Figuratively set to the rhythmic pace of its infamous, steady-grinding automobile factories, while its streets are legendary and well-known the world over for the hyper-creative and musically fertile atmosphere that gave birth to Motown, Detroit continues to be a music capital of feel-good, contemporary music that ultimately proves timeless. The list of iconic names that have catapulted and captivated from the Motor City seems infinite…more than a few simply known by one name. Typifying the old saying “something in the water,” singer/songwriter J. BROWN – though generationally removed from the Gordy company’s then revolutionary melding of contemporary R&B and pop – has paid his dues and persevered in bringing those time proven musical values into the new music era with his recently released and, long-in-the-making solo debut EP. With music firmly in his blood and armed with tunnel-vision focus on following his passion of making music from the heart, J. BROWN delivers a dose of straight-up R&B – some with subtle pop and 90s throwback influences – to a music generation largely devoid of truly soulful and impassioned music.
Consequently, the recent breakthrough of J’s sunny-vibed, easy-bumpin’ “Sunrise Sunset” and “Moon” on Billboard’s Adult R&B chart is the culmination of years spent honing his craft and holding true to his dream of bringing back passionate music. The youngest of five children born to a preacher and musically ambitious mother, J’s life-long musical journey predictably began in the church when a mere eight-year old’s musical interests were unleashed by singing with the choir every Sunday morning. Though his personal music influences as a youngster included the likes of Usher, Jay-Z, Jimi Hendrix, Nas and Sting, it turns out the only direct Motown connection comes through his initial musical inspiration, his Mom. “She was initially signed to Motown back in the day,” J explains; “she and my aunt had a situation with Motown. Smokey Robinson actually signed them, and then my Mom got pregnant with my older brother. That pretty much finished that deal. So it all pretty much started for me with my Mom, with all of her experiences and what she did as far as pursuing her dream inspired me.” While exposed to the classical music his Mom regularly played at home, grade school found young J nurturing his acting and vocal skills in a local theater group, which afforded him the opportunity to sing the national anthem at Pistons and Lions games, as well as perform for then President Clinton multiple times.
Beyond the laidback, feel-good vibes of “Sunrise Sunset, Moon and Hopelessly In Love,” music listeners are set to discover J. BROWN’s silky-smooth, old school-reminiscent vocals amidst a refreshingly clean, straight-up R&B sound with touches of pop, hip-hop and rock. “The majority of the songs definitely fall into the straight-up R&B feel,” he says of his forthcoming debut EP. “Some things have a little pop influence, but the majority of it is straight R&B with that old-school feel. You might think of Babyface, Mint Condition, Bell Biv Devoe, New Edition, Jon B or maybe a little Jaheim when you hear it. I just hear a combination of so many different artists when I go back and listen to my music. I don’t have to use Auto-Tune on a record; I can sing on the spot without any technology just like the old cats did. Capturing that “old school feel” and bringing it back was actually my objective.”