Out Now Magazine Spotlight series featuring rising musician HJ Soul for an interview
Where are you from?
I am from the UK, and usually write my own music in studios around London
When did you start making music?
I love music and music is life, without it, I can’t think really what I would be doing and life would be boring. I knew that I had the ability to sing and thought I needed to do something with this singing ability so that I don’t think later in life that I could’ve done something with it and I didn’t. However, I started thinking about pursuing a music career seriously only within the last few years as I knew that I had the motivation, persistence, consistency and ambition that is needed to go all the way, and that started with me writing my own songs and melodies to my tracks that I’ve used for my albums to really take my career to the next level.
How do you describe your music?
I would say I am a very soulful person. My style of music is RnB/Soul with an element of 90s RnB with a contemporary sound, to sound relevant for the music of today. I also have an interest in many more styles to show a bit of my versatility and that includes Lo-Fi, pop, Neo-Soul and alternative RnB music.
Favorite moment from your career?
I think the most favourite moment of my music career to date was the release of my album ‘All In The Mind’ as it wasn’t only about me making music to release, it was also about making an album with songs specifically written to send out a message to people suffering with mental health, and the message implied was that ‘there is a way out’ and that people can make it through their difficult times if they show a tremendous amount of faith and also courage to stop reinforcing any unhealthy rituals that makes their mental health worse. I say this was a favourite moment of my career so far as mental health is a major topic to address in society today, and by me writing songs to address this, I feel I can contribute to helping individuals through their most difficult times especially as I am spiritual and like to improvise this higher level of consciousness within my music.
Who is your biggest musical inspiration?
Some of my greatest musical influences include many talented singer songwriters from the 90s RnB era including Jill Scott, Soul For Real, Silk, 702, Kut Klose, Lauryn Hill, Usher, Boyz II Men and Brandy and there’s so many more.
What is your producing software?
I actually purchase tracks that have already been made by producers, and then I write my own songs and melodies to the tracks to complete the songs in my style.
What other things do you do besides making music?
I also like to exercise and take part in a few sports that I like, and I also enjoy socialising with friends, and that’s if I do get the chance to meet with friends as life can get very busy at times particularly when I am continuously at the grind with making more music. If I am not making music, then I also enjoy listening to the music instead and that is to the classics that already exist from way back in the day, especially the 90s RnB/Soul era of artists.
What is your favorite track of all time?
Brandy – Full Moon as this song reminds of those summer evenings where we’re going out somewhere and enjoying ourselves and chilling without any sort of commitments.
Do you actually produce music as well?
I am not a producer and so I don’t produce the tracks themselves although when I have an already made track done, I then start thinking about and producing my own melodies for the different parts of the track, so that I can also write to the track and so complete the song. Hence, I would say that I am a singer/songwriter. I think it’s important to listen to the different sounds and instruments within the track, and also spending a little bit of time to understand the dynamics and tempo of it, and this will help you find the melodies for the different parts of the song with more ease. I think it is also important to have parts within the song without any vocals to help the completed product sound more natural, and this allows you to appreciate the sound of the instrumental parts of the track as well. It is also essential to understand that each song has several components to it and that each part increases or decreases in tempo or its dynamics, and so the melody produced at these different parts of the songs needs to be matched in a way that sounds like a smooth fit for that part.
Why did you start making music?
I enjoy listening to music especially as it brings about many emotions and so it is essentially a way of life, because with life we may go through several emotions. Also, if it’s something that I enjoy doing very much, and I’ve also known people to have made an established career from it, I then thought I would like to pursue this career as well, and turn my enjoyment into a career that I could actually make a living from.
I’ve been heavily influenced by the charm of the 90s RnB/Soul era of music and some styles of soul from the earlier decades as well, and my new album ‘All In The Mind’ which is out now improvises a sound of inspiration from that era, with a more contemporary RnB style to sound relevant for the style of today’s music. I also appreciate the style of clothing around that time as well as the soulful instrumentation of the music which made it feel like it was a special time to be alive. I have improvised those particular sound into my music from that era to bring those nostalgic timeless sounds to my own music.
What are your goals for the future?
I am going to continue making a lot more of my own original music, with a continuing relevant and contemporary sound. I would love to be touring nationally and across many international countries at major events as the next major RnB/Soul artist from the UK.
What advice can you give for young music producers/DJs?
Well, I am an aspiring musician myself so giving advice out at the moment would be difficult as I’m not that much of an established musician myself yet at the moment. However, what I would say is to continue with the process and don’t give up. There are going to be many hurdles in the way where you feel like giving up, and although it’s natural to feel this way, continue with the grind and you’ll see results at the end if you have faith.
Please write a message to your fans.
A massive shout out to my people out there who enjoy listening to my music. I would like to exponentially increase my fan base and that’s by releasing a lot more music this year and next year with those soulful RnB smooth sounds