The Beginnings of At Least I Try

The Beginnings of At Least I Try

Hello everyone, it's your boy, Jaye AKA "At Least I Try".

TL;DR: I started a solo project because I was tired of lazy and rude musicians and felt I could do better than full bands as a single person. (and I have been)

I have been writing music for many years but within the past year that name has become one that just stuck. I had many previous "artist names" or bands that I was in, but something about At Least I Try just fits me the most, and I feel the most comfortable operating under it.

If you've read the about me section on this website you'll see where I wrote about why I am a solo artist. If you didn't see that, it's because I live in a small town and there's only a handful of musicians that are interested in a similar genre as me, and are within my age group. Of that very small group there was even fewer musicians that had personalities that I meshed well with. I've dealt with some of the laziest, and douchiest motherf*ckers on the planet. I felt like most of them literally only wanted to write music because they wanted to be famous. If I'm being quite honest, while yes, it could be cool to leave a legacy, what I'm motivated by most is forming a community of people who have similar struggles as I do. I always envision a crowd in front of me while I write and seeing these imaginary people's faces motivates me. We all hurt, so like, let's hurt together you know? At one point I even considered starting a support group for anxious individuals in my area.

As far as other musicians in my area, they're all douchey old dudes who think that if you don't know what a Gsus7 chord is (or some sh*t, I literally don't know what that is) or if you don't listen to this obscure jazz musician, then you're not a real artist. To that, I say f*ck you. Cavemen could be musicians if they tried hard enough. "Kronk, you bang that bone on the wall while I go ooga booga". When I started writing music, I didn't even know what a key was. With my latest song "I Know You Are But What Am I?", I actually used a key for the first time! Instead of just aimlessly wandering around the fretboard until something felt good, I had a more direct approach to getting the sound I wanted. A lot of people have been giving me compliments too, saying that this track was a massive improvement over the previous one. I appreciate that so much! 

Maybe I am a bit of a douchebag myself. One thing I know I'm not, although, is that I'm not a douchey musician. I honestly doubt my abilities the majority of time that I am writing music which is why I produce my stuff on my own. It's kind of funny actually. It seems that I usually accidentally fall into writing a song that I like. Lately that seems to have been changing since I've been getting more into music theory, but most previous songs just feel like accidents. I don't know if that's a common feeling amongst artists or not. I don't even know if they're written properly or technically mixed / mastered well either. I'm literally doing this all by myself (except some artwork). That's where the name comes from.

After dealing with North Carolina's douchiest and laziest, and being motivated to be better than them as a single person, while they are a unit of 3 plus, the band name At Least I Try just seemed absolutely perfect. I am completely on my own in this project. From initial ideation, to final delivery, it's just me. When I was younger, I was talking to my brother about a song I had just written and I said "You know, if it was just me, this song would've been completely done already". Ever since then, I've kept that same energy in each track I write.

The name is also the ultimate copout, while also maintaining the sort of theme that I want to instill and display with this project. It can be related to mental health issues, which is something I've struggled with a lot in my life. (I was diagnosed by a medical professional).

I was kicked out one of my previous bands because I was being "too controlling" with them by urging them to practice, to have a fun stage presence, and to write songs that people want to listen to over and over again. I believed we could've really made something of ourselves. We were 3 songwriters and a drummer. There was no shortage of new songs but the members lacked a productive structure before I joined. After I joined, we delivered two singles and an EP in less than one year. Maybe I should've been more lenient, but It's been four years since then, and that group has delivered one song. I have delivered five tracks (written at least 10 more) as a single person while they have had, at times, five members. Five tracks in four years doesn't sound like a lot, but each track represents a stepping stone in my learning. I feel like I've finally gotten to the point that I know what the f*ck I'm doing. Time between delivery of each track has gotten shorter and shorter. I even finished one song while attending trade school. My work ethic is unparalleled when I set out to do something. My results speak for themselves.

I guess what I'm really trying to say is, yeah my music might not be as great as a full band's, but at least I'm f*cking trying. The other musicians I knew might be critical of me, but they ain't doin' sh*t.

By the way, I don't compare my work to other solo musicians or pop artists. I compare it to bands like My Chemical Romance, The 1975, Alice in Chains, and Mayday Parade. I know I can do this. It might take 5 times as long to get something done because it's only me, but each track is a challenge to push myself to be better. Genuinely, the most cathartic experiences I have are when all the parts of a song start to fit together and you create an emotion beyond words.

I love music. I love the technology, the sounds, the business, and the (good) people you meet along the way. I may have anxiety, I may barely be able to play drums or sing, I may work too hard at my job that most of the time I don't have the energy to write a song, but hey, at least i try. Props to you too though, you're trying too. The worst thing you can ever do is give up on something you love.


In the next article. I will explore what the first three ALIT tracks were about and the process that I had to write them.

Back to blog