A car ride with his Uncle also served as the start of another journey for Jai Waetford – Shaping his musical sound.
“I remember a year or so ago, visiting my Uncle.” Jai explains. “We were driving around and he seemed to spend the whole time complaining and talking his whole life down. His business wasn’t where he wanted to be, and he kept saying that he wished he could be doing something else. It gave me this really clear idea that people should stop dreaming about all the things they’re not doing and start living life. Because you only get one.”
Jai couldn’t shake this thought and soon it became the basis of ‘Living Not Dreaming,’ his brand new single, bashed out in a studio in Sydney with a couple of song writing buddies.
‘Living Not Dreaming’ has also served as a musical blueprint for a quickly maturing young man. No longer the kid that stunned Australia on a TV show Jai Waetford is now growing into his powers, and setting a vision for the future.
“This is the music I want to make,” says Jai. “Something fun, with a good feel, that connects with a whole bunch of people, across different ages.” The proof in this is that ‘Living Not Dreaming’ has now been viewed over a million times online.
Without realising it, Jai echoes the message that Justin Bieber posted on Instagram in 2013 after discovering Jai on X Factor – “Make the music you want to make Jai Waetford.”
Jai’s been living this since he was a little kid – writing songs and winning talent contests from about age 11.
“I remember being 11 or 12, winning some talent competition, and thinking, ‘This feels pretty good.’”
Strangely enough music wasn’t actually a major part of Jai’s life growing up in Western Sydney.
“My parents split when I was little and I lived with mum. Mum wasn’t really into music, so it wasn’t on that much at home, and I spent a lot of time playing football and riding motorbikes. Dad was the musical one, he’d played in a few bands, and he was the one that brought it out in me. I’d sit with him until 1 in the morning playing piano – he’d take the chords and I’d do the melody. That’s stuff you don’t forget.”
Although to her credit, when Jai would complain about being bored, his mum would simply send him off with the command “Go write a song.”
Nowadays, to say that Jai’s stepping up a notch is probably an understatement.
‘Living Not Dreaming’ has already been viewed well over a million times, thanks to the staggering numbers following Jai on his different online platforms. YouTube in particular has been a focus.
“I’d be doing YouTube videos even if no-one was watching. I can goof around, and express myself without any filters, which is not always a good thing!” Jai laughs. “Basically it’s another way for me to connect.”
And connect he does. Coming up on 50 million times – Jai’s total views across Vevo and YouTube. Jai’s online presence has already given him a strong foothold for the next phase of his career, tackling the U.S. – with 60% of his followers coming from the States.
There are plans for Jai and his mum to relocate to the U.S.
“I’ve been there a lot over the last 12 months,” explains Jai. “It’s been great, I’ve been writing music and also focusing on acting. I went for a whole bunch of auditions in L.A. but kept getting told that I needed some experience back home first.
Cue the perfect opportunity – A major new role in ‘Neighbours.’
“Yep, I’m pretty happy with that!” Jai laughs.
Life for Jai Waetford is at a tipping point. After a first heady shot of fame as a kid a few years ago, a long-term path is becoming clearer – and it’s one where old rules don’t apply.
Jai’s career trajectory already encompasses multiple directions; with the cornerstone being his innate, and formidable, talent as an artist and performer.