Seems like all the superstars come from Houston, Texas and the city may have another hometown favorite on their hands with rising pop star Jilly.
The now LA-based artist made a name for herself as a YouTube sensation with her family and has also opened up for 2 Chainz. In March, she released the EP Copy & Paste, with Lil Rich (YG, Machine Gun Kelly, DaBaby, City Girls) and Lab Ox (Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, 50 Cent) serving as the producers on the project. And she was recently featured on the MTV IG channel where she did a live MTV Jam Session.
The singer chatted with BET.com about her EP, her inspirations, and how her brother keeps her grounded as she continues to reach higher heights in her career.
BET.com: How would you describe your persona?
Jilly: I’m just myself — I don’t try to be anyone else but myself. The only person I ever want to one up is me. I stay in my own lane — I’m a southern girl so the southern hospitality is what you’ll get. The best part about my [persona] is my authenticity — there’s only one Jilly so whenever you’re around me, the vibes and energy is irreplaceable. You can’t this vibe anywhere else but within me.
BET.com: You have an EP called Copy & Paste that dropped in March. How does it feel when you hear folks singing your lyrics?
Jilly: It’s so dope because I’ve been doing music for a very long time and this is my first time putting out a body of work besides one single. As the 4-track EP lived on its on and we released the first single ‘Like That,’ another record off the project called ‘Throwback’ became a fan favorite from the EP. I’m actually shooting the video for it. It’s so incredible to see people choose their favorite records from the EP and seeing people put in their Instagram stories, etc. It’s inspiring and it’s what I do this for. For people to acknowledge me through this EP, I take it as a sign that I’m moving in the right direction.
BET.com: Your social media presence is huge. Do you feel social media can help or harm an artists career and why?
Jilly: We live in a time where social media plays a key role in every pinnacle in one’s life — we’re not in the traditional, old school way of doing things with radio runs. Social media is the main pinnacle of where we are today. If you use it in a strategic way, it can be very helpful. You can try not to use social media, but you’ll get lost. If you use it your advantage, it can be extremely helpful — you reach so many people through social media, it’s a broad range of an audience you can pull in more than before. When I was selling my products like my cookbook and perfume, it was incredible to see not only people from all over the U.S., but people out of the country like Ireland, Europe, and Canada purchasing my products. It’s great to see I have fans all over.
BET.com: Who are some of your inspirations?
Jilly: Growing in Houston, even though these artists may not sound like the sound I’m putting out, they played a key role in why I decided to pursue music. I would say Slim Thug, Bun B — Houston heroes who I may not sound like, they inspired me a lot. We can of course say Beyonce especially back in her Destiny Child days. I went to all of their concerts in middle school so that’s when I knew this is what I meant to do. They paved the way for my city, but also for me, too.
BET.com: You have a very close relationship with your brother, Jules. Is he someone who keeps you grounded in this industry?
Jilly: 1000% — he’s like my best friend for life. My brother understands me and it’s great to have someone who has been with you your entire life. People only see me as Jilly as the content creator, artist, the foodie, but I’m such a family person. When I’m with my brother, there’s no expectations on the table and we just see ourselves — that’s the best part about it because I was blessed as a best friend I didn’t choose to have, but it’s a choice for us to be as close as we are. Although we’re 3 years apart, that age gap isn’t a huge thing and it’s nothing now — that’s my world and I’m so grateful for him.
BET.com: What’s a goal on Jilly’s bucket list she wants to accomplish before the year is out?
Jilly: Before the year is out, I would love to accomplish getting on tour and performing all the records from my EP ‘Copy and Paste.’ I’m speaking it into existence [laughs].
*This interview has been edited for length and clarity
Ty Cole is a New York-based entertainment reporter and writer for BET.com who covers pop culture, music, and lifestyle. Follow his latest musings on Twitter @IamTyCole.