It's all about the story.
Armon Jay, a Nashville based neo-folk musician, will release his debut solo album, "Everything's Different, Nothing's Changed," Jan. 21.
Jay's tale of his first musical epiphany may not be the most traditional, as it was the movie "Titanic" that led him to music when he was about 11. After seeing the film, he went home to tap out "My Heart Will Go On" on his family's out-of-tune piano and has been playing music ever since.
"It's not the coolest story, but for some reason it connected the dots," Jay said. "Like, the emotion in that song split my lid open. I immediately was drawn to music. I listened to Green Day and all those cool bands, but the truth is Celine Dion stole my heart through music."
As a sophomore in high school, Jay and a friend founded the band Nevertheless. The duo took off, putting him on the road for seven years. Following the group's disbanding in 2009, Jay spent a few years working with bands for hire and other smaller gigs until he finally decided on a solo project.
"I actually miss it a lot," he said. "I miss the camaraderie of a band and being around people on the road. I'm going out on tour, and I'm going to have that again."
However, despite missing the fraternity that comes with creating music with friends, Jay said he is grateful for the creative control he has while recording his album.
"I just wanted to give it a shot and have my hand on everything without splitting up the creative direction with other people," Jay said. "And not in a selfish way, but when you have an idea and you have a vision, it's more like doing what you want to do. It turns into something that you hold dear to yourself."
Before beginning this record, Jay battled insomnia and depression while trying to work through questions about his identity, all of which form the basis for many of his lyrics.
"When I got to the point where I looked at my flaws and who I am as a person and became OK with that, that's kind of when the flood gates opened up and I felt freedom and started to grow," he said. "I call it desolation to consolation, and it's what we all go through as people.
"That's kind of what the album is. It's a journey from those two different seasons."
Jay is unashamed of his journey to this album, what he calls "desolation to consolation." He views his two-year period of self-discovery as a story to share. From the lyrics to the album's artwork, he worked to portray his journey as his own odyssey.
"I wanted to take different portraits of a traveler, an actual wanderer headed somewhere," he said. "It didn't all come together till the end. When it was all said and done, when we finished the record, it was very bizarre, but we had a set of songs that were very easy to pick out the story and the sequence of what I was talking about."
When Jay knew he was ready to record this album, he had one setback: funds. It was then that he took to Kickstarter. There, he raised $14,000, all of which helped to make his debut album.
Armon Jay never looked to produce a certain album. However, after finishing recording, his producer, Joshua James, described the album as neo-folk. And it stuck.
"I can't completely call it folk because that would be kind of a loose term, and when I think of folk, it's hard to completely dive in and call it that and give it that much credit," Jay said. "The legends like Bob Dylan, he was a folk artist. Folk is straight-up storytelling, and that's what I tried to do, but it's a different vibe."
Following his album release in Chattanooga this weekend, Jay will begin touring the country with friend and fellow Nashville artist, Noah Gunderson. Jay, who is no stranger to the road, said he is eager for the friendship traveling with a band allows but may face one difficulty.
"I am beyond stoked," he said. "I am excited, but now that I'm married, I'm a little nervous because I know I'm going to miss ... my wife."