With a modern day rags to riches story, multi-talented artist StaJe is taking the industry by storm.
We caught up with the Los Angeles phenomenon to talk about where he came from and where he plans to go.
Bridge: Tell us who you are…
S: StaJe, I’m just a kid from Columbia, South Carolina. Born January 12, 1995 at Columbia Methodist Hospital. Raised by my beautiful mom Angel with four siblings Chris, Devone, Erica, and Mike. We are all competitive and always have been! From coming out of High school as an All-State athlete, I went on to attend Alabama State University. After transferring five times I finally settled down and finished up school at Limestone college.
Bridge: Your story is so inspiring! Can you give us some highlights of your journey?
S: I used to be a flight attendant for American Airlines. On one of my trips I flew into LA and we had a layover there. It was my first time being in LA. I knew then this is where I wanted to be. Long story short I literally went back to LA on another trip and simply never went back to work. I quit without officially quitting. With $150 to my name, I figured I would figure stuff out. But L.A. is a tough town, man. It’s like you either sink or swim, so you better learn to swim. I found out quickly as I didn’t have enough money to fly back home. I will never forget laying on a bench thinking what am I going to do! I lived on skid row for a few months. If you know anything about LA then you know how crazy Skid Row is. After a few months go by, I’m on my Facebook and I see a friend of mine that I went to college with lives in L.A. I reached out to him and he quickly embraced me and let me live on his couch. Now, the room had to be no more than 100 sq ft with the living room kitchen and bathroom all in one room. But it was night and day from skid row. Not too long after I started looking for a job and got hired at Mercedes-Benz as a salesman. I quickly rose to stardom as I was the #1 salesman the first month I was there. Making $20k in one month. It was insane! I started doing this regularly and moved me my friend out of my studio apt and in the hills of Hollywood. I put out my first studio single back in 2020 that went viral and got charted at #15 on Indie Global Billboards Charts and #54 on Global Billboards charts. I then knew that I should probably start focusing on music.
Bridge: That is incredible! I can picture a movie being made about your life one day.
What got you through those hard times? What kept you going?
S: I knew I had to get us out the hood! I mean I will always be grateful and thankful I had someone like Nick to help me here. I have family back at home that needs me. I was just always determined to be successful at anything I do. No matter the consequences! My late uncle always told me to “Keep going”. As simple as that is I take that in my everyday life. No matter the day, the world is going to keep going. Hell, Michael Jackson died and the next day the world kept going.
Photographer: Natalie Costello
Bridge: Sound advice, for sure!
I read you also launched a record label, can you tell us about that!
S: My record label is owned by Me Andy Jin (my manager) and also Goddi (artist/ceo). We launched the label back in early 2020. Signing artist like Joey, Crxfty, and Xin Zhuuu. After meeting Andy about three years ago through a coworker I always knew that we would work well together. He’s so passionate and works so hard. Great recipe for success. We are grooming artists and just trying to make a statement in this industry. We built this together and will continue to grow together and grow other artist to their fullest potential.
Bridge: You have a HUGE release coming up! Tell us about it!
S: We all were in the studio; Me, Andy, Taylor, and Bobby. They started playing this dancehall track and told me to freestyle. So I first was like, nah man skip that one. They insisted that I at least try, so I did. Andy picked up my phone and went live on Instagram to obviously embarrass me. Ha, nah Andy’s a good guy. But I had a fan comment saying that I should actually write to this song! That it was amazing and she would play it everyday. So I went home and sat with the song for a couple days then came up with the hook and here we are today talking about it today. Thankful to Kristiine for pushing me to finish it. I’m so excited about the music video. As a kid I use to watch Michael Jackson and how he told stories in his music videos in such a unique fashion. I could never compare myself to the greatest entertainer this world has ever seen but I’m definitely inspired and just want to have fun with it. We are working with an extremely talented Special Effects make up artist Crista Llewellyn and her team. Also Moonman Ent. will be shooting the video. We have a lot in store for this one! It’s going to be epic!
Bridge: I think I can speak for everyone when I say I cannot wait for that!
What was the inspiration behind “UP”?
S: This fan of mines really wanted this song after watching me freestyle to it on IG live. She made a point to reach out to me in my inbox and tell me to finish writing it and make it a song and she will play it everyday. I’ve never thought I could do a dancehall track. But she challenged me. I felt I had to step up and at least do it for her. It was the least I could do. Thank you Kristine!
Photographer: Natalie Costello