In 2013, Jai Waetford—a talented young man from Campbelltown, New South Wales—wowed on The X-Factor Australia when he finished the season third at 14 years old. He has since released two EPs, most recently Heart Miles with the single “Living Not Dreaming,” starred in a TV series titled Neighbours, and this cutie from Down Under is just getting started. The “life-changing experience” of being on the reality show has opened a lot of doors for Jai, and has taught him much about life. Here, he continues to inspire others with lessons he’s so far learned from his journey!
1. Embrace opportunities that come your way. Jai confesses that, before becoming a performer, his childhood dream was to work with animals. “I wanted to be a zookeeper,” he shares. Obviously, the universe had other plans for him—and look at him now!
2. Motivation matters. On The X-Factor, Jai succeeded over the competition simply by aiming to be better each week. “I was also making lots of friends and having fun on set!” Keep your spirits up by finding the joy in what you do.
3. Your life is your own inspiration. “I usually find inspiration through life experiences,” Jai says. “Most of my songs come from a personal experience or relationships I’ve had, and "Heart Miles" was no exception.” In particular, his EP is about being on the other side of the world, away from a loved one as he’s in a long-distance relationship. “It’s hard, but it’s worth it,” he adds.
4. Love yourself. Life is tough, but you can be tougher. If things take a turn for the worse, make time for what makes you happy. “I love to be at the beach in Sydney, I go there a lot and whenever I’m down,” Jai shares. “I always go for a good surf. There’s something about being in the water that puts things into perspective.”
5. Kill ’em with kindness. That’s Jai’s mantra when haters become a bit too much to handle. “The world is more positive if you’re more positive in it,” he says. “focus on what makes you happy.”
6. Stay grateful. “I’m lucky to be doing what I’m doing every day. I’m in such a fortunate position to be able to do what I love every day for work.” This mindset will remind you just how blessed you are.
7. Aim high, always. “My dream gig is to play a sold-out Madison Square garden show!” Set your goals, achieve them, then set even bigger goals to conquer!
8. Be true, be you. “My music is true to who I am and where I am right now,” Jai says. “I’m very open with my life experiences, and I want to speak about them the best way I know how, which is through my music.” In life, this is the only way to go!
9. Never give up on a dream. Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and Prince have taught this young performer to just keep working for it. “MJ went from a child star to a superstar, which is hard to do—I really respect his dedication and hard work.”
10. Find your own voice. “Never stop singing,” he says. “One day, you’ll find a sound of your own.” This applies not just to Jai’s music career, but also to life. You’re bound to find your own place in this world, just keep moving forward!
Jai Waetford’s EP, Heart Miles, released under Ivory Music and Video, is now available on Astroplus, iTunes, and Spotify.
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Photographs Ria Regino. Styling Camille Santiago. Grooming Ken Azuela. Hair Jek Fernandez. Special thanks to Denise Sia of Ivory Music and Video.