Multi-Platinum, singer, songwriter and rapper.
Iyaz released his first single Replay in 2009 which rapidly soared on the charts and reached #1 in Top 40, as well as his second single Solo that was a Top 20 hit. His debut album Replay was released last year and echoes the 23-year olds lilting reggae-infused R&B melodies inspired by island shorties, wireless romance and the anguish of unrequited love.
“Iyaz’s song-writing style is timeless and universal,” says J.R. Rotem, the in-demand songwriter and producer who signed Iyaz (whose real name is Keidran Jones) to his label Beluga Heights, and crafted most of the tracks on Iyaz’s album. “Iyaz is a storyteller who paints visual scenarios that tug at the listener’s heart-strings,” says Rotem.
Iyaz and his college friends had recorded a song called Island Girls that was soon bumping out of every jeep and yard across the Caribbean. “I recorded it on my laptop using a headset mic from Wal-Mart,” Iyaz says. “Because I studied engineering in college, I can make any mic sound like it was placed in a million-dollar studio.” The song became a massive radio hit – with heavy in rotation in Anguilla, St. Kitts/Nevis, St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. Martin and Tortola – and caught the attention of Rotem and Kingston.
Within two weeks, Iyaz signed to Kingston’s newly-formed production company Time Is Money Entertainment; Rotem subsequently signed Iyaz through Time Is Money to Beluga Heights, which has a new label partnership with Warner Bros Records. “Sean [Kingston] is my ‘little’ big brother,” Iyaz says. “When you put us in the studio together, it’s like magic.”
Born in US Virgin Islands but raised in the British Virgin Islands, Keidran Jones grew up amid swaying palm trees in idyllic Tortola, where he had a breathtaking view of the turquoise sea from his home. His father toured with a singing group, while his mother directed church choirs for many years. It was at her insistence that Iyaz, at age of eleven, sang Kirk Franklin’s They Need To Know for a Christmas concert. “Even if you don’t do great, it’s like ‘Amen! Hallelujah!’” he says, chuckling. Iyaz doesn’t do much gospel nowadays but his music is sparkling clean. “I’m even cleaner than Sean,” he says, adding that he doesn’t need to resort to curse words or negative themes to express emotional depth.
Consider the Rotem-produced Replay which boasts an irresistible melody, crisply syncopated high hats and a few well-placed electro-violin riffs. Iyaz says that the song is about obsession: “You think about the girl you like every second of the day. You even call other girls by her name.”
Many of Iyaz’s songs are about women. Dancer delves into the pole-dancing world of a captivating exotic dancer. “I’m telling her that she can be anything in the world,” he explains. “She could be a lawyer, firewoman, the President, but tonight, in this club, she’s gonna be my dancer.” Heartbeat is about how the right girl can make his heart race, hands shake and stomach flutter; for Find A Way, Iyaz wrote about surviving tough times in a relationship. “You’re just telling her that you really want to make it work.”
Iyaz understands that struggle firsthand because the music business has been challenging for his love life. Instead of cultivating a relationship, he’s busy in the studio or touring. But when things get to be too much, Iyaz can always return to his other great love: motorcycles. He just hops on one of his dirt bikes and rides off into the Floridian sunset!