The independent artist is future of the music business and the future of our economy. Talent aside, I am inspired by artists who are proactive. Being proactive takes courage. J-Steel contacted me on Twitter and asked me if I would interview him. Without even listening to his music, my answer was a firm “yes” simply because he was proactive and asked for what he wanted. In exchange, I made it a point to ask him some honest questions about himself and his music career.
MV: How long have you been making music?
I have always been involved in music. Always had love for it. I started playing drums and piano. I have been a writer since the age of ten. Poetry, journals just to get my feelings and thoughts out. My oldest sister was a huge Tupac fan and she turned me to Pac. As listened to him and just caught on to how his music was so poetic how he cab form this vision.
Make you see it and feel it. And thats where it all started. I had alot of things going on in my life that caused me to grow up fast. I had a daughter, was a single father at 15, and a hustler to feed her because a fast food gig wouldn’t do it and a rapper. So I took all of that and my writings and applied them to music and that’s when J-Steel was born.
MV: What inspires you?
Life, experiences, things that people know have gone through things. Just seeing something when in out can inspire me. Music is enough to inspire me just catch a vibe and go with it.
MV: What are some of your goals?
Well I’m establishing an independent label a friend and fellow artist. Which he’s be been grinding with me since we were 15-16 years old. So I’m lookin to get the RWilliams Ent/JSmusic Group completely established this year which it’s almost there . We are working on signing artists but it’s just not a record label; we are providing production,marketing, promotional packages, and publishing. But my top goal is to get our label distribution with a major label.
MV: I see that you are from Harrisburg. Last February, I had the pleasure of performing with 3 artists at the Millennium Music Conference in Harrisburg. I learned a little about the Pennsylania music scene. How would you describe that music scene?
Our music is scene great as far as the artists in every genre. But the outlets for artists to perform are few. The club owners are very hard with booking in general, especially hip hop acts. There was a place that had Hip-Hop Wednesdays where we could just holla at the Dj at the Egypt Lounge, but was shut shutdown do to multiple shootings. Pulled the blog after two people were killed right at the front door. At the same time, as a city though, there isn’t really any unity. A select few are willing to work with anyone and everyone and are about making it for this city. Cause people fail to realize that when it comes to music, we are overshadowed by New York, Philly, and Baltimore. And that alone makes it harder. It’s hard to make it out and being heard outside our local scene. To many are caught up in the streets. “I can’t work with this person or that person cause their from that hood or this hood.” Worried bout what people will think if they work with that person or this person. We got the talent to do it. Two producers who are about the music and the goal Aganee and All Star. Aganee signed with Dark Child a couple months ago, All Star has made tracks for Meek Mill for his dream chasers mixtape…which he is an artist under the Maybach Music Music Group. So if we can’t gain the attention to the city as a whole it’s gonna be rough. There strength in numbers and as soon as people realize that, the better off we will be as a whole.
MV: What has been your biggest success?
My biggest success was with this album. It’s opening of doors for me..which means alot to me because this is a personal album, not just in the sense of the music, but for the fact that their are only a few brand new tracks…the album consists of mostly old songs from like 2 even three years ago…ones who people say arent going to be a hit or are too commercial or just don’t like. So making moves with those songs feels good and a success in itself. And the fact that people are buying my music not only out side of PA but in London
MV: What has been your biggest failure?
My biggest failure was putting the start of NY career in the hands of other people. Trusting them and the word of things they promised and it went no where. So if there’s something you want, you gotta do it yourself cause that’s the only person who won’t steer you wrong and all of themselves for you. Its all in experience. You gotta fail in order to make the changes to succeed.
MV: I’m gonna ask a controversial question..but an honest one…Do you feel you face any challenges being a white rapper? If so what are they?
No I don’t even think about it. Do white rappers get prejudged and pushed aside before being heard? Absolutely. But I honestly I never really had to deal with that cause alot of people that have heard my music and never met me don’t know untill someone says “yeah and he’s white”. Even so, I don’t pay attention to the negativity. To me I respect the music and the artist. If you can writ,e put it on a beat, have a flow, and it sounds good, you are a rapper. Music doesn’t have to be a race. And there a no laws to talent . Either people are gonna like it or they are not, but you can’t fail to acknowledge or respect someone’s music just based on their race.
MV: Do you make income from your music? If not, what are your plans to make income?
Yeah! Let’s just say between this album and shows, I’m doin iight (LOL)