Jay was born in NY and played in local bands as a teen. He then got work as a studio musician and singer. He came to Los Angeles as head of A&R for RSO Records and worked with Eric Clapton, the Bee Gees and other artists. After leaving RSO, he focused on his work as a writer and producer, creating material for Melba Moore, Buck Owens, Sister Sledge. Stephen Stills, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Emmylou Harris, Patty Loveless, Ray Charles, Mary J. Blige, The Chipmunks and others.