J: The Future Of R&B/Soul
By: Todd Davis
First heard alongside rapper Plies on the chart-topper "Put It On Ya,"
Chris J is now embarking on his very own solo career. With that being said,
if "The Balcony," the premier offering from his soon-to-be released
Big Gates Records' debut, Secrets, is any indication as to what can be expected
from this R&B wunderkind, then sky's definitely the limit!
began at the age of 5 years old. I remember my mom putting a microphone
in my hand wanting me to sing a song at church. When I was 11, my
mom got killed and since then I wanted to make music my passion......
things first, tell me how you ended up being signed to Big Gates Records?
I was on 106 & Park and won the Wild Out Wednesday(s) competition in 2007.
After the show, Ronell 'Big Gates' Levatte had a rep contact me and asked
for more music. After sending in more music, they liked it. Soon after, there
was an offer to sign me. I was home sleeping one Saturday morning, and I got
a call from (an) A&R of Big Gates Records. He asked if I could catch a
plane in the next four hours because it was a track he wanted me to hear.
I arrived at the studio in Tampa four hours later. Plies liked my sound on
the track, and went with it.
What do you think it was about your sound that drew them in? How would you
actually define it?
Breathtaking! The future of the new R&B/Soul!
Why'd you title the record Secrets?
I'm going to talk about the things that the industry is afraid
to say and things the people are shy about, and what the conservatives don't
want you to know about.
Your first single is called "The Balcony" -- What's that in reference
to? And, tell me about the origins of the song?
"The Balcony" is in reference to making love on the
balcony. It is doing something different behind closed doors, trying something
What are some of your favorite things on or about Secrets?
It's a "Secret!" Just be on the lookout for big things from Chris
How much of the record did you actually pen?
I am working with Adonis from ATL and J-Dav from Memphis. I am not producing
any of it, but writing. I would say 30-45% of it I did myself.
When did you first become interested in music?
It began at the age of 5 years old. I remember my mom putting
a microphone in my hand wanting me to sing a song at church. When I was 11,
my mom got killed and since then I wanted to make music my passion.
You're from Memphis, Tennessee?
Yes, I am a native of Memphis, Tennessee.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
My influences growing up were Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway,
The Clark Sisters, New Edition of course, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson,
and Al Green, just to name a few.
At what age did music become your calling?
At 14, performing with my brother's band, we cut a single "Tonight
I Want Your Love." (It) was the first song that I ever recorded. I used
to listen to it over and over again. Just hearing myself, I wanted to create
more original music.
Do you have other future aspirations, maybe even outside of music altogether?
I would like to do some acting, and maybe some Broadway stage
How do you view the current R&B climate?
It is fair to say that I am happy with the current state of R&B, but it's
missing something; the essence of R&B/Soul. It's in need of something
new, and that's what I will bring to the game.
Tell me something about Chris J that most people would be surprised to
I have worked hard and paid my dues. My success has not come easy, and I am
very blessed and fortunate for where I am now.
What exactly do you attribute that success to?
Being true to who I am, and not letting anyone change my style.
I believe writing and singing about true situations, and being consistent
will help me sustain.
What are some of the things that you enjoy doing in your free time?
Spending time with my family, enjoying a good movie, bowling, dancing, skating
or playing basketball.
As for the immediate future what's next for you -- First single and video
"The Balcony" out now! Solo debut, Secrets, scheduled for release
I am focused on my upcoming album Secrets and promoting my
first single from the album titled "The Balcony." There (is) a video,
and the album is due for release in late spring/early summer.
Do you have any parting words?
A special thanks to you,
Rap Industry Dot Com, for (the) opportunity to be seen and heard, (and) to
my present and future fans -- I am grateful. I am excited for the things to
come for me. Visit me on www.myspace.com/chrisjrnb
MELODY THORNTON - THE PUSSY CAT DOLL
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