[**Jaies and I took it a step further in 2016 and did a video interview. For an update to the 2012 written interview below, click on this Youtube video link. Thanks!**]
I will go ahead and tell you now that I LOVE Jaies Baptiste. She’s smart. She’s beautiful. She’s funny, multi-talented and kind-hearted. With all that being said, you may find it surprising that she’s also very humble about it all. I am so glad to have this model, singer, songwriter, and…biologist (yep, you read right) representing my character Sleepy Willow. I’m also happy to call her my friend.
Dicey: How long have you been modeling? Singing? Songwriting? Which do you enjoy most and why?
Jaies: I have been modeling for 11 years. As a child, since I was such a tomboy, my mother sent me to charm school at John Robert Powers! (laughing). I always liked singing and writing and wrote my first song at 9 years old. Modeling was something that I kind of fell into when I was younger for the extra money, but singing, well music overall, is my passion, it’s my first love.
Dicey: What is your day job? How do you balance it along with your art? Do you have any plans of leaving it to pursue your art full-time? Why?
Jaies: My day job, I’m a Biologist and I work at a pharmaceutical company managing and monitoring clinical trials on investigational drug product and it keeps me on the road! However, since I have a lot of flexibility in my job, it provides a great work/life balance so that I can continue to pursue my dreams and goals. Although I do love research, I am hoping that one day I can just concentrate on my craft, on music, full time.
Dicey: How did you come to be on the cover of my novel Sleepy Willow’s Heartless Soul (The Narcoleptic Vampire Series Vol. 2)?
Jaies: I would say that was “kizmet”. (Laughing) I love to read, and I LOVE anything that has to do with vampires, so, this was inevitable. I read book one of Dicey Grenor’s book Sleepy Willow’s Bonded Soul, and decided to leave a comment about the book. When the author replied, I guess she saw my picture in the post, and decided that I looked a lot like what she had in mind for her main character Willow, and we set up a test shoot and she said…”I think we’ve found our Willow!” (smiling)
Dicey: You’ve been there with me at various networking events, including the 2012 National Black Book Festival (click for pictures), and you’ve spoken about my books with enthusiasm to anyone who would listen. That’s going above and beyond the call for modeling. Why do that for me? How do you feel when you’re representing Sleepy Willow?
Jaies: I have enjoyed all of the books in the series, and I’m currently waiting on book 3…I speak with such enthusiasm, because I’m not just the cover model, I’m a fan. I love Willow, the character doesn’t hold back on anything! Willow is funny, sexy, intelligent, raw, bold and fearless! The book has many different elements…comedy, action, romance, sex, it’s just entertaining!!! I feel honored to be representing Willow because she’s just an amazing character, although, she has some BIG shoes to fill and I hope that I can live up to the hype!
Dicey: When I first saw that you were a model, I thought you were beautiful, but the reason I asked you to be on the cover was because your personality was so pleasant. I thought you’d be good to work with. Does that surprise you? In securing modeling and singing gigs, which do YOU think is more important: getting along well with others or being talented?
Jaies: Wow, thank you! I think the most important thing is being able to work with someone who is personable, talent has to be an element there, however, if a person just has talent and no interpersonal skills, then you as the author, director, etc, can not effectively get your vision across because the artist isn’t listening to what you want. You have to be able to get along with others in order to maximize productivity and I think that those ingredients tend to yield the best results for everyone.
Dicey: If you had one shot at winning over a new fan, which of your songs would you want them to hear? Which photograph would you want them to see?
Jaies: I think the song that I like the best, would be a song that I am currently recording called “ Fiyah”. It’s a song about never giving up on your dreams, staying on fire for them, staying passionate about your dreams and seeing them come to fruition. The photo that I’ve included is exactly who I am. I love to sing and vibe to music for new ideas constantly.
Where else have you been featured as a model, singer, songwriter?
Jaies: I have worked as a model featured with Def Jam, Axe, Skype, Miller Brewing Co, Pantene, POM Wonderful, Revlon, Hanes, Dove, Gillette. I have just gotten my first placement in a feature film called “Note to Self” staring Brian McKnight, Eva Pigford, Jason Weaver, LeToya Lucket, Christian Keyes, and Clifton Powell (TriDestined Films), my song, “Do It To Me” and I’m pretty psyched about it!! I work with an artist Mateo Amarei and we write and submit for various artists and I have a publishing company called DeLyrikz Ink.
Dicey: This reminded me that I should have added actress to the list. I forgot you’ve been in a few indie movie roles and some music videos. *slaps my forehead* I’m so happy your song will be featured in “Note to Self“. That’s awesome!
Do you prefer singing alone or with a group? Why? Do you prefer singing on a track or live before an audience? Why?
Jaies: I prefer to sing alone. I have tried the group thing, and unless the other group members are like minded, then it ALWAYS ends catastrophically!! Women groups, especially, are much to “catty”. And as for performances, definitely live with a band, because as an artist you feed off the crowd, and…..I’m a ham! (Laughing)
Dicey: What project(s) is(are) you working on now?
Jaies: Currently, I am working on my solo project and have a showcase in September for Sony Records, so, we shall see how it goes, wish me luck!! Also, check out “Sight of Sound” by Mateo Amarei because I am featured on the album and have written on 5 of the tracks. You can find the album on amazon, itunes, rhapsody, and many other sites that sell and promote music.
Dicey: Good luck! And shout out to Mateo! I love his album.
What is your ultimate goal? By that I mean, what is the one thing that can happen in your career to make you say, “Wow. I’ve made it.”
Jaies: Ultimate goal is to have the opportunity to do what I love everyday for a living, which is writing and creating music. I don’t have to be rich, but I’d be very happy if I could leave corporate behind and just focus on my craft.
Much love to you, Jaies! Thanks for answering my most pressing questions. We’ll have to do a follow-up interview because I have soooo many more. So many more pictures too. 😀 I wish you all the best!
The cover image for Sleepy Willow’s Loosed Soul (The Narcoleptic Vampire Series book 3), featuring Jaies Baptiste, is FIRE. The full cover will be revealed soon.