J. Holiday: Puttin' Heads To Bed
In this interview with HipHopDX.com, the brother talks about making a sultry song while being a Preachers son, why Marvin Gaye is his influence and why even if theres a lot of male R&B singers they still arent saying much.
DX: How did you know that your love of music was so passionate that you could forego college?
JH: I think that at the end of the day, I was accepted to Clark [University]. I had my schedule and everything. But I thought it was pointless to go to school doing what I was already doing. I was going to go to school for Music Engineering, but as you can see, it didnt work out that way.
DX: I first heard of you from hearing the single Be With Me the song was refreshing. I know you pull from personal experience so how was that song personal for you?
JH: Basically. I dont approach too many females like that. I usually like one and go after that one. I was never the flashy type. [On the song] I was trying to tell her to leave those guys alone. I wasnt trying to hate, I was just telling her what it was. With some females, they just like knuckleheads and others it just takes them a few to recognize real.
DX: Youre a preachers son, so how did a song like Bed go over with your folks?
JH: With the song "Bed," people thought it was a song about sex. Im guessing thats what it leads to. But the song is mainly about me being on the road, but Im thinking about her; I want to make sure that shes alright. I just know that I got to get to her. My mom is cool about it. Shes my number one supporter. Shes always going to be behind everything that I do.
DX: A lot of women are feeling that song. In fact, thats the song that we play to get the ladies in the mood at a party. But few people say that it closely resembles Umbrella. What was the inspiration behind the song?
JH: I didnt write the song. My boy Dream [Terius Nash] wrote the song. He also wrote "Umbrella" for Rihanna. Before that song came out I had wanted to do something that was cool.
DX: Male R&B singers are making a dominate comeback, but in your bio it says that you think that the game is lacking storytellers. But couldnt it be that people want to hear whats being put out and not songs like Whats Going On?
JH: The thing is that people still want to hear those songs, but they have no forum or anyone to talk to to listen to them. You can only accept what the labels put out. I was fortunate to get over to Capitol to where I can put out my brand of music.
DX: Your songwriting is very blunt. You have a line where you say, Stop cuffing that young girl, let her breathe/Be a father to your kidsno doo-rags in the Lords house/Put trust in the Lord, but keep a glock in the house. Do you think that?
JH: Basically, with all my songs, I want people to be able to relate to them. I dont want to cut corners and not say what should be said. I want to say what others are thinking. With that song, its a song that needs to be listened to within the Black community.
DX: Marvin Gaye was really a big influence on your career. How did you first hear about him and how have you taken what he stood for and adapted it to your sound?
JH: I had heard a lot of songs that I liked and I had found out that it was all the same person. When Marvin first came out they werent trying to hear Whats Going On? He put that out anyway and it was a smash. It let me know to stay true to myself and Id be cool.
DX: What is one thing that fans dont understand about music nowadays?
JH: I think they dont understand the process of music has changed. People are not putting that much effort into it right now. For the people who dont want to hear those types of things, they need to do something. The people who complain about it need to start speaking out about it. A close mouth does not get fed. They [the listener] play a big part in this. The music is supposed to be about the fans and expressing things that one can relate to.
DX: What is the hardest thing about being a new recording artist?
JH: Id have to say gaining respect, but not necessarily gaining it from the fans. Its more so about gaining it from your peers. They look at you as the new dude, but its like as soon as you have a hot record, your phone doesnt stop ringing. You have to have tough skin in this business. Its all about not giving up. Be With Me didnt really catch on, but that goes back to what people are putting out right now. The execs are putting up a certain song, a certain sound. Were not sure whats the next song [for the next single], but were going to test them out on radio, but were going to stay up with the good music.
DX: With the success of Bed and the release of your album coming up soon what do you hope fans learn and appreciate about J. Holiday?
JH: I just hope that they learn and appreciate that I will always keep it real. I havent got to the point to where I can speak my real, real mind. But I want everyone to know that Im not chasing checks, Im not here to be a fly-by-night singer, I want to put out real music.