Artist and songwriter Bryan James or better-known as BJ The Chicago Kid, is ready to give the world an insight on his musical and lyrical talents. BJ was featured in SchoolBoy Q’s 2014 track “Studio” and has now been working on his own debut album “In My Mind” which should be dropping “extremely soon”.
BJ was born in Chicago, Illinois where his back-in-the-day braids and South Side Chicago swagger got him his artistic name. He comes from a background of Motown and street and as many Motown legends, he feels his music came from church while the inspiration came from the streets.
What do you consider yourself to be?
I’m a producer. I’m an artist, I’m a songwriter. I’m a vocalist. I’m a rapper, but most of all I’m a creator. Period. I do a lot but no matter what it is, that helps describe what I overall do. I create.
Describe your music?
I’d describe it as street-soul R&B. It’s world-soul music but in today’s day in age. I feel I am the Marvin Gaye from Soul Train. (laughs) I feel like that’s a part of who I am. We still speak the same language it’s just some of the words are newer. The slang may be different but it’s been evolved in time from the drums, to the chords to how things progress but the core hasn’t changed.
What’s the news with “In My Mind”?
I’m making sure everything set before we release the date, you know? We have a surprise for all the pre-sales.
What was your goal when creating this project?
My goal was to just reach as high as I can reach, as low as I can reach, to stretch as far as I can stretch. Being a songwriter and just a lover and advocate of music, my ears have been through so many sounds and I think that helped me understand myself even more. I just want to show the most that I can do.
How involved were you in this project?
I finished this album in 30 days. I slept in the studio 27, maybe 28 days out of those 30. I slept there, that means on the couch with a pillow and a blanket. I’m talking about literally waking up to brush my teeth and getting back to the music.
Your debut single “Church” actually does talk about your spiritual background. How has that had an impact in your music?
In the craziest of ways, what people experience in church…a taste of that could be given through my music. What they call in church “the anointing” you know, what makes people feel the Holy Spirit? I feel that transfers through my music in some way. I feel I can feel and hear it in my voice. Everything that I’ve lived and been through comes through the emotions, the pain, the joy, the celebration, the statement, the aggression. All the problems from home, not being able to see my family everyday, all of that comes through my voice. I feel I’ve gotten good at knowing how to transfer my energy.
What was your biggest takeaway from 2016?
Hard work. To understand that I worked my ass off and not knowing who’s watching…not really caring who’s watching, you know? No disrespect to who is, but my determination and my passion is just so great I feel I have to display it because you the only one who knows it until they hear your music.
So are you also on the whole “New me, new year” hype?
Let me tell you like this, if you’re trying to a better you everyday what is a new years resolution? I’m trying to be a better me. I’m trying to be brother, a son, a uncle. You know what I mean? I can’t forget about the balance in life. That’s what makes me a dope person, not making dope music.
Stay up-to-date with BJ’s music and upcoming debut album “In My Mind” at www.bjtck.com.
Check out the visual for his latest single “Church” featuring Chance the Rapper & Buddy right here.