Jay Will is a Grandmaster


By: Joseph Cunningham

jaywill_onset.jpgHe is known all around the world and especially in the Dancehall as a prolific video director. Simply put, he is the "brain" behind many memorable projects.

Jason "Jay Will" Williams grew up in Spanish Town, Jamaica for a short time, then moved to Orlando, Florida to attend school. He says that he posses a talent to stretch his imagination beyond the norm and hence, produces revolutionary scenes in his videos. After attending Full Sail High and Florida A&M University, Jason moved to New York where he landed a job as editor at CBS Television.

It could be said that greatness was his destiny, because soon after, Jay Will was transferred to MTV, where he was assigned to edit Home Videos.

"I did my first music video, while working at MTV. I was a member of a group of young professionals called Kuamp, and we worked together on Kanye Wests' "Through the Wire" music video."

Since then, he has directed numerous high profile videos, solo. "I left MTV to pursue a full time directing career, and formed my own company, Jay Will Films, where I produce and direct documentaries, music videos, TV shows and commercials," he explained.

It takes a visionary writer, producer and director such as Jason "Jay Will" Williams to make the gritty works of artists like Kanye West and M.I.A. come alive. And, he revealed that he is always developing fresh visual language to communicate thoughts and emotions across cultures. This is why his artistic projects transcend the commercial work of many other directors.

Further, Jay Will explained that living in Jamaica, which he now does, inspires his eye for angles and lines, and the non-linear way they cut across the screens, creating layers upon layers of motion. This has become a defining feature in his storytelling and editing styles, that transports viewers through multiple worlds in a matter of minutes.

His material is global and local, prophetic and current. Williams is one of few directors in the Caribbean and American music video arenas, who mirrors the diversity of the music he brings to life. No wonder artists such as Voicemail have enlisted him as their go-to director: One who turns international hit songs into visual masterpieces that compel viewers from all backgrounds to participate in lively dance phenomena.

While much of Jay Will's acclaim is a result of his ability to translate the animated landscape of the Caribbean into a stimulating visual scene, film and video industry professionals are also taking note of his abilities as a storyteller.

CVM TV gave Williams the Director of the Year Award in 2006, and, for his riveting portrayal of Jamaica's pulsating Dancehall culture, Williams was the recipient of the Best Documentary Award at The Flashpoint Film Festival in 2006.