Local talent shows and performances allowed Jarvis to not only hone his vocal talents, but to also develop the skills needed to be a true performer and to the ability to control a crowd. Shortly after his family relocated to Atlanta, Jarvis was introduced to music mogul Jermaine Dupri, who instantly recognized the young singer’s star potential.
In 2004, Jarvis was added to the roster of Dupri’s So So Def Recordings, which led to the release of his first single “Radio”. With the song’s video; America was introduced to a young man whose golden voice and boyish good looks were well on their way to captivating a generation. Before Jarvis could see the release of his debut album, Jermaine Dupri was appointed Executive Vice President of the Virgin Music Group, and as often is the case in the game of music politics, artistry suffered. JD’s departure left a couple of artists including Jarvis stuck in a record deal without the guidance and advocacy of the executive team which had believed in them so strongly. While negotiating a collaboration between Jarvis and one of the Atlanta label newer artists, DTP CEO Chaka Zulu was so impressed with Jarvis’ talent; he made him two impressive offers. The first was to have the label’s co-founder and flagship artist, three-time Grammy Award winner Ludacris, appears on Jarvis’ second single “Pretty Girl.” The second was an offer for Jarvis to join DTP’s powerful artist roster. Though the partnership didn’t yield any other releases after “Pretty Girl,” it was yet another lesson, another step along the way to Jarvis’ future.
Leaving DTP, Jarvis was now armed with ample knowledge about the inner working of the music business and working with the right team, Jarvis was now poised to step into his destiny. With the guidance and support of his team, Jarvis is currently putting the finishing touches on his mixtape project titled Heartache, due out in August 2012. In an era when many of his peers are strictly concerned with superstar looks and “swag,” Jarvis is out to make an impression on the world through great music.
Recently Jarvis spoke to Tishelle of UrbanBridgez.com in support of our Summer of R&B Interview Series. Jarvis speaks about his upcoming mixtape “Heartache,” working with Jermaine Dupri and Ludacris, what fans can expect from his next album, the artists that inspire him and much more!
UrbanBridgez.com: How did you originally meet JD and get signed to So So Def in 2004?
Jarvis: I was independent at the time and I was doing shows in Atlanta and the surrounding markets. One day I was at the station V-103 and they were asking me some of the producers that I would like to work with and I mentioned Jermaine Dupri. He happen to have been listening in, so a couple of days later he was calling around Atlanta asking who knows this kid? A guy name Ian Burke got me in his office and was like JD called and he wants to meet you. That’s how it happened.
UrbanBridgez.com: “Radio” introduced you to the world, what do you remember best about dropping your debut single that had you the most excited?
Jarvis: It happened in stages, it went from when I first heard it on the radio before I was even signed. That was a high, because it was a new feeling. Then it went to a point where I actually had got signed and we did the video and they played it on 106 and Park and that was a whole other high. Everything was just new being really young I didn’t know how to handle it but I just tried to stay focused on staying grounded and living for the moment. It was just alot of excitement and at the time JD was doing so much. He was coming off of the Confessions album with Usher and we were on tour with him and he had Bow Wow going, he was just working with a little bit of everybody. I was in the mix of all of those projects and able to meet and develop relationships with all of these amazing people. It was an incredible ride!
UrbanBridgez.com: You also worked with Ludacris and DTP for awhile, tell us about that experience and what it taught you?
Jarvis: That was another good experience, it was one that taught me how to have patience. At that time I was really eager to get back to doing what I do best and the particular situation…sometimes politics can get in the way of putting an artist to the forefront the way it needs to be. It was a learning process so I had to learn to be patient and to only worry about what you can control. At the time alot was going on that I really couldn’t control and it got the best of me. It got in my head and it slowed me down a little bit. I had to learn to be patient with the business side of things and just move forward with the creative side of things and keep that working. That’s what I learned from that particular situation.
UrbanBridgez.com: We love the new single “Sweet Escape” at UB, how did you come up with the idea to blend the R&B and Hip-Hop in the song?
Jarvis: Really from listening to alot of things that are out now. I feel like people want to hear stuff where they can move a little bit and something that’s familiar & something they can relate to. We live in an era where Hip Hop culture has taken over, it’s like the Hip Hop world today is everything. You kind of want to be creative and do different things. I’ve done hundreds of songs and the majority of them are R&B feel, lots of instruments, lots of melodies and every now and then you get a song like this one. Where it’s something familiar and something with a little Hip Hop edge. I have that type of voice that can blend perfectly with those types of beats as well. I’m actually just really fortunate to be able to be creative and not be one dimensional. It came about with me just hearing it and it felt right, alot of times that what happens with music. It’s a feeling and vibe that you don’t deny it, you go in the direction that the feeling takes you. That’s what happened with this song.
UrbanBridgez.com: Well it worked! You’re showing off a little sex appeal in the “Make A Little Room” video, are you one of those who’s in the gym everyday; what’s your workout routine?
Jarvis: (laughs) Yeah you know just a little sex appeal, not alot. We just tried to do a little something. But I’m in the gym as possible as I can with my schedule. I just really try to focus on a good diet. Not many fried foods, lots of protein, lot of fish and chicken. Vegetables and Pastas, just things like that. I do like a high protein based diet and get in the gym as much as I can and do what I need to do. That’s pretty much it, I’m blessed I got some good genes you know (laughs).
UrbanBridgez.com: Let’s talk about the upcoming mixtape “Heartache,” how is this music different from the singles you’ve released in the past?
