Artist on Cover: JACE. (@jacecarrillo)

Introducing JACE, a Venezuelan-Canadian R&B-pop artist from Montreal, Canada. He made his debut on February 1st, 2019 with the single “Por Amar De Mas”. Since his debut, he has released plenty of singles and his debut album JACE on March 12th, 2021.

On July 21st, 2023, JACE released “Eclipse” which is a pre-release track for his second album. “Eclipse” was also featured in CBC’s “Songs You Need To Hear” series, and is also one of the Top 100 selections in the CBC Searchlight competition.

Today at midnight, JACE unveiled his second album Phenomena. Behind The Beat had the opportunity to sit down with JACE to discuss his musical journey, the inspiration behind his new album, his sound and his plans for the future.


Can you introduce yourself?

JACE: Hola!! People call me JACE. It’s an acronym for my full name: Jorge Alejandro Carrillo Martinez. If you can say it really fast (x2), I’ll give you a prize. Haha.

How did your musical journey begin?

JACE: It all started when I was dedicating songs to my childhood crushes back in kindergarten. I used to write my own songs about the sparkle in my girlfriends’ eyes – quite the Latin lover, I must say!

What musicians or artists inspired you to become an artist?

JACE: My inspiration took root when I decided to join a gospel choir as a teenager, which was quite unusual in Venezuela at the time. That experience ignited my curiosity to improve my singing skills, and I found myself drawn to diverse Anglo music genres and artists that had no connection to Latin music. Initially, I used to jokingly say that Brian McKnight was my grandpa, and from there, I couldn’t stop singing Michael Jackson or dreaming about having a show in the style of Justin Timberlake. They made me believe I could create Spanish music for big stadiums that could rival theirs.

How has navigating the music industry as a Venezuelan-Canadian artist been for you?

JACE: It’s been a constant evolution, pushing me out of my comfort zone repeatedly. I’ve now spent 8 years in Canada, but when I first arrived, I couldn’t even hold a basic conversation in English or French. It’s been a personal journey of growth, where I adapted and opened my mind to become more than just an immigrant. When I speak to the Canadian industry, I feel like I represent the Latin community, but when I speak to other countries, I feel like I represent the Canadian community. It’s a beautiful challenge.


Congrats on the release of your second album PHENOMENA! Can you describe the overall theme/meaning of the album?

JACE: Muchas Gracias!! Phenomena is a unique way of comparing love experiences to a journey through space. To me, self-exploration and emotions are as phenomenal as the wonders of the cosmos. When you witness or live through a phenomenon, that’s when you truly understand it. Additionally, I wanted to explore genre diversity and fusion between the Anglo and Latin music worlds.

What was the production and writing process like for each song on this album?

JACE: For these songs, I drew inspiration primarily from the beats and initial chords, as opposed to starting with a melody or lyrical concept. I allowed myself to be inspired by the talented individuals I collaborated with on this album.

Song 1: Desapareces

JACE: One word to describe this one: Bass. It has a unique alternative vibe. I think it was one of the easiest songs to write. It conveys a sense of letting go, and the music’s flow makes you unconsciously nod your head. I sing about a lover who only exists in my dreams, lost in my hallucinations, and I ponder why things vanish… perhaps we existed in different dimensions?

Song 2: Levita

JACE: “Levita” is the anthem of the album because it captures the feeling of defying gravity, as if love were the opposing force to gravity. You feel like you’re soaring high when you’re hopeful and in love, and you feel like you’re plummeting when things aren’t going well in a relationship. The music also carries an upbeat, Afro/Reggaeton fusion.

Song 3: Moviendo

JACE: This song transports me back to my time in Venezuela. It has a tropical and romantic vibe. The AfroPop influence, created with my bro Alyko, infuses the song with a beachy feel. I believe it’s a perfect song for someone looking to learn Spanish.

Song 4: Eclipse

JACE: I would say this is the most special song of my career so far. It has changed my life, and I know it has touched the lives of others as well. It’s truly fulfilling! I drew inspiration from my grandparents, as if they were speaking directly to me. I once read that an eclipse used to be a sign of the world coming to an end in some cultures. Sometimes we may find ourselves emotionally crashing and hitting rock bottom, but that doesn’t mean it’s the end. As long as there is love, there is hope for everything else. Lean on your loved ones.

Song 5: Equinox

JACE: I created this one with Canadian artist Myles Castello over Zoom calls. The song delves into the experience of long-distance love. While one person wakes up with the sun, the other is stargazing. While one sleeps, the other misses them. Luca The Producer and Jacob Lacroix-Cardinal crafted an explosive interlude and a chill contrast with the guitars.

Song 6: Espacio-Tiempo

JACE: I have a surprise in store for this one… so we’ll have to chat later about it!

Song 7: Taking Off

JACE: It delves into a relationship where everything seems to click perfectly, where you have a true match because you understand each other. Would you prefer to speed alone, or travel further with someone by your side? This is one of my favorite songs; it ignites my dreams.

Song 8: Lunática

JACE: Imagine wanting to invite your crush to the moon, so you can be alone together.

Song 9: Extasis

JACE: When the climax of an energetic exchange leads you to discover an oasis in the middle of the desert… This song is very romantic and intimate I must say.

What is your favourite song on the album?

JACE: Mmmm….So difficult to choose. Different songs for different vibes or moods.

Can you describe this album using a colour and why you chose that colour?

JACE: Ayyy… Honestly, when it comes to this whole album, it’s like a sunrise or sunset. A mix of tints, all more beautiful than the next.

What emotions are you hoping the listeners to feel when they listen to this album?

JACE: It depends on the song, really. In general, I want to take them on a journey. This album is like a movie with a lot of ups and downs.


How did you find your sound?

JACE: It took years! My first self-produced song is called “Por Amar de más”…I think I made it after 7 months of trying, building and destroying, and repeating that circle…until Señor Steve and I said: enough! Let’s release it.

I think my sound is still and will always evolve. I think I will always explore, but this time I know what my essence is, what I would say No right away vs what I’m willing to experiment.

And for first time listeners, what song would you recommend them to listen to out of your discography?

JACE: I think songs like “Moviendo” or “Eclipse” are really catchy. A song like “Taking Off” explains what I can do as an artist mixing languages and vibes, and a song like “Extasis” or “Provoca – Live from Maison des Arts” can make you visualize yourself in one of my live performances.


Is there a genre or sound you want to experiment with in the future?

JACE: I have a strong desire to delve deeper into two distinct musical realms. On one hand, I’m passionate about exploring R&B Pop en Español, and on the other hand, I’m eager to venture into the world of electronic music.

Without giving away too many details, what do you have planned for the rest of the year?

JACE: I’m excited to share that I’ll be attending the Latin Billboards in Miami, where I aim to establish deeper connections within the industry. Additionally, I have a strong desire to expand my music to various cities across Canada and engage in collaborations with those who share the vision of nurturing Latin Global and Pop influences within the music industry.

What do you hope for the future regarding your music career?

JACE: You know, I think the first thing is to find more dreamers on social media and make connections there. But honestly, what really fires me up is getting out there and performing live – that’s where I have the most fun and feel the most alive.

Phenomena is now available on all digital streaming platforms, so make sure to check it out here.

Special thanks to JACE for doing this interview with us. As well, thank you to Kari Zalik and her team at Bad Parade for setting up this interview and coordinating with us.

Listen to Phenomena on Spotify:

Check out JACE on Instagram: @jacecarrillo

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