Since his break out Platinum debut Back of My Lac which featured the smash single “Bed,” #1 for 7 consecutive weeks and “Suffocate,” #1 for 3 weeks on Billboard’s Hot R&B and Hip Hop Chart, J.Holiday has developed a distinct and dedicated fan base who has followed him throughout his career. His Gold sophomore disc, Round 2 featured the hit single “It’s Yours” was proof that J. Holiday is a contender.
His new album Guilty Conscience in stores and iTunes January 28th features the current smash “After We” and is produced in part by Lil Ronnie, Jerry Wonda, Blaq Smurph and Mike Snoddy. It’s a musical journey, taking listeners through the ebb and flow of love and heartbreak.
J. Holiday recently spoke with Aries from UrbanBridgez.com about his new release “Guilty Conscience,” why he made the decision to go independent, industry politics, his involvement in London‘s big R&B show recently & what almost messed the entire show up, his moms new book “Raising J. Holiday” and much more!
UrbanBridgez.com: Let’s talk “Guilty Conscience” first off, why the album title?
J. Holiday: I named it Guilty Conscience because it’s basically like a movie. Let’s say, because I do what I do; I’m an R&B artist. So let’s say that if you could put a soundtrack to my life, in the last 5 years, this would be the soundtrack. So it’s kind of like, I’m telling my business. You know what I mean and I didn’t really want to. But it’s going to help when it comes to relationships like love and all of that because it’s like the sh*t really happens. The same way Steve Harvey did the book Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man. So it’s like the album, like I messed up with my main chick, trying to get with the side-chick. Like she was out there, but I didn’t know. So now I’m learning and I have to go back and fix my relationship because the side-chick got me all tore up. So for instance, like on the title track Guilty Conscience, that’s me talking to my main girl. And now I’m like, where you going, what are you doing, why are you doing this, why are you putting on make-up? You know what I mean and that’s the guilty conscience and what it’s about.
UrbanBridgez.com: Who did you work with on this project?
J. Holiday: This is actually the first album where I just got in with one producer (Lil Ronnie). He picked and selected what producers and writers he wanted to be apart of it. I had a chance to work with Jerry Wonda a fabulous producer and artist. That’s probably the biggest name that I got on this album. We wanted to do it like when you had Usher with Diddy.
UrbanBridgez.com: Janet with Jimmy Jam & Terry.
J. Holiday: Yeah, Janet with Jimmy and Terry, that’s the perfect example!
UrbanBridgez.com: One track called “Where Are You Now” has me intrigued, tell us what that song is about and where the concept came from?
J. Holiday: It’s so funny you ask about that one, that’s my favorite song on the album. Like I was saying earlier, if this album could be the soundtrack of my life; Where Are You Now is the point in the story where I messed up. My girl knows I messed up, I’m not messing with the side-chick anymore. Because now I realize that she’s out there. So now my girl isn’t rockin with my anymore. She’s trying to kick me out, cut my clothes up like in Love and Hip-Hop. It’s all bad, so I’m having a conversation with love, love itself. And I’m saying, (sings) “oh love, where are you now?” It’s like love is suppose to be able to fix anything. So I’m asking where are you and what am I suppose to do now that I’ve messed up. That’s the end of the movie (laughs).
UrbanBridgez.com: “Incredible” is the next single and without a doubt one of the best R&B joints I’ve heard this year.
J. Holiday: Thank you! Incredible is about my main chick. I’m talking about when I met my main chick. I’m like everybody wants you, but you’re with me. Guys are going to hate, females are going to hate. So basically I’m trying to show, because a lot of my music has been sexually driven that I can do a song about a woman where I’m not talking about sex. So that’s where I come from with Incredible. Everybody comes to that point where they’re like you know what, I love this girl. Oh my god, this is the one! So that’s what I’m talking about.
UrbanBridgez.com: What made you decide to go the indie route this time around and start your own imprint Holiday Music Group?
J. Holiday: You know there is actually a few reasons, it’s not money. I’ve lived, traveled the world and toured. So I’ve been making money, my money never stopped. So I did it because as a man, a black man we have a lot of responsibilities. In terms of how we put out our projects, what our music is and the message we’re putting across. So basically I went independent because everybody kept trying to change me. Everybody kept saying be this person or be that person, do this or do that. I’ve never signed a 360 (deal), this is who I am I didn’t get into this for the fame. So as long as I can put out my music, I’m good. So I went independent because on my first album I was making 12% artist royalty. On the second album I was making 15% artist royalty. So that doesn’t really add up to anything because artist royalties are label royalties. So now it’s like I’m getting a percentage as a label and on top of that I’m getting artist percentage.
UrbanBridgez.com: And on top of that publishing.
J. Holiday: Exactly (both laugh), you know what I mean. So that’s why I did it. It’s what’s best for me and my fans who’s been riding with me.
UrbanBridgez.com: You’ve been grinding in preparation for this release, how different is the grind working an independent release than with a major?
