J. Holiday may not yet be a house hold name here in the UK but he is certainly taking the U.S by storm with his debut single Bed and album Back Of My Lac.Bed topped the Billboard RandB/Hip Hop chart and he is the only new artist this year to debut in this chart at No1. I caught up with the man of the moment, who will be seducing the UK very soon, to discuss he new album and his quick rise to fame.
You are a new artist here in the UK so is J. Holiday?I am just a cat from the United States, Im from Washington D.C., Im 23 and my mother is a preacher so everyone calls me the preachers son. Im just a laid back kind of guy man and Im serious about my music.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in music and when did you decide that this was the career for you?I really decide when I graduated from high school, I knew I really loved singing before that, but my mom told me that she wanted me to finish school so I never really thought about it before I finished school you know. Once I graduated from high school I skipped out of college I was like college isnt for me I want to do music, music, music and then when I really decided that I wanted to do it.
How did you get your record deal how were you discovered?
Well out of high school I started a singing group, an R&B group, and eventually we all made it to Atlanta together, we had some folks who cam and checked us out and moved us to Atlanta, but it just didnt quite work in Atlanta for us.
We basically just dismembered I told them I wanted to focus on my solo thing, and they were cool with it actually, and I started working on my demo and I eventually went and sat in front of Capitol and they signed me on the spot.
Your single Bed went to the top of the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop chart, you are the only new artist this year to top that chart, how do you feel about its success?
Aw man it feels good! There has been a lot of hard work that has going into the album, and not just the song Bed, but a lot of work into the whole album and just to finally make it to the point were people are like oh thats J. Holiday that feels good because I have been waiting to show people what I can do.
The single was produced by Carlos McKinney who as worked with the likes of Usher and Faith what was it like working with him?
Oh man it was good Carlos is actually signed, as a producer, to the same label as Im signed to as an artist so we have done some work together and he is an incredible producer, he is one of the most underrated producers right now.
Your album is entitled Back OF My Lac what inspired the title?
Well Back Of My Lac is a song on the album, that I actually wrote, and Back Of My Lac was on my demo package and it has made it to the album. Basically this is the song that I wrote when I almost called it quits I was saying this music thing isnt for me no more and I dont want to do it. So to get out my frustrations about that I wrote Back Of My Lac so it was only right that we named the album that because it shows people that you can get to a point were you want to give up sometimes but you have to know when to keep pushing and when to give up, and for me it wasnt my time to give up, and if you ever have that feeling I dont want to give up then dont because it means that you have that fight in you. So it basically just lets people know that you can make it too.
And what can we expect from the album?
Aw man its just a good album and good music. Its a lot of lot of very well thought out songs talking about a little bit of everything: I talk about love and relationships, I talk about break up in relationships, Im talking about just kicking it with a special friend and shes getting hooked on you and Im talking about you getting hooked on her and Im talking to the fellas, just a little bit of everything, Im talking about life.
You worked with Rodney Jerkins how did all that come about?
Well working with Rodney Jerkins man, I have a song on the album called Without You, and I came to find out that it was a Rodney Jerkins track, and I didnt know it, so when I finished the track I sent it to Rodney and he really liked the track.
So I flew to New Jersey and we did Be With Me and it was an experience man, just to see the work ethic, like he was working in there with the flu and he was like Im not going to let that stop the session. It was a definite, definite learning experience.
How great an input have you had in the album from a writing and producing perspective?
There are fourteen tracks on the album and of those fourteen tracks I wrote three completely and I co-wrote on three so Im guessing Im doing pretty good as a new artist.
You are originally from Washington D.C how influenced are you, musically, from where you have come from?
Well of course anybody who knows anything about D.C knows that we are big on Go-go music, and for those who dont know what go-go music is its live bands, its all live instruments drums, bass, guitar, keyboards, and basically they get up and they perform throughout the week at different clubs and venues.
And that influences me a lot because I love live music I love live bands and they are great instrumentalist and great musicians and just seeing that growing made me just love live music. So when people come to my live shows they get even better, or not the same, of what they have already heard.
What makes this album different from other male artists what makes J. Holiday stand out from everybody else?Because I dont sugar-coat I dont sugar-coat me, I always said from the beginning I was going to be me and me only. I dont care about record sales, of course everybody wants to make money, but I dont care about the aspect of I cant say this or a certain person might not buy the album. I want people to really in the streets the same way they love my music, I want them to actually really love me, so thats how I stand apart I just be myself top to bottom.
You are inevitably going to be compared to other artists does that bother you at all?
Oh no that does no bother me it is what it is, I mean thats what music is about, if you look at the Motown days it was about the competition it wasnt about who was selling more records it was about who is really doing it and who is not and it was just said you need to do some more work or your done for it and you are getting there as opposed to people saying we can all make money, it shouldnt be about the money it should be about the music. So I dont mind it at all, I dont anyway.
You are currently on tour with Keyshia Cole how is that going?
Actually that tour just finished and we are about to start another tour, she is also going to be on this tour, with me R Kelly and Ne-Yo and she is going to be on that tour too. But the tour with her was great, it was my first tour with a major headlining artist, that was an experience in itself just to see how tours really run going to different cities and meeting different people and how they all still love the same type of music.
After this tour what is next for you?
After this tour Im out there Im in the UK, we ate supposed to be coming out there toward the end of January, and Im definitely looking forward to that.
And finally what is success to you?
Success is hard working paying off success, to me, isnt anything that is just given to you; a lot of people have just been given handouts.
To me success is people saying yo he put a lot of work into this album and actually giving me the recognition for that that is success to me.
J. Holidays debut album Back Of My Lac is released 7th November followed by Bed on 3rd December.
FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw