Behind every face associated with a name is a story. For some their story proves that being triumphant is still possible even in the midst of challenges, hardships and the toughest adversities. Born in Queens, New York but raised in the East New York section of Brooklyn, was a boy who was oblivious to the circumstances in which he was about to endure. Unbeknownst to him as he made his entrance into the world was also the realization that he would grow up to be a man who would later be associated with titles such as playwright, director, producer, Editor-In-Chief, on-air radio personality and Internet radio station owner. He once said, “We live our life forward but to understand it you have to look at it backwards.” If we relive history from present day to his conception, Jermaine “Jay Everyday” Smith’s story could easily be a non-fiction novel written by a New York Times Bestseller. However, facts can never be fiction, thus what you see is real; one man destined for greatness though statistics would have said otherwise. And today, the very obstacles he once faced in his formative years assist him in writing, directing, and producing stage plays that have received accolades and acclaim at various venues across the United States.
Jermaine “Jay Everyday” Smith lost his father to Cancer at the tender age of four, leaving his mother to become a single parent to him and his sister. Yet, even more troubling was the fact that she was battling a drug addiction which spanned over the course of twenty seven years. Though his grandmothers and aunts played a role in shaping his development and offering some nurturing due to his mother’s situation, the difficulties of dealing with his fractured family structure forced him to withhold years of emotional pain and perplexity. From witnessing drugs being used in his home as a child, to taking on the responsibility of watching over his sister, Smith grew up faster than most children. Though the allure of the streets could easily captivate someone of his circumstance, that sort of lifestyle didn’t spark his interest. He spent a great deal of time writing, which in hindsight served as a way to release those repressed emotions.
As the years progressed and his mother’s situation didn’t improve, Smith found himself facing more tribulations in his life in 2003. His two year old nephew who suffered from sickle cell died after he was wrongly treated and misdiagnosed with having a sickle cell attack when it was later discovered he had a fever. Leaving the family in turmoil and grief, it was at that pivotal point that his mother decided her lifestyle had been detrimental for far too long and decided it was time for God to navigate her life. In awe by his mother’s choice and her spiritual healing, Smith also recognized that a breakthrough needed to happen for the sake of his own future and that of his family, and also gave his life to God.
For the past seven years God has been the center of his family unit to include his mother’s now drug free existence. In 2005, after focusing on working out some of the issues that plagued his ability to understand who he was and dealing with those feelings, he began writing skits and presenting them to the pastor of his local church, who suggested he turn them into stage plays. Thus the comedic, dramatic, inspiration family drama stage play, A Piece of Me, was born. Throughout its forty performances, it was the first African-American produced play to be shown at Playhouse on the Green in Bridgeport, Connecticut since 2002 and the first African-American produced stage play ever to be performed at The Shawnee Playhouse, which was built in 1904. A Piece of Me has received several recognitions, been responsible for almost a hundred audience members turning over their life to Christ, and won noteworthy awards to include, the “Best Stage Play Award” in 2009 at the Holla Back Gospel Music Awards in New Haven, Conneticut, five nominations at the 2008 Tiffany Gospel Awards in New York and a review and feature on Essence.com in May 2009. Smith’s second stage play, Cooking in Yesterday’s Grease, has been reviewed in the Examiner and continues to be performed across the United States.
Creating a name for himself and a marketing brand Smith set his sights on radio. After attempting to get on mainstream radio to promote his stage plays and being unsuccessful, he sought out the opportunity to create his own Internet radio station, Everyday Radio. With a fully equipped, station in Brooklyn, NY and over ten radio shows hosted by various air personalities under his leadership, Everyday Radio offers something for everyone. The mission of the station is to provide a platform for the “everyday” person to be heard. In September 2010, Smith will launch Everyday the Magazine, a publication for everyday heroes in communities nationwide and abroad. The publication will give readers a chance to read insightful, sometimes painfully honest interviews from real people who have amazing stories and testimonies that can change lives.
Adding to his professional credits, Smith has been featured in Allezom Magazine, Exclusivity Magazine, served as a regular guest on WHCR (Harlem Community Radio), featured on New York’s public access channels, BCAT and MNN, WVOF/Fairfield University Radio (88.5 FM), and has appeared on Tom Joyner’s 94.3 FM, to name a few.
