Jonathan Hay, a Leesburg, Florida native, is an American multi-platinum publicist and record producer. His music career began in the 1990s when he stumbled upon a recording studio while attending college in Louisville, Kentucky. Having his start in the industry as a publicist, Jonathan Hay has worked with both established recording artists and record labels. One of Hay's first acts was Days of the New (Geffen / Interscope), the multi-platinum rock band who had four hit singles. The group, led by Travis Meeks, is most known for “Touch, Peel and Stand”, the single that spent 17 weeks at #1, breaking modern rock records at that time. Days of the New also helped launch the career of Nicole Scherzinger, who has sold over 70 million records worldwide, most notably with The Pussycat Dolls.
Kevin Skinner later hired Hay to work with Whitney Houston's father's company- John Houston Entertainment. His first job was publicizing the 100-million dollar deal of Whitney’s signing with Arista Records and L.A. Reid. Hay also helped promote I Look to You- the final studio album of Whitney Houston. Then later in 2004, Skinner introduced Hay to producer Vada Nobles who was embattled with a lawsuit against Lauryn Hill. In 2005, Hay worked Rihanna's debut single "Pon De Replay" with a controversial publicity stunt that helped break her career, according to many insiders and the media. Ten years after the stunt, Hay appeared on the national television show Inside Edition to publicly apologize to Beyoncé for his story, which was revealed in the book Becoming Beyoncé by best-selling author J. Randy Taraborrelli. Hay is in the book for his publicity stunt in 2005 for spreading rumors that Jay Z was dating Rihanna to help boost the then 17-year-old's "Pon De Replay". Hay confessed that he started those rumors during a difficult time. "The PR stunt that I did was out of desperation to help break 'Pon de Replay,'" Hay said. "It was reckless and I didn't think it was going to work. I was just throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what would stick." Neither star, Rihanna or Jay Z was aware of his machinations he told Newsday.
From his relationships with Teddy Riley, Sony Music, MJJ Music and Bruce Swedien, Hay worked the posthumous Michael Jackson album This Is It, that debuted #1 on the Billboard 200. Ironically, Jonathan Hay once tried to sign MJ during the superstar’s public dispute with Tommy Mottola and Sony Music Entertainment. With the help of MJJ Productions, Uri Geller, Hay sent a letter of intent to Jackson’s manager, Trudy Green. It was around that time where Hay ended up working with Suge Knight's Death Row Records and RZA's Ringz and Partners Entertainment.
In 2012, Jonathan Hay was part of a high-profile guardianship case involving teen actress Ariel Winter, a star on the TV series Modern Family, and her mother, Chrisoula "Crystal" Workman. Hay testified and signed a declaration for Ariel Winter in favor of her staying with her sister Shanelle. Months later, Hay was back in the news after he got into a public dispute with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian over the song "These Walls Revisted" and a charity auction of an original painting of West, where it was alleged that 100% of the proceeds would go to Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, the couples charity of choice.
Years later, Hay spoke out in Rolling Stone Magazine [March 24, 2016 (Issue 1257)] to publicly support Kesha during her sexual assault lawsuit against Dr. Luke. The iconic magazine labeled Hay a "crisis management expert". Hay was a music producer on the TV show One Shot with T.I., DJ Khaled, Remi Ma, Sway Calloway, and others. The show debuted on BET on August 23, 2016.
Hay also had involvement with the Drake and Sophie Brussaux pregnancy scandal. He told People Magazine, "I've seen the text messages and they do exist" in reference to conversations purportedly from Drake, urging Brussaux to undergo an abortion. Hay has spoken out about this situation with Perez Hilton, Glamour Magazine (in the Netherlands), Hollywood Life, and Public Magazine (in France). Since the birth of Drake's son, Adonis Graham, all parties involved have been at peace.
Shortly after, Hay spoke about the Kathy Griffin and Donald Trump photo scandal to The Huffington Post, calling her press conference "flat-out gross". He explained, "From a PR perspective, she did do the right thing, by apologizing … but still that isn't enough. Not even close." Hay was also quoted in The New York Times story about XXXTentacion's posthumous album release Skin.
In 2018, Hay produced two albums with Ranna Royce and DJ Whoo Kid, and a single with Mike Smith, which all topped the Billboard Charts in multiple genres including hip-hop, jazz and Christian music.