Jay-Marie Phillips, known as Jay is a Toronto resident who grew up in Trinidad and Tobago. Her heritage stems from a Hakka Chinese background with diaspora roots in Sav la Mar, Jamaica on her maternal side. She also has Portuguese heritage from Madeira and Welch roots on her paternal side.
Jay is a mutli-instrumentalist, singer and seasoned songwriter in the Toronto music scene and has worked with a myriad of underground artists. Currently she is working on her second EP and is collaborating with others to release music on multiple platforms. She is an experienced sound engineer with education from Recording Arts Canada and offers her expertise to the Ryerson Open Mics during the regular school year.
Growing up in the Caribbean has given Jay a unique perspective on the world, other than just thinking anything short of beach weather is freezing cold. A queer trans woman who has been living in Toronto since 2014 and transitioned in 2015, Jay is diverse and empathetic towards the global climate. During the time she has lived in Toronto, Regent park and the Yonge and Finch were places she has called home, and is well travelled within the city.
Thoughts About Art and Community
I hope that the work and advocacy I do can provide a platform for younger generation to feel safe, comfortable and authentic within themselves, and that the journeys we take should not come at the cost of our wellbeing. I hope to provide resources and access to the queer youth community, who are disproportionally affected by poverty and homelessness. By providing the resources to help others lift themselves, I hope to bring community together and help people find their voice.
Presently I'm working on creating a sustainable art initiative through the lens of taking typically mundane or under-utilized spaces into creative spaces of expression and connection. Foremost, I am planning on working with locally owned and operated laundromats in the downtown core to provide, free/subsidized laundry to low income individuals and families. While their laundry is being done, a space will be provided for participants to learn how to create, and express themselves, if they so choose. Space will also be provided to those comfortable with self expression and creation, but do not require or want assistance. Once a week, for two and a half hours this space will be open to members of the laundromat community. Through this program and the support of local business I want people to be given the space to define themselves outside of a traditionally capitalist framework without worry of safety, security or basic needs.