South London R&B Star Jaz Karis Talks “Dear Jaz” EP

The leading light of UK R&B talks penning a letter to herself on EP “Dear Jaz”.

There are few artists operating on UK shores today who deliver R&B as dexterously as South London’s Jaz Karis. Epitomised across the seven tracks of latest EP “Dear Jaz”, Karis’ introspective letter to the versions of her from the past and the future. Couched with a lexicon of deft storytelling, irrepressible melodies and her unmistakable molten vocal, the diaristic project documents her experiences of love and heartbreak in recent years.

“I think I never realised how much writing a song is like my own personal diary entry,” the artist, who grew up on a diet of nostalgic golden-age R&B and the relatable teen fiction of the likes of Jaqueline Wilson, tells us below. On title track “Dear Jaz” – featuring Wonderland Spring 2022 issue star Kojey Radical – she authors a letter to herself: “And it’s alright, it’s alright / They judge each time I fall / But it’s alright / Cos each time you break my fall,” she sings. Whilst lead single “Come Outside”, produced by Fred Cox (Hope Tala, Greentea Peng, Pip Millett) sees her pitched-up vocals dance around afro-beats indebted production, accompanied by an ethereal costal-set music video.

With over 1 million monthly Spotify listeners, and having recently played a sold-out show at iconic London venue Lafayette, the tally of fans hooked on Jaz Karis’ sumptuous R&B would appear to be ever-growing.

Head below to listen to the project right now and hear our chat with the artist about all things “Dear Jaz”…

Hey Jaz! How are you doing? What was the first thing you did this morning when you woke up?
I am so blessed! How are you? I woke up and went to play my EP!

Massive congratulations on the release of “Dear Jaz”! Firstly, can you unpack the project’s title for us?
Thank you! The project is a letter to myself. I think it contains versions of my past, present and future self so it’s quite self-reflective.

The project details your experience in the past few years of love and heartbreak. What role did the EP’s tracks play in healing for you personally?
Oh my, where to start – I think I never realised how much writing a song is like my own personal diary entry. It’s a huge release. I love listening in retrospect and hearing what I really was feeling.

You worked with the likes of amazing producer Fred Cox on “Come Outside”. How did you go about choosing the personnel to work with this time around?
I love Fred! He is a light that just travels and whenever we worked, we never knew what we were going to make. Hence “Come Outside’’. I love a safe space to create and Fred really creates that for me.

We know you’re a lover of golden-era R&B acts like D’Angelo and SWV. If you could get a feature from one of the genre’s icons on a “Dear Jaz” track – who would it be and which song?
Ooh. This is a tough one. I think if it was from that specific era I would love for SWV to be on “2Night”. They would go crazy.

And, outside of music, you’re a fan of the ‘90s/00s author icon that is Jaqueline Wilson! Do you think leaning into culture like that has influenced the diaristic quality of your lyrics and narrative?
I definitely think my love of fiction inspires the way I write and why I have such a fairytale view on things sometimes.

Can you describe the ideal scenario to listen to “Dear Jaz” in?
When it’s dark outside, curtains are drawn. You’re lying down on your bed with your best headphones or speaker and coloured lights are dancing across the walls.

You’ve also had your headline show at Lafayette! How was that?
Best night ever. The crowd was amazing, my band was incredible and all my favourite guests joined me on stage. A wonderful evening.

Finally, what’s one thing about this project – from production to its release – that has taught you something you didn’t know about yourself?
That I know myself better than I thought I did.

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