A gem of South London soul, Jaz Karis has been honing her talents since her teenage beginnings at Croydon’s BRIT School. A glance at its alumni would suggest it has been popping out stars on a bi-annual basis - it may give its students the tools to forge many successful careers, but it takes a certain alchemy to make their impact meaningful. -
Her early 20's have seen Jaz strike a steady amount of momentum, issuing a release on fellow Londoner NAO’s imprint label Little Tokyo and being able to conclude last year supporting Sinead Harnett at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. “I think you can definitely see the difference in my releases,” she says. “The natural growth is really amazing to see and be a part of.”
The past six months have been creatively stifling for some, and Jaz used familiar collaborators to form a resistance of sorts to it. With nothing in the way of live music and “hating” Zoom performances, she linked up with her band members to seek an outlet again.
“It was really natural - I knew how to record myself before but not at this level, where I HAD to,” she says. She combined newer ideas with some unfinished tracks she’d been working on in the months prior in what she reflects on as a “no structure, no pressure” environment.
The end product, ‘All Eyes On U’ is a sweet, summery EP that takes a variety of shapes. Karis warmly cites Ella Fitzgerald as her go-to artist to center herself and the influence of jazz on her work is more palpable with each release, something she sounds chuffed to hear. Old-school influences are kept fresh with production that uses small guitar embellishments and field recordings akin to one of her major influences, Frank Ocean.
With one remotely collaborated music video down and another on the way “very soon”, Jaz attributes the ease of the creative process to working with a close circle of creative people, her DIY approach ensuring many have been friends first.
“If you have a bond with someone and they get your vision it’s obviously a lot easier than explaining to a stranger what you’re trying to do. If someone knows you and is familiar with your work it’s a lot easier to gauge where you see it going. I do think I prefer doing that.”
WHAT: Indulgent jazz-tinged soul packed with personality.
WHERE: South London
3 Songs: ‘Hold You’ ‘Soweto Blues’ ‘Garden Rain’
FACT: She has a Lord Of The Rings tattoo - “Everyone's always so surprised!"
- - -
- - -
Words: Shannon McDonagh
Photography: Joel Smedley
Styling: Zarina Shukri
MUA/Grooming: Love Lei Lashes
Join us on the ad-free creative social network Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks, exclusive content and access to Clash Live events and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.