South Auckland teenager Jawsh 685 – whose tune inspired Jason Derulo’s new worldwide smash Savage Love – says it all started in his tiny bedroom and his music is made to “blast on sirens”.
Manurewa High School student Joshua Stylah’s viral hit Laxed (Siren Beat) ended up as Jason Derulo & Jawsh 685 – Savage Love and is currently at the top of the worldwide iTunes chart.
Jennifer Lopez, Lizzo and Jimmy Fallon have all danced to his beat.
The 17-year-old musician and producer said he only started making music on his computer in February 2019.
The chart-topping tune was made in his tiny bedroom, he said.
“I loved it. I loved making it.
“I made it for people to blast it on sirens and have fun. I’ve never owned a siren myself.”
He thought his music would be big in the islands, like DJ Noiz.
“The song was Polynesian vibes.”
Siren Jam was a remix of Polynesian music, he said, explaining that a saxophone sound was most commonly used.
He said initially he didn’t think his music was good enough but he just kept at it. His advice: “If you want to do it, just do it.”
Laxed (Siren Beat) has now had more than 31 million views on YouTube.
‘Like a dream’
He said his mum was proud of him and his siblings were more excited than him about the tune. But he never thought it would get this big.
“I never thought I could do radio station interviews,” he said.
The song has had millions of hits.
“When it started getting bigger I didn’t think much of it other than it’s big and cool. But then we started having teams wanting to sign me up.
“There were heaps of people messaging all at once … like labels.
“I thought they just wanted to say ‘congratulations’ and I was going to say ‘thank you’,” he said, but the conversation always went further leaving him confused.
He said he left it up to his mum because “I didn’t know what I was doing”.
Now he is with a management company.
And he doesn’t like calling his fans “fans”, but “I like to call them supporters, family”.
“It’s like a dream. I never saw this coming. I was just doing my usual thing – school, come home, make beats … and now I’m taking interviews.”
Josh began playing the guitar in 2008 and then moved to the piano and then eventually moved to the “digital side of things”.
He grew up in South Auckland and is of Samoan-Cook Island descent.
“I haven’t been to the islands, I haven’t even left New Zealand yet. I’ve only been to Wellington.”
He said it wasn’t “a tune to be travelling the world [with], but I don’t mind doing it”.
Working with Jason Derulo
Derulo got in touch through his direct messages.
“I was boxing at the time, I was training outside. I picked up my phone, ran inside, dried up and started talking to him. I was like ‘Oh my is it? Oh my’.”
He said there were a few talks of Derulo using his tune that didn’t lead anywhere, but then eventually his management team took over.
The two haven’t spoken since the song took off.
“We’re on good terms.”
His plan for this year includes finishing school and he “looking forward to ball because it is going to be my first and my last probably”.
He hopes to turn his passion for music into a career.