‘I wanted to do something different’: Staten Islander releasing new album that blends music with the unexpected

todayNovember 12, 2023 2

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STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Musician Jahtiek Long doesn’t just think outside the box, he thinks outside the genre.

The Staten Islander has announced his brand new album is on tap, and it’s one that won’t fit into any mold.

“I wanted to kind of make a new sound for myself,” said the 29-year-old. “I feel like my music really wasn’t connecting, so I wanted to do something different.”

“All The Lines In Between” — an 11-track collection released under Long’s pseudonym, Sir Clifton — takes five years’ worth of relationships and experiences, and casts them into what Long called a “narrative-driven” album that works heavily with an underutilized instrument: the ukulele.

Jahtiek Long, aka Sir Clifton, has a new album called “All The Lines In Between.” (Courtesy of Jahtiek Long)(Courtesy of Jahtiek Long)

“I really feel like [the album is a] storytelling device,” said the artivist. “I feel like it’s about the exploration of self and relationships. It’s about the beginning of the end of a relationship. And I like to think it could be a straight line, story-wise, or it could be a circle, because like sometimes we have ‘aha!’ moments, but we don’t learn from them.”

Long, a ukulele and piano player, produced the album alongside Brandon Bustamante, who did the mixing, mastering and lended some vocals. In additional to Bustamante, Long pulled into the project a few other Staten Islanders when recording the album at Shubox Studios: Gabriella Shlyakh and Monika Nova for vocals, Niall Sullivan for bass and keyboard, and Omnia Hegazy (of the Staten Island band Hegazy, which she headlines with her twin sister, Leila) for strings. Long composed and arranged a majority of the album, and is the sole songwriter.

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Jahtiek Long, aka Sir Clifton, has a new album called “All The Lines In Between.” (Courtesy of Jahtiek Long)(Courtesy of Jahtiek Long)

While a cohesive finished product now, “All The Lines In Between” began in piecemeal, with the first songs emerging in 2018.

“I [wrote] a few songs and I was like, oh, these are fun. And then I realized, like, this is turning into a body of work, and I should really dive into this,” said Long.

For the album, Long blended house music, hip-hop, indy, and alternative rock and pop influences, and while he somewhat emulated rapper Kid Cudi, Daft Punk, Kanye West circa his “808s & Heartbreak” era, and “some old stuff from The Killers” in sound, Long made sure to make each song uniquely his own.

“You really don’t hear somebody rapping over ukulele, or putting strings with a song about gaslighting,” said Long.

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Jahtiek Long, aka Sir Clifton, has a new album called “All The Lines In Between.” (Courtesy of Jahtiek Long)(Courtesy of Jahtiek Long)

Part of the motivation behind creating “All The Lines In Between” stemmed from creating relatable music.

“At a point in my life, I fell for the idea of people more than I fell for them,” said Long. “… [I said], I have to make an album and body of work [about this], I can’t be the only one who’s felt these feelings before.”

One track, called “Worth the Trip,” is an “anthem for Staten Islanders” who know how meaningful it is for a prospective boyfriend, girlfriend or partner to make the trek to the borough on the Staten Island Ferry. It’s almost a stand-in for “I love you,” according to Long; if you’re worth the trip, said Long, you can assume that person is serious about a relationship.

“No one has said that to me, [that I’m worth the trip]. That person is not real,” he joked.

Long plans to hold a release party for “All The Lines In Between” on Dec. 29 at 8 p.m. at The Hop Shoppe on Van Duzer Street in Stapleton. Presented by Jeff Enrage, the party will also feature performances by Our Own Yokos, Hegazy, Monika Nova, and Nu in the Shu. There will also be a popup by Old Town Press.

Long hopes Staten Islanders turn out — and are inspired to create from their own experiences.

“I hope people enjoy the story and the message of the project. It’s OK to push boundaries and be a little weird and different. [When it comes to life] learn from it. Heal. Experience it. Make art.”

Check out Sir Clifton on Spotify and Bandcamp. He can also be found on Instagram (@sirclifton718).

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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