By Kierstyn Pryor
If powerhouse was a person, singer-songwriter J. Howell would definitely be the man. In just a short period, the singer has gone from being just another young talented kid from the Bluff City to having people from all over waiting in extended lines to hear his soulful, sultry voice! His songs “Something About Ya” and “Faithful” are two of his most popular songs, but are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his popularity. After the release of his latest album ‘Honest’, J.howell devoted a few moments of his time to tell us a little bit more about him and his craft as a rising star!
It’s still early in your career but you’ve already accomplished a lot. At this point in your career, what are some of your goals? Where do you see yourself in the future and what do you hope to accomplish?
“I’m hoping to just grow more as an artist and, of course, make a lot more music. I hope to go on tours and even get into acting. Acting has always been something I’ve wanted to do and although I haven’t tapped into it completely, my music has already put me in a position where I’m acting on a regular basis. I’m not always feeling sad or feeling like singing ‘Faithful,’ but I have to put on a show. Not every day are you going through something, you know, but I love tapping into that emotion. Acting is something that would challenge me and also enhance my performances and shows. Also, I just would like to make my fans happy and do what I love. “
How did you get your start? What major accomplishment do you feel led to your success?
“Honestly, it’s every day, it’s every small thing. It’s not just one big moment that happened for me, it’s every little thing. It’s from me being in Memphis and starting to sing at open mic nights and even a lot of poetry nights. We had a lot of those kinds of things, and I would go participate and start building my fan base organically. Also by doing covers, being consistent, and taking my time as an artist and with my craft got me here along with mingling with people. It was definitely a slower process with me being an independent artist, but it just took consistency. Every small thing led to these moments. Going forward, I was able to open up for different artists at their shows and get my face out there to different people. Being able to get on the radio also opened up many doors for me and got my voice out to many different people in the industry. There were a lot of different moments and all of it pays off in the end.
What is your writing process like?
“Sometimes my process can be all over the place, but I’m mostly a melody guy. I love to start with just my melodies. If you were ever to sit in a session or hear the rough drafts of my songs, a lot of them sound like I’m saying words. It sounds like I’m saying words, but I’m not. I can literally just freestyle a whole bunch of melodies just saying whatever. If you listen back to it, and I listen to it enough times, it’s telling me what to write. It’s kind of hard to explain but if you could hear it you would be able to say it sounds like you’re saying this or that, although I’m not saying anything. Sometimes, I may even go to sleep and dream of the song. This happened to me while writing my first album, ‘Red Room.’ I was having a hard time coming up with one specific part of the song. When I went to sleep I was dreaming of myself singing it, and when I woke up I was like damn that’s the words! With this new album, I was able to collaborate with a few different writers, and I did that just to grow as a writer, venture off, and just kind of expose myself to other people’s styles and techniques to develop my process.
You have a lot of old-school samples on this new album! What was your inspo behind sampling all of those tracks?
“It wasn’t like I just sat and thought ‘oh this is a song I’m gonna sample’; it was more so of me just playing around with the instrumentals of those songs and singing to them. Because these were all songs I grew up on, I thought it would be dope to pay homage to them.”
What was the motivation behind your most recent album “Honest”? What do you want fans to know about it?
“The motivation behind it was just to grow, just to experiment. I feel like there was a lot of pressure from ‘Red Room.’ People were wanting another ‘Red Room’ and like I’m not trying to top it- I feel like it was in its own lane. I just wanted to have fun and just explore my gifts as an artist. Also, I didn’t want to box my fans in by putting out another version of that then that’s all that’s expected of me. You know I want people to see that I have different sides. I know how to hop on more mid and uptempo beats and you know just show more diversity.”
Check out J. Howell’s latest album ‘Honest’ now on all musical platforms!