Michaela Jaé is no stranger to the spotlight. Also professionally known as Mj Rodriguez, she’s an award-winning actress and performer (for the TV drama Pose and show Rent) who has no problem drawing the attention of an audience. In addition to her impressive track record on stage, Jaé recently released her first-ever single, “Something To Say,” earlier this month (June 4).
“I’ve been a singer all my life, and a vocalist all my life,” Jaé tells American Songwriter. “Music was completely embedded in my life ever since I was a child. My mom raised me on music.”
Emerging from childhood well-versed in her family’s musical passions and practices, Jaé attended Berklee College of Music to major in songwriting and performance (even before her acting training). “I feel like that was my true introduction to the technicality and the beauty of music, and it’s stuck with me throughout all my life. I’m so happy that it’s been ingrained in me,” Jaé explains about her formal education.
Now, Jaé is emerging as an undeniably talented solo artist with ample room to explode onto the music scene. Her new song, “Something To Say,” was originally pitched to her before she added her creative flair to it. “I heard the song, and I loved it. I was happy that I got a chance to lend my vocals and lend my creative process to it. I thought it was a great song for the times that we were going through—there were so many injustices in the world,” Jaé explained.
Jaé described that despite difficult times, she was inspired by the strong and self-assured members of the LGBTQIA+ community who persevere through different cultural crises. “Another inspiration would be for people to understand that we have more in common than we actually realize,” Jaé says. “The only way we can let others know about that is if we say it together. So I think that was the true inspiration—the people that I wanted to influence that I wanted to make happy. Also, I wanted to get out of a funk that we were in for a year and some change.”
She continues, “There’s one lyric in the song that speaks to me constantly. It’s Black and brown and yellow and white / Let’s stand for something / Love tonight. I think that lyric itself, that phrase itself, says it all. All of us can do something if we all work together.”
In addition to the song’s timely inspirations and lyrics, “Something To Say” sounds joyfully triumphant. Jaé described the track as a blend of pop, R&B, and disco-funk that just makes you want to dance.
“You can listen to this song and you can ride down the street with the windows down. You can listen to the song in the summer. It’s also a song that could possibly be an anthem that lifts you up and that keeps you going,” she says. “A song that you can work out to it has that kind of vibe to it. It just makes you want to get up and move in. That was my main goal when we were in the process of creating the song. To make sure that not only were people able to feel together and lifted in the song but that they can move to it as well. And not to mention so I can move to it honey, because a girl loves to perform.”
“Something To Say” is an empowering, fun song that fits our current moment and the moments still to come. Watch the lyric video for “Something To Say” below and keep an eye out for Michaela Jaé’s next release.