CjayQ is Conner Quinn’s new(ish) indie rock project. He grew up in San Jose started off writing rap songs with his friends as a sophomore in high school. Conner and his friends made a posse of kids who would make rap songs and beats during their lunch period. His first (rap) show was at Catalyst in Santa Cruz, opening up for Cool John. If you’re not familiar with this venue, it’s a pretty big deal, because about 800 people can fit in the audience there.
Attending Pyramind recording school in 2015 gave him access to world-class studios where he produced his first low-fi rap album. The school also gave him access to great connections with other artists making similar music. Conner was releasing things on SoundCloud in it’s glory days (circa 2015-2017). In fact, he started releasing a song a week. His songs gained more and more attention through the website, it became a huge asset for his career. With all his releases and cuts on other’s songs, he was able to pursue music full-time.
Through quarantine Quinn had an epiphany: he wanted to create indie rock music, which required a rebranding. He continues to make music under the name CjayQ. Now he creates music for people who love going to the beach. He goes to the beach almost every day since it’s just 20 minutes away from his place. He wants his music to transport you there with him.
His song Bloom from his first full-length indie album, was an important first step for him. He created something that reflected him. In 2020, he only released a handful of indie rock songs, but they received a lot of attention via editorial playlists on Spotify. His first performance as an indie boy was at Brick and Mortar in San Francisco. It was a blast. Even more fun than performing on stage as a rapper.
His earliest memories of music are of obsessing over and dancing to Britney Spears. Along with his parent’s favorites: records by The Dixie Chicks and Shania Twain. I wouldn’t say those influences really shine through today. His favorite artists right now are indie rock legends: Snail Mail, King Krule, Lunar Vacation, and Mac DeMarco. Conner creates surf rock with a twist. He’s got the DIY attitude and the raw sound of indie rock but his production style and low-fi origins shine through the layers of synth and rhythm guitars. He writes about themes of youth, freedom, and the search for his identity.
Conner remains committed to staying independent and self-managed, even though a few labels have reached out to him. He has refused offers from record labels and has continued to produce all of his music himself. This level of independence has allowed him to maintain creative control over his music. He says he’s doing pretty well as an indie artist so he’ll keep it that way for a while. He only dropped 4 songs last year and each one got on an editorial playlist. He’s able to produce all his own songs and secure a feature by Felly without help from a label.
While his new single released on (February 17th) is meant to be a birthday present to himself, which is just around the corner, it’s about growing up and acts as a timestamp for this time in his life. The self-produced video for the song is a collection of camcorder footage from his day-to-day life, which is an intimate and personal touch. “Turning 27 I think I’m finally becoming a real adult. I feel complete or at least, I know what I’m doing now. I found what I want to do and I’m making the kind of music I wanna make”. The song is meant to be a sort of cinematic coming of age. His music digs deeper as he grows as an indie artist and writer.
A word for the fans:
To my fans, I’d just wanna say thanks for sticking with me, I’ve changed a lot.
Check out the new single below and follow him on Instagram.