Tell us your real names, country of birth, date of birth and childhood experience.  

My real name is Alexander (A.J.) Jordan Thomas! I’m from Winnebago, Illinois U.S.A. about an hour and a half outside of Chicago, Illinois. My birthday is September 3rd, 1991 so I just turned 26. I was born in Rockford, Illinois and grew up in Winnebago, the neighboring city, playing every sport we had out here and then went to college and played football at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois to get my Bachelors in Psychology. I then moved to Chicago, Illinois to get my Masters Degree in Business Management at Robert Morris University.

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Tell us about your music career, your band name, musical background, experience and skills.  

I started playing the trumpet in the school band when i was in 4th grade and fell in love with that. I played the trumpet, baritone, and field drums all throughout grade school and high school. When I went to college i had to drop all of that and just focus on Football and Track along with the other school organizations I was in. I always made beats on my phone through an app called iMaschine and i would write raps to the beats i made on my phone. I started making beats when i was 10 on a little drum pad my mom had gotten me and it gave you the option to record your beats and play them back. I first started writing around that time as well.

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Tell us about your genre, concept and idea behind your music video and the song.  

Hip hop/Rap is a crazy genre right now because it has such a wide range of talent. Anywhere from the “mumble rap” group to the “conscious rap” guys, you can listen to rap all different types of ways. I lean towards the conscious rap, J. Cole, type of rap with full on story telling about life experiences. This song ‘Bell Talk’ is the most hype song that I have right now and I don’t know if I will be shooting one for it, but I am in Chicago right now to shoot a video for a song off of my last album ‘I Can’t Wait’! ‘Bell Talk’ is a song that I made for my Alma Matre about the “Battle of the Little Brass Bell” which dates back to the 1800’s and the chase to a hopeful championship. It was one of the most fun songs that I have written because I got to be a part of the game in another way outside of being a player or a coach.

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Tell us everything that we need to know about you as a musician and the ups and downs you have faced in the music business. 

I moved down to Nashville, Tennessee a year and a half ago to pursue music and ever since then it has been a complete roller coaster. I am doing this all by myself and in a country music town trying to do hip hop which presents a challenge all by itself, BUT it made me into the producer I am today since I had to create all of my own beats and learn how to create everything from scratch alone in my room. On top of doing music full time, I had to have a full time job to pay the bills, so I worked at 312 Pizza company as a chef to make my money. I then had an opportunity to make more money and work an 8-5 job so I went and worked for Alfa Insurance as a Claims Adjuster. All of this was going on while trying to create music, which turned into a full album called ‘Lost In Thought’ available on all streaming platforms. It’s been a crazy year and a half, but it has taught me so much about myself as a human being and as a musician.

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Tell us about other members of your band, music producer, crew or music video director, how the song was recorded and how the music video was shot. 

I produced my entire first album, besides one song called ‘I Cant Wait’. The producer of that song is Nilo G. who i have now done ‘Bell Talk’ with. He is an amazing producer out of Chicago, Illinois as well and we didn’t meet until we got down here. He is incredibly talented and can do just about anything on the production side of music. He is producing a country singer right now along with working with me every single day which shows his versatility. He’s incredible to work with and just an all around amazing human being and that’s what makes me want to keep working with him in the future and build this thing from the ground up. Another producer named tmwtr made a beat for me that I used for ‘Blessed’ on the album and the kid is only 15 years old out of Washington state. He will be one of the biggest names in the game in the future and I can’t wait to keep doing work with him. The guy that does all of my graphics is named Jace Werkheiser who I went to college with and played football with. He has a love for graphic design and has for as long as I’ve known him and it makes it easy to work with him since he is one of my best friends, so it is naturally a great vibe all around. He has an incredible creative mind and is doing the music video with me in Chicago this weekend which is both of our firsts, so we will see how that goes but we’re both very excited! ‘Bell Talk’ was recorded at Nilo G’s house where we have a great set up in his studio and there is a shed outback that we do a lot of creating in as well with all of my music equipment set up in there. It was a quick write and recording session that took about a full day to complete. Nilo and I worked on the beat a little bit, but he took over the final production and edit’s while I was traveling to Chicago. The song turned out incredible and that’s all thanks to him. We wanted to create a hype song with melodic movement throughout like Tory Lanez does brilliantly. It ended up being the most fun, and best sounding songs that I have!

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Tell us how long you have been in the music industry, your experience and your future goal. 

I have been in the music industry for about a year and a half now and my experiences have been insane. I have met some of the most influential people in the game and childhood hero’s along the way. It has been an absolutely insane ride so far. My future goals are to get signed by a major record label and be able to take care of my family while making music full time and not have to work another full time job on top of doing music full time. The end goal is to create a record label/management group that I run/manage and get heavily involved with the business side along with being the creative basing it off of how J. Cole does with Dreamville Records. That has been my dream for a long time, but the music has to come first and will always come first.

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Tell us what inspires you to write, compose and sing.

People inspire me to write. I love that I now have a voice that is completely my own and can’t be changed after I put together a song. I love having the responsibility to tell a story and allow people into my mind and soul. It inspires me that I get an opportunity to change the perception of people for the better and open their minds to other thoughts and ideas. Being biracial helps me link two groups of people and everything in between. It’s interesting to see the fusion of people through music and that’s what I love being a part of.

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Tell us the secret behind making a hit song.  

I don’t know if I’ve made a hit song yet haha! BUT, I’d say it’s all about feeling. If the feeling you get is undeniable that it’s a good or great song with feel, then you’ve made a “hit” song. That also depends on the genre. There are great melodies that will blow up a song in a second, but there’s also the ability to tell an incredible story and bring it all around in the end that makes a “hit” song like J. Cole has done over and over again along with Drake and Kendrick Lamar. Chance The Rapper does it too and will get the credit for that after he puts out another project I’m convinced.

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Tell us the message you will like to pass to your fans out there.  

My message is to invest in people. We are all human beings on earth and we should love one another as that. There is so much hate in the world today and I can’t just sit back and let it happen without voicing my side and try to change the perception of people or groups. Love one another as your brother. Everyone has a family and is more alike than we think. Invest in people and allow people into your thoughts and feelings and always keep an open mind. We are all we got. That’s my message. At the end of the day, if we invest in people and human beings, then we will see amazing change in the world for the better.

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Tell the kind of advice you will give to an upcoming artist.  

Keep grinding. No matter what, keep grinding. It’s gonna be tough and it will NEVER go as planned. Work your ass off and be great/take care of people and you will find your way. The MUSIC COMES FIRST! Make good music that will influence people or strike emotion with people and use your platform for something positive.

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Elaborate on your music careers, albums, songs, tours, recognition or awards you might have obtained.  

Like I said in an earlier question, I have just put out my first album that I produced, wrote, mixed, mastered, etc. myself called ‘Lost In Thought’ available on all streaming platforms! It was an insane ride to get to that point to put it out, but taught me so much. It is a tap into my cognition and my fight to music from sports along with my ride from being a kid in Rockford/Winnebago with a single mother and how we have gotten to the point were at now. I have yet to perform, but I am ready! I can’t wait until I get to spread the message on stage. Make sure you go and listen to the album and you will understand where I am coming from and where I want to go as an artist!

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List Radio or TV Stations that are airing your songs and blogs that have featured you as well and send message to them via this platform.  

You guys are the first to play my songs and play list it which is so cool for me and I can’t thank you guys enough! Thank you all so so much! Seriously! Means so much to me.

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Tell us how you write your lyrics, compose, sing and record in the studio.

I first create some sort of beat with percussion and pad’s and then usually a melodic hook comes after that. Some times it’s the exact opposite! Lyrically, I take a lot of time tapping into the space in my mind that i need to get to to write the song were about to write and then i pick a part my thoughts to create some sort of direction. Once there’s subject and direction, then I make sure every line is cadenced correctly and move in and out of melodic flows to harder percussive flows to create a good feel while telling the story. I write everything in the notes on my phone and then I hop up to the mic and I’ll do a few takes all the way through to get a rough demo of the song. Then I’ll go back and really dissect the words and meanings and flow to create a good, interesting, thought provoking song or feeling infused song. Then I try and perfect the verses and hooks and keep doing it until it’s perfect and then do it again haha. It won’t ever be perfect and that’s the struggle as an artist, but sometimes you have to let some of it go and look at the big picture and admire something that you’ve all created.

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Name five biggest artists that you look up to like idols.  

J. Cole is day one number one then Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Chance The Rapper, and I’d have to say Jon Bellion/Sam Hunt. All of these guys are incredible and it’s so hard to pick just 5, but they all have their unique influence on my life and music!

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Name the artists you have collaborated with before in your songs or artists you are willing to collaborate with in the future if you have the chance to do so. 

I have collaborated with Conor Matthews and Jordie! We’re all new to the game and in Nashville, TN pursuing a music career. Theyre both amazing pop artists and I can’t wait to keep working with them in the future. I’d love to do collab’s with J. Cole or any Dreamville artist, Syd/the internet, Beyonce and Jay-Z, Drake, Kendrick, Future, Madison Ryan Ward, Bailey Bryan in a crossover country, pop, rap song, Tory Lanez, and Sam Hunt! That’s a ton of them and there are a ton more!

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Give us the links to your website and your entire social network.  

https://twitter.com/ajrapsofficial?lang=en

https://www.instagram.com/ajrapsofficial/

www.ajraps.com

https://www.facebook.com/ajrapsofficial/

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Give us the links to your various stores for fans to buy your music.  

http://Hyperurl.co/kxa4jq http://hyperurl.co/y6enjw – Lost In Thought Album on all platforms link

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Tell us about your happiest day and saddest day. 

This is a tough one haha! Happiest day was anytime our teams won a championship or getting accepted into college/graduate school. It could also be putting out my first project and just knowing all of the work that went into it. The saddest day is even tougher to come up with… there’s been a lot of difficult days, but there’s always purpose. I’d say losing my last basketball game in high school after being undefeated on our way to state and we lost in overtime. Could be the time I lost my last football game in college after we were undefeated and going to the national championship and we lost by one point…. terrible. haha


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