In summer 2016, bedroom-pop songwriter Jay Som was touring with indie-rock musician Mitski, playing a short four-song set and only having released a two-track EP at the time. Less than a year later, the Oakland-based artist had released two albums, was on her own tour across the United States and was making it onto lists of the best artists of 2017. This April, Jay Som — stage name for Melina Duterte — will be making another tour stop: She’ll be the headlining act for WHRW’s Moefest.
The festival is organized each year by the music director of WHRW, along with a small committee within the radio station dedicated to coordinating which bands will headline. This year, Jacob Levine, music director of WHRW and a junior majoring in English, said that the station began looking for acts to come to Moefest in November, and that he knew he wanted Jay Som to headline the event from the beginning.
“I think she definitely has more name-recognition throughout the student body [than previous artists] — I think she’s also more of a current artist, very much on the up-and-up … I think this is going to be a very good year,” Levine said.
Jay Som began receiving critical acclaim after her proper debut, “Everybody Works,” was released in March of 2017 by Polyvinyl Records. The album was recognized as a top-50 album of the year by both Rolling Stone and Pitchfork, landing at 29 and 26, respectively. In the interim, she has been on tour with Japanese Breakfast and has opened for artists like Courtney Barnett.
“I think it’s really cool that we’re trying to appeal again toward the station,” Levine said. “As much as this is an event on campus for everyone in Broome County and the Southern Tier to show up — it’s free, they can do that — this is put on by WHRW and it is kind of a treat for the radio station, so I’m glad we’re angling back toward their music tastes.”
Jeffrey Goldberg, the general manager of WHRW and a senior majoring in geography, noted that Jay Som’s sound will be staying in line with musical acts that have been brought to campus in years past.
“Jacob [Levine] described Jay Som as ‘chill indie’ — we always promote Moefest as the indie alternative to Spring Fling,” Goldberg said. “That’s the atmosphere that we’re trying to put together, and we hope Jay Som complements it.”
Moefest will be held on April 21, beginning at 3 p.m., and is free to attend. Jay Som will take the stage at 8 p.m.