast-paced hip-hop track detailing some experiences that Jay Towns had while he was 19 years old. The track features witty, fast-paced lyricism, a banging trap beat, and some funny anecdotes.
On a whim, Jay Towns decided to post an open call for a Director of Photography to shoot a music video to compliment the track. He was met with a swift reply from DP extraordinaire, Jacob Cushman, who was eager to rendezvous after having not collaborated in many years. After mounting the fantastic assistant director Bennett Petersen onto the project, they had all they needed to make the video a success. The music video primarily utilized 3 locations, one of which was Jay Towns' high school alma mater, Schaumburg Christian School. The rest of the video was shot in various Evanston areas, and the project came together quite nicely, racking up more than a thousand views in the first month of its release.
On June 19, 2020, Jay Towns released his debut album titled "2K" after his birth year (2000). This album was completely self made -- written, produced, and recorded during the initial months of quarantine induced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Jay spent approximately 250 hours working on this album from start to finish from April to June, which averaged out to at least 3 hours a day of work.
"2K" features 8 tracks, 3 of which were previously released as singles leading up to the album release. Spanning many different genres, from soul, to pop, to hip-hop, "2K" was more of a pouring out of creative energy than a typical, aesthetically cohesive album.
The album, although not necessarily widely successful in terms of reach, was extremely successful in terms of what it did for Jay Towns' brand as an artist. For many of his followers and fans, who mostly came from his other projects such as his YouTube channel or his involvement in the Chicago theatre scene, "2K" was the first time that they experienced anything close to his personal life. This album allowed Jay to be vulnerable in front of his audience while simultaneously empowering him to continue making music and finding his voice in this new, exciting territory.