During the process of writing Guy and away from the dance floor—where producer and DJ Jayda G became notorious for infectiously kinetic sets that hammer through house, disco, and soul—the Canadian began sifting through the hours of videotapes her father William had made decades earlier. The home movies recounted William’s life story before he passed away when she was just 10. In this personal archive, Jayda found the inspiration for this, a searingly intimate record. Following on from 2019’s debut album Significant Changes, a 2020 Grammy nomination, packed world tours, and filming for a CNN environmental documentary, Guy is an introspective turn. “I wanted to use the tapes as the basis of a project for a while, and it was only when the pandemic hit that I had the time and energy to tackle them,” Jayda tells Apple Music. “I ended up discovering so much about my father’s life and understanding what makes us so similar now. The album is me in dialogue with these recordings.” Co-produced with Jack Peñate, the resulting 13 tracks are a deeply moving testament to grief and its effects, as well as a celebration of William’s enduring legacy. From the thumping piano house of “Scars” to the disco-funk of “When She Dance” and the melodic synths of “Heads or Tails,” the album is Jayda’s journey of discovery, anchored in the voices of her singing and her father’s narration. Read on for Jayda G’s in-depth thoughts on the album, track by track. “Intro” “The first thing you hear on the album is the beginning of my dad’s tapes, where he tells us that it’s December 8, he has just found out he has cancer and doesn’t have long to live. He’s deciding to record his life’s story, and I wanted to open the record with this moment as it really sets you up for the journey to come.” “Blue Lights” “My dad had a wild and crazy life. He enrolled in the military when he was 18 and was immediately shipped out to Thailand during the Vietnam War. When he got back to America, things were very different—he was stationed in Washington, D.C., in 1968 during the civil rights movement. While he was there, he got caught up in the riots that happened after Martin Luther King was assassinated and spent three days outside in the streets, playing cat and mouse with the cops. ‘Blue Lights’ is about that experience and his turning point to begin fighting for what he believed in. I was writing it at the same time as the BLM movement was happening in 2020, showing how history repeats itself.” “Heads or Tails” “I really wanted the album to also be full of lightness and fun. ‘Heads or Tails’ is about the playfulness and excitement of going out and seeing where the night takes you. The story comes from when my father had just arrived in Thailand, and despite having never left the US before, he was such an adventurer that he went out and partied on his first night. This track is a representation of that freedom.” “Scars” “This is a house track based on the story of my dad being bullied by a gang of kids when he was in high school. It got so bad that it was affecting his grades, since he was missing school to avoid getting a beating. Eventually, he realized he had to face them, and even though he got the shit kicked out of him, they left him alone afterwards. This song is about facing those demons in order to overcome them.” “Interlude: I Got Tired of Running” “So many albums I know and love use interludes to tell their story. A big inspiration for this record as a whole was Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city. This track works on similar themes—[it’s] about how my dad didn’t have a father to show him how to stand up for himself, which left him alone to figure out his life.” “Lonely Back in O” “My father had married just before he went to the Army and while he was in Thailand he sent for his wife, but she never came. When he got back, she met him at the airport and was pregnant and standing with a child. This track is a sad story about their miscommunication and the heart-wrenching story of that meeting, realizing that while he was away, my father had missed the signs of their separation.” “Your Thoughts” “This is a reflection piece on my experience of going through my dad’s journals and tapes in researching his life. It’s about the rituals of sifting through his existence, where at times it felt like he was speaking to me and telling me how to do this project. It’s me understanding that I am who I am because of him.” “Interlude: It Was Beautiful” “This second interlude is my father looking back on his childhood and talking about how he was striving to get back to that nostalgia, the feeling of community and belonging that growing up in Kansas gave him. It’s what he eventually created when he came to Canada and built our family life there.” “Meant to Be” “‘Meant to Be’ is the George Benson moment on the record, playing through disco and soul, which is my bread and butter as a DJ. This is about my dad in his forties when he was living in Canada and I was just born. He was running a roofing business that he was very proud of, but he ended up having to fold it. He felt like he had failed, but it eventually started him on the path of going back to school and becoming a social worker. During that process, he had to learn about himself in order to help others, and that allowed him to make some big changes. The track is about how that made him the dad I grew up with.” “Circle Back Around” “A lot of these songs recount big crossroads in my dad’s life. ‘Circle Back Around’ is about when he was a kid and was getting into trouble with his neighborhood friends. One day, he got caught stealing food from a warehouse, and as he was circling back around, trying to get home, he was found by the cops. He went to juvenile court and was taken away from his mother for a year to live with his aunt. The track is about how you don’t always understand what’s going on when you’re young but it all forms experiences that shape you.” “When She Dance” “I never met my grandmother but my dad loved her so much and talked a lot about her in the tapes. I really relate to her because she loved to dance. She worked her ass off as a single mom, paying her own way and even owning her own house, but she would still find the time to go out and have a good time. She’s a testament to Black women and their strength. This track is a tribute to all of the women like her.” “Sapphires of Gold” “This is about the devil and angel in your life—the push and pull between wanting to give in to things that aren’t best for you and then trying to be responsible. There were a lot of those elements in my dad’s life, but he rose above it in the end and learned about himself in the process. I really relate to that now.” “15 Foot” “While I was reading my dad’s journals, it switched in one part to my mum’s writing, where she began recounting her experience of caring for my dad as he was passing. It was so heavy to read, and she wrote that, after he passed, grief started to feel like 15-foot waves rather than a constant overflow. I wanted to end on this track because it shows how grief never goes away, so you learn to live with it. It’s ultimately proof that you loved someone—something that can be beautiful and not just sad.”

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