Exclusive Premiere: Aria Jay’s “He Said” Captures the Lingering Pain of Rejection

He said you’re amazing but I don’t know how to love you

Aria Jay’s burden is immediate, her sorrow heavy on the opening to her song, “He Said.” Rejection comes in so many forms – we’re all familiar with the it’s not you, it’s me phrase – but no matter how someone delivers the message, those words stick with you. In her retelling of the breakup moment on “He Said,” Aria Jay captures the lingering pain of rejection.

He said you’re amazing but I don’t know how to love you
He said I don’t know what’s wrong with me I’m sorry
He said I’ve gotta figure this one out alone
I’m so confused I thought what we shared could grow
Listen: “He Said” – Aria Jay

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering Aria Jay’s “He Said” music video, the latest offering from her independently-released 2016 debut EP Growth (currently under re-release via Manimal Vinyl). Directed by Janet S. Kim, “He Said” shows the Brooklyn-based artist slowly overcoming her grief and finding closure to this relationship.

“‘He Said’ is one of the most honest things I’ve ever written, so it felt really natural to make a visual expression of it,” relates Jay. “I collaborated with director/producer Janet S. Kim, who came up with the story line for it.  And I think the feeling that this piece of music came from really comes across through what we came up with.” She’s not wrong: The opening line to “He Said” depicts the lowest, hardest part of being broken up with, where you keep coming back to your final moments together, reliving them again and again in a useless attempt to either deny their meaning, or simply hold onto the last vestiges of hope. Jay’s chorus echoes with remorse as she tries to understand what has befallen her happy little life:

And I wanted you I could see this one through
I needed you, you made me feel new
I was genuine in my expression
I never had to pretend, did you?

We were good together, she protests. You completed me; you were my rock. Yet she must question these self-assured statements; she does not know the other side of the equation. Did love turn sour, or was love never there at all? Jay’s vocals ache with heartbreak as the weight of unanswered questions hangs in the air.

Aria Jay © Janet S. Kim

Aria Jay © Janet S. Kim

Jay’s “He Said” music video is an ideal complement to the song, delivering a tangible narrative that picks up the core of Jay’s lyrics, but delivers a warm, positive resolution. The mess we see waking up – her clothing strewn about the room, disheveled and disorganized in her numb state of indifference – slowly but surely comes around, becoming a mess no more. Jay spends her whole day cleaning up the literal and figurative mess she’s been left with, collecting her ex’s contents in an effort to purge herself of all reminders. It’s a recipe for moving on and beginning life anew, and it works: By the video’s end, we see a smiling Aria Jay looking up into the night sky. She’s dressed to the tens to see off a homemade air balloon, a lantern burning bright in the darkness.

Relationships run their course; those that end do so for a reason, and while we may not know what (or who) is around the corner, we hope to learn from the past and do better in the future. Produced by Cameron Outlaw with Chris Ash on MPC/synths, “He Said” is Aria Jay’s self-prescribed closure, the seedling for a fresh start. Look out for more from the New York artist as she re-releases her Growth EP this year.

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GROWTH EP - Aria Jay

Growth EP – Aria Jay

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cover: Aria Jay © Janet S. Kim

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com