In today’s age, technology has flooded our lives with content. Caught in the mire are modern musicians who champion an art form that’s more widely distributed than any other throughout human history. And we, more often than not, overlook the music created by unfamiliar faces because it’s challenging. We’d rather have an easy listen, a known quantity to skim through while we think about something else.
Hearing is easy, but listening is difficult. Welcome to “Why We Like It”, where we rebuke the trends in favor of thoughtful analysis and underknown sounds.
Trigger Warning: This story contains reference to suicide and is in no way intended to glorify the action or its effect on others. If you have been feeling down, depressed, hopeless or shown little interest in activities that you normally enjoy, please reach out to a mental health professional. At CentralSauce we care deeply about our readers and the artists we cover. We believe that maintaining your mental health is just as important as maintaining your physical health.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255
“Silent Tears” — Jaylon Musa
How We Found It
Jaylon Musa is a young artist searching for some ground to call his own in Los Angeles after having toured in Dallas, Houston, and New Orleans. I’ve gotten to know him a bit through conversations on Twitter and his 2020 project, The Unsung Act 1, opened my ears to the idea of writing about his music in the future. With the first song he sent me directly, “Silent Tears,” I knew that the gently rapped single was the perfect way for me to break to readers an understanding of what makes Jaylon a strongly musical poet. The single is a response to the loss of a close friend to suicide. I’ve always felt that Jaylon could somehow find the words and the delivery to communicate emotions strongly across the abstract space between artist and listener and I’ve never felt that more heavily. I’m deeply sorry for your loss Jaylon, and I hope that through your music you’re able to heal at your own pace.
Why We Like It
I love Jaylon Musa and I love his ability to pen powerful emotions into words with a delivery that makes the listener feel his energy on a deeper level, but I wish I didn’t have to write this post. I wish that Jaylon didn’t have to write this song. I can’t imagine having to find the words to process the loss of a close friend let alone find the sound that could even begin to channel some of that pain. Jaylon told me that he spent several days just looking for the right music and when he found the instrumental for “Silent Tears” he spent a full day just absorbing the energy of the sound before he began to write. I genuinely tear up every time I think about this process. For most people grieving the loss of someone close to them is an abstract experience. It’s more about dealing with the absence of something than it is responding to a physical force, but by making music about that feeling there’s suddenly something brought into the world by that pain. Music takes form — a manifestation pulled from that empty space.
It took me several tries to sit down and think about how I was going to write this, and even then I’m still not sure I’ve pressed the right keys, but somehow Jaylon makes his message understood.
I’m lost in agony don’t come find me though / A couple weeks ago the last time we spoke / I didn’t sense your pain if you was going through it / Wish I was in the same room when you thought to do it” – Jaylon Musa, “Silent Tears” (2020)
Jaylon initially processes his grief as guilt. He first questions why he was unaware of the struggle his friend was going through when he felt so close. From my own previous reporting for a local newspaper cover story on men’s mental health, I know that this dilemma is particularly present in men suffering with mental illnesses. A societal stigma exists that makes men feel as if mental anguish makes them less of a man, guilt for what they perceive as their own shortcomings results in men distancing themselves from others. Why do we feel the need to prove to ourselves that we can handle it without help?
Jaylon’s understanding of this silence is sung in a reserved manner, it’s minimalistic, not made to capture anything that hasn’t already settled in. He sings: “I didn’t know that you needed help, I would’ve tried to help / I didn’t know you were crying out (silent tears).” The whole song revolves around this concept of silent tears — it’s Jaylon trying to understand not knowing as much as it is the words he would have said to his friend if he had been aware. I found the lyrical portions speaking directly to his friend deeply touching.
I wish you could’ve found heaven on earth / You was an angel here, I’m just thankful you came through here / I’m thankful for you trust you was never ashamed to share / Your struggles with me, what I got from it was we had bond with each other / Our love for music is what brought us close we’d say we’d be stars and we’d align with each other” – Jaylon Musa, “Silent Tears” (2020)
When he’s on the mic Jaylon still isn’t thinking of himself. He feels blessed to have known his friend and having been gifted the time that he spent with him. The sincerity in his voice comes from the pain of loss. It’s that magical property of music to take from something insubstantial and create something of substance. The music we make turns the gaps in our lives into waves of force that ripple out among listeners with the emotional impact of our best and worst moments. That’s not something Jaylon had to try and understand. It’s communicated naturally because he’s a born artist. Maybe it’s something he picked up from an angel on Earth.
From Jaylon Musa
It feels bitter sweet but necessary. It is a form of grieving for me but also it is me communicating with the energy of my friend who transitioned as well. The song is only the beginning of the grieving process and I’m happy I’m able to vent in some type of way.” – Jaylon Musa for CentralSauce (2020)
More From Jaylon Musa
“Silent Tears” is Jaylon Musa at his most vulnerable, but it’s far from his only work laying raw emotion out on mic. I highly recommend checking out his 2020 project The Unsung Act 1 for a clear picture of his strong pen game and flow. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to stay up to date with new music. The man is putting in work on the regular so you know there’s more to come.
More to Discover
Subscribe to the CentralSauce mailing list so you never miss out on the freshest sauce. Subscribe to Brandon’s newsletter to get updates when he publishes writing like this and more. Check out this continuously updated playlist of songs the author has added to our Discovery section! Each track or artist has been featured in our “Why We Like It” section, so be sure to check out the page here on the site.