Currently, Smith is working on new projects to include expanding and branding Everyday Radio, Everyday the Magazine and show appearances for his stage plays, along with being a father and continuing to strengthen his family unit.
Jermaine “Jay Everyday” Smith resides in Brooklyn, NY.
Q & A with Jermaine “Jay Everyday” Smith
BS: Through reading your story, we know of the hardship you’ve experienced. What role has that played in the man you are today?
Jermaine “Jay Everyday” Smith: My past plays a significant role into the person that I am today and the man that I continue to grow into. Growing up as a child who lost his father at the age of four and seeing your mother battle a twenty year substance abuse addiction was the life that I was exposed to. This atmosphere did not provide me with the sketch of how a man is suppose to provide for his family, of how a boy learns how to treat a young lady, respect all women and to tell or show another how you felt or cared.
BS: How did you begin writing stage plays? Did you contact individuals within the industry? How did you fully equip yourself and build your audience?
Jermaine “Jay Everyday” Smith: I begin writing stage plays soon after I was approached about acting within a stage play. This offer not only got me on stage; it opened my eyes to expand on all the other writings, songs and poems that I was currently doing at the time. I had no clue as to who to contact in the industry and just decided to jump in headfirst. I equipped myself by gathering a few friends to read a couple of pages of a concept that I had created as a television pilot. The pilot was well received but was not the project that I needed to convert into a stage play. Once I wrote the appropriate piece, I went out and spoke with a Pastor about bringing my production to his church (Faith Assemblies of GOD; Brooklyn, NY). I then begin to hit the streets with fliers and emailing everyone that I knew. We sold and packed out the church and held an Alter Call where we saved close to twenty people that night. From there it was GOD, more fliers, social networks and good word of mouth as the best business card.
BS: What encouraged you to create a radio show? What are some of the concentrations of the show?
Jermaine “Jay Everyday” Smith: My encouragement to start my own Internet Radio station was based on the financial limitations that I faced to either pay for radio interview, radio air play or traveling difficulties to get to these shows. I felt that many of us small productions, indie artists or small business owners reach our financial cap quicker or are just limited in that area to spend to market or promote. The concentration of my station and shows is to highlight the “Everyday Person”, the small business owners, the indie artist and to hear the community’s voice on issues and matters that you may not hear about no longer once the mass media smoke has cleared.
BS: You are an Entrepreneur. Tell us more about the launch of your new perfume. Why did you create a scent for women, unlike many other men who have created colognes, choose to make one for women?
Jermaine “Jay Everyday” Smith: I launched “Everyday” For Women in December 2011 to honor and share with the world, how I felt about the strong “Everyday Women” in my life; such as my Mother, Sister, Aunts and Grandmothers. They all have been great influences in one way or another to me through their strength, prayers and connection. I wanted to also make something great and affordable for the individuals who may not have the financial flexibility to get another desired product that is out of their price range. My goal was to create a great signature scent that you can wear “Everyday” and be simple, clean & magnificent. I decided to tackle the fragrance because I believe it was time for me to put the woman first.
BS: What advice do you have for someone who wants to venture towards any similar endeavors?
Jermaine “Jay Everyday” Smith: My first piece of advice would be to pray on the new venture. Secondly, I would definitely say you should commit to putting in the research hours needed for you to learn as much as you can about the product/project, and to talk to or work with someone that has successfully worked in that field if you can.
BS: What motto’s do you live by? What are the most important lessons that you’ve learned to date?
Jermaine “Jay Everyday” Smith: I live by the motto of “I rather you appreciate me more than you need me”. I feel this way because people can hate who they need; but there is no way possible that anyone can hate who they appreciate. One of the most important lessons that I’ve learned thus far is that “People are the best investment”.
BS: What future projects do you have in store? How can we get involved?
Jermaine “Jay Everyday” Smith: I am currently getting back to filming my television project that I paused in order to release the fragrance. I am finally putting the final touches on a one man show that I have been contemplating writing for a few years. Black Street’s involvement thankfully has started now with this platform of allowing me to discuss the things that I am looking to contribute to this world. So I thank you for the opportunity.