To share a drink together is to share a connection, an adventure. For many, it signifies an escape from reality, stress or worry, if only for a brief moment.

Jai Waetford’s new single, ‘Drunk Together’ featuring Allday, is about precisely that: finding an escape, and letting go.

More than a year since last releasing new music, the 18-year-old Sydney songwriter and artist is ready to present his next step to the world. With its slinky R&B-tinged beats and personal lyrics, ‘Drunk Together’ heralds a real sonic maturation, and offers a taste of what’s to come.

Opening on an airy, R&B-tinged electronic instrumental set to a gentle rhythm, the track is all slinky beats and swelling synths, topped by a warm, irresistibly catchy melody.

Coming more than a year since releasing his fourth EP Heart Miles, ‘Drunk Together’ signifies the next step for the multi-talented singer and actor.

“At the time, I was writing about where I was at in my career, about my fans,” he says. “The song is about finding that release in a person. I wrote about opening up to my girlfriend about what was going on in my life, about trying to have a level head. About using that person to escape whatever brings life down.”

“The verses tell a narrative of my day-to-day life and what she meant to me. The chorus, ‘let’s get drunk together’, means finding an escape together. It means not worrying about the little things.”

Taking influence from the likes of Kehlani and Russ, Jai’s sound is quintessentially current. “It’s definitely my sound,” he declares. “I’ve been constantly working in the studio to get better at what I do. ‘Drunk Together’ is more than just a sound, it’s a brand. A new me.”

The track was a fully collaborative effort between Jai and Allday, aka Adelaide-born rapper Tom Gaynor. After reaching out on Instagram, the pair linked up in a Melbourne studio in mid-2016.

“Our mindsets, the ways we look at the music industry are super similar,” he says of working with Allday. “It was easy to gel and get the creative vibes flowing.”

There’s no doubt that Jai has earned the need to escape, given his remarkable ascent into the spotlight. After getting into music as early as three years old, Jai realised music was his calling in high school, thanks to a few particularly encouraging friends.

In the time since, Jai has signed to Sony Music, and his music has been streamed more than 30 million times on Spotify alone. He’s amassed an extraordinary online following, totaling over half a million Instagram followers, 670,000 Facebook fans and 300,000 YouTube subscribers. His fans stretch as far as Norway and Denmark, and he’s supported Little Mix and Selena Gomez on tour. Also the current face of Girlfriend magazine, it’s clear that Jai is on the brink of something major. And ‘Drunk Together’ is just the beginning.

Touring across the globe has already been an incredible opportunity for Jai to not only connect with his fans, but to see how many of them are out there in real life – not just on social media. “It was a spin out” he says, recalling his recent visit to Norway. “I was expecting 20-30 people to come but there were like 500, it was crazy. It opened my eyes a lot, I had no idea I existed anywhere outside of Australia.”

No matter how many followers he has, though, it ultimately comes down to the sound, and the stage. “I’m trying to just release good music,” he says, “so people will come and watch my show instead of just liking my Instagram photos.”

The next year will see much more new music from Jai, as well as performances across Australia and beyond. With plans to move to the USA and work on a full-length album to release in 2018, the future could not be brighter for Jai Waetford.