J. Holiday: It’s different because when you’re working on an album as an artist and you’re just signed to the label, all you do is record some songs, turn the album in & the label sets it up. But a lot of people don’t know is major labels have on going contracts with distributors. So if you’re signed to a major, your album is going to come out. But when you’re independent you have to go and have retail meetings, you have to meet with buyers for the stores like Best Buy, Target and Wal-Mart. You have to get them to understand that yes I know I’m independent and I know I’ve been gone for five years, but I still love what I do and I’m out there busting my ass to make sure the music is straight. So independently you have more control obviously, you make more money and you just don’t have to worry about people trying to change you. The only person that can change you at that point is you.
UrbanBridgez.com: You performed at the big R&B show in the Wembley Arena London recently how was that experience?
J. Holiday: Let me tell you something and I’m not going to put the artist name out there, but one artist messed up the entire show! When I say they messed it up, when you do shows and things like that in London. Everybody has 25 to 30 minutes or maybe 45 minutes to an hour for the headliner. So it got to the point where nobody wanted to go on first. So to remind you, this is a Faith Evans show. Faith Evans went on last and before her was Kelly Price. Before her Donell Jones, before him Dave Hollister. And those are the people who should have been last because they’ve put so much work in. So again, there was one artist who will remain nameless. He was like oh man I don’t want to go on first. Tell them to have someone else to go on first, I ain’t going on first. And it almost messed up the whole show, because you can’t start the show until the first person goes on. I mean this dude was so adamant about not going on first. So the promoter came to me and was like here is the situation, homie don’t want to go on first and I’m not even messing with him anymore he can’t come back to London on my dollar. So he said how would you feel about going on first? I said please put me on first! I mean I’ve did that already, I opened up for R. Kelly and Keyshia Cole. Going first to me is nothing, you know what I mean. So I went on and we had a great show and let me tell you one of the kickers of this whole thing. So the song on my new album called “Incredible,” was for David Hollister. But he didn’t use it, because it wasn’t in the direction he went in for his new album. I did a little preview of it in the show and when I got off stage he said to me, when I was standing on the side of the stage and I heard that song I was like who the fu*k is singing my song (both laugh). And he said oh that’s J, it’s cool. Dave Hollister actually told me, I was so much more relaxed when I realized it was you. He said you’re the only other person who could of did that song justice. So for me, that was instant glorification to have someone like Dave Hollister say that to me. Then big brother Ginuwine brought me back on stage during his set because I went first, he said there is no reason you should have had to go on first. I do So Anxious in my show whenever I’m not on a show with Ginuwine. So he brought me out and was like this is my little brother and I know some of y’all didn’t get a chance to see him earlier. So in all it was a great look, I was cool. Besides the politics of artist thinking they’re bigger now than they really are (both laugh). So I was good and I got to go on stage twice (laughs).
UrbanBridgez.com: Your mom wrote a book about you, tell us about it?
J. Holiday: Yeah the book is out, it’s called Raising J. Holiday. Basically she’s telling her side of what it took to get me to be J. Holiday. She’s telling everybody her stories and how it was raising me. Different things, like my dad passing away and stuff like that. But yeah it’s out, so go get it! It’s on Amazon.com and you can pick it up in stores like Barnes and Nobles. If anybody wants to get a chance to know a little bit about me, go get it.
UrbanBridgez.com: What’s next for J. Holiday?
J. Holiday: We got the album coming out, my mom has the book out. We just started Holiday Music Group, basically because I’m independent my albums coming out on my own terms. I’m looking for artists, producers, writers, we just want to be a big deal. A lot of smaller labels like Bad Boy, SoSo Def, Grand Hustle they came out with the same goal like guess what we want to be Motown, we want to be Capitol, we want to be Arista. I’m going to make it my business to be the new young Berry Gordy I promise you. Outside of that, I’ll be reading some movie scripts. I’m getting into film and TV. I’m working on this movie script, I can’t tell you the name of it yet but it’s going to be great.
UrbanBridgez.com: Anything you want to leave with your fans before we wrap up?
J. Holiday: I just want to say I appreciate you for holding me down, I appreciate you for looking out for me. Thank you for arguing for me on my behalf. Like when people were saying J. Holiday isn’t coming back, he’s wack, just thank you for holding me down. I’m a real guy, I have a real heart, I’m serious about this. If you’re not a fan, maybe you should just go to my website kingjholiday.com and check out my posted media. Check out my Facebook, my Twitter and Instagram which are the same thing kingjholiday. Keep rocking with me and just know I love what I do! I don’t take none of those $12 to $13 dollars for granted when you come and buy the CD, help me feed my family. Rock with me!
Photographer: Will Kennedy (IG @ibk82)
Creative Director: Chanan Newman (IG @chanannicole)
Makeup Artist: Brandy Wells (IG @Salonharajuku1)
Wardrobe Stylist: Julian Lark (IG @julianlark)
Management: Tikiya Crawford & Darius Jones – Push the Button Management & Marketing, LLC – IG @Tikiya