Jarvis: The music is so different, but it’s not entirely different. What you will hear is a much more polished me. A much more polished voice. I know my voice and I know it better than I have before. As well as just the content, in the past I was doing alot of innocent songs, not to say I’m not innocent anymore. I still got a halo over my head.
Jarvis: Yeah, but I’ve lived a little bit. So it leaves so much room for me to talk about so much more. When it comes to trials and tribulations in life as well as relationships. Just being able to say I’ve been on this earth and been able to live and see things. Even at 16 I was like 20-21 doing the things I was doing and living the life I was living at that time. Living in this industry it makes you grow up so fast, that’s what you’ll mainly hear is growth. Vocally as well as content wise. we got some really sexy songs, we got some really funny songs, some emotional songs. It’s a true testament to my life and my journey. It’s based on more of a journey more so than me being heartbroken by a female or a particular relationship. It’s more so my journey in life, I treat music like it’s my everything in life it’s my all. There’s a relationship with the music and the creative process that at times feels like a heartache. Because you feel like you give your all and put your everything into this thing, this craft, this passion and it doesn’t pan out and work out like you want all the time.
UrbanBridgez.com: When can we expect it?
Jarvis: Sometime in August.
UrbanBridgez.com: Who are you working with and have you worked with on the mixtape?
Jarvis: Currently I’m in the studio on the solo tip right now, I’ve been focused on just writing. I got a few people on the mixtape, I got Bow Wow, Ludacris and some records with Sean Paul. I also got Waka Flocka on the mixtape. So I worked with a few different people like Daron Jones, RL, Rock City, some with Jazze Pha. I have done hundreds of records, I think the process of working with different people is it’s like having a mutual appreciation for another artist, producer or writer. I think that’s where it begins, I’ve been fortunate enough to have other artists, writers and producers hear my work and see me and appreciate my craft. That’s where it becomes mutual because like the artists and producers I named I appreciate what they do and I’m also a fan of their work. We get into the studio and that’s where we make the magic!
UrbanBridgez.com: Are you preparing to release your album and if so, what type of album are you setting out to record?
Jarvis: We’re preparing for the album and I’ve actually started recording records for the album. Records that I have set aside just for the album. When the time is right we’re definitely going to kick it into high gear. But right now it’s an organic thing, like certain records that we know that have a feel for the album and the ones for the mixtape use those for that. Also with the type of album that we want to put out, we just want to be consistent. Just continue to put out solid material music that people can feel. I’m really passionate about the things that I do and I want to make sure that it resonates through my music. I want people to be able to hear whatever it is, whether it be my pain or my passion, my love, my excitement. On a party song to know I’m partying, you know what I mean. We just want to continue to be consistent again and put out things that are true to myself and the music. I feel like now in music we need more artists that are bold enough to come out and do them. I feel like alot of people lately are following the mold or chasing a sound. They’re holding on and trying to chase something that may or may not be them.
UrbanBridgez.com: I feel that, because it does seem like alot of artists are doing things that don’t work for everybody! Do you have a wish list of producers you want to work with or have you selected who’ll be apart of the project already?
Jarvis: I’m gonna be honest, I’ve been so blessed to be able to work with the likes of Jermaine Dupri, like I’ve worked with the hottest producers in the game. I guess it can only go up from here but there are alot of great up and coming producers as well as making some ground breaking music. I would like to kind of touch some of the newer people that are coming in the game, get some of that flavor. As well as I want to get in with alot of the people that I’ve worked with in the past. I’ve developed some great chemistry, like with Daron formally of 112. People like Adonis and Mad Science and The Runners. I could go on and on like Brian Cox is another one. I just want to be able to get back in with some of these incredible producers and some of the new school talent and see what we come up with.
UrbanBridgez.com: You showed off some good acting skills in your latest video, do you have any plans to do TV & Film?
Jarvis: Yeah absolutely. I’m in Hollywood right now working with different agents and getting my acting skills polished. That’s what you see in the video, I was doing my little thing with the expressions and all that (both laugh). We’ve been working on that so yeah, I’m looking forward to getting in some films and doing some different things out here with the different acting coaches. It’s a whole other lifestyle and energy, sometimes you just have to be in that element for awhile. To find your niche within that particular industry, music is something totally separate. Right now I’m out here taking my time with it, as opportunities come on the TV/Film side we’ll be taking advantage of those opportunities.
UrbanBridgez.com: Who are some of the artists that you look up to and inspire you as an artist?
Jarvis: First of all Michael Jackson was one of my greatest influences as well as Bobby Brown. Some of the current people, that till this day I still look up to and admire. Just some of the moves they’ve made and are still making. Usher is one of my favorite people that I would like to model my career after, with the way he’s handled himself. He’s really a classy guy, he’s maintained the music where his material was always consistent. I would like to have a career like he’s had. It’s hard because you start to second guess yourself after a certain period of time or after you’ve been so successful or not. You start to second guess the music and think you can’t do what you did before you know what I mean. So with Usher that’s why I want to model my career after his, even on the TV/Film side and as an entrepreneur. He does everything with class!
UrbanBridgez.com: Any last words for your fans?
Jarvis: I just want my fans to know I love and appreciate them and stay tuned. “Heartache” is going to sound probably better than the last R&B album they bought. We really put alot into it, we didn’t just throw some records on it and call it a mixtape. This is a quality project and we put quality records on it and it’s going to be something really special. Just continue to support and I appreciate it. Check out the videos I have out and I have another two videos that will be released with this project. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook and visit my Official Site.