ARTIST NAME: JBJ
SONG TITLE: Beach Love Song
ALBUM TITLE: So Close
JBJ, a singer/songwriter from Boston, completed his first solo album, Tin Man, in the spring of 2015.
He released his second solo album, So Close, in February 2018 and is currently working on his third.
Originally from Texas, JBJ’s life as a musician began at a young age as a drummer in his father’s church.
Growing up as the third son of a preacher was not easy and JBJ found his salvation through music.
Eleven years ago, JBJ carved his own path and made his way to the Northeast, working various jobs to keep afloat.
He landed a job as a worship director and over the last seven years has gained invaluable experience leading a band, working on dynamics, and honing his skills as a performer.
While working full-time, JBJ has been getting outperforming in several local venues, has completed two albums, and is currently working on his third.
JBJ is now pursuing music full-time. Although he plays all the instruments on his albums, JBJ hand-picks a group of seasoned musicians to play his music (as well as choice covers) for live gigs. This group of passionate musicians with different backgrounds and styles makes up JBJ’s band, Blended Family. JBJ’s wild, yet melodic voice (“like sipping whiskey in the vocal form” – says George Woods from Lizard Lounge) and mastery of his incredible range from a low rumble to a haunting falsetto and soul-filled performance, command the attention of any room.
As a solo artist or with his band, JBJ will bring a passion to all of his performances. He says he plans on making music until “he is all out.”
Go on at length on what it takes to write a song from the start to the end.
For me, music is where I start. Either it comes to me as I am jamming or there is some melody in my head that I am trying to translate to the studio. I try to capture that first. Then I sing nonsensical words (hum along) with the musical track I created.
Once I have the sound down, I then go on to work on the words and what the song is about. That part is a grind, but sometimes the journey of life brings about those songs. It’s like I’ve got to wait for the message or the situation before the lyrics are birthed. 50% is working to get it, 50% is waiting. For me, taking any of these parts to the extreme is not good for my composing so I try to keep them all in balance. I also just try to finish the song so I don’t prolong the deadline. Artists need deadlines or we will only be almost done. This is what works for me.
Elaborate on the gain and loss of being a musician.
The gain is you are aware and sensitive to the world around you. The loss, you lose a little bit of yourself with every song, every performance. Another loss, it’s not very lucrative.
Tell us how you connect people with your music.
I try to connect with myself first – To live in truth and to be 100% genuine as much as I can. Then I just put the song out and hope people can figure it out.
Tell us what you hate most about the music business.
That it can be a business and that you can sell your soul and lose your soul for a little bit of success. There is no guarantee of success, but it’s done anyway. I can’t fault people who pick this path because the path of truly being yourself can be lonely and the outcome might be that you die in obscurity.
Discuss how you monitor your digital distribution and streaming.
I check YouTube to see if I have any views. And then I check the other platforms to pinch myself that I am out there.
State the obstacles that a new artist can face as a starter.
There are so many artists out there. Who wants to notice you and hear you? This is the hardest part. You hope to be heard and accepted.
Tell us how you will tutor a new artist in the music business.
I will ask them if this is what they really want to do. You got to test passion. Passion is tested when you have nothing and you are still able to say, “I DON’T WANT TO DO ANYTHING ELSE BUT THIS.” You have to find that out first. Count the cost and realize that you may be poor and obscure. That may be the final analysis. You figure out a plan to survive financially and hope for the best.
Explain how you record songs.
I go to a local studio and record. Sometimes the initial music can be composed when I am in my apartment and jamming. Once I am in the studio, I just try to work through the grind of it.
Tell us your opinion on adding effects to vocals.
For me, adding reverb and such to my voice allows me to stomach my voice. It helps me, but that is just me.
Tell us how you eradicate noise in your recording.
I let my engineer, Kenny Lewis, take care of that. That’s above my pay grade.
Describe the theme of your lyrics.
Searching for answers, living in truth, and being genuine – That is my theme.
Tell us if you consider singing about politics or injustice rather than love stories.
Hell yea. You got to wake to the world and what is happening. Fight the system and fight for those who are oppressed.
Discuss how you distribute your music.
Hard copy CDs at all my gigs. Digital downloads on iTunes, Bandcamp, Website, etc.
Discuss how you cope with the crowd on the stage.
I perform for me, first. Then I perform for the joy of performing; whether I am in front of 50 people or just 1. I got to sing true. I got to be true. That sounds selfish but you can be a prisoner to people and their expectations sometimes. I hate that. For me, what you see is what you get. I feed off the crowd, whether they like me or not – whether they are engaged or not. So if they don’t like me, I just perform with a bit of a “fuck it” attitude. But if they like it, I am flying and try to put on the best show possible. Either way, I am trying to be true.
Elaborate on the song.
Beach Love Song: I was in Oceanside, California swimming in the Pacific. Being from New England, where the ocean is cold, swimming in the Pacific is exhilarating and refreshing. Kind of almost divine I guess – As are the women in Oceanside.
I love the ocean, I love women. I also want to be in love, and sometimes being in this setting, you hope for a love story. A moment that is perfect and you are swimming in the ocean and in love.
Elaborate on your artist name and the title of the album.
JBJ isn’t exactly a thrilling name but it’s my initials and I wanted to keep some autonomy. JBJ, my alter ego, and my name is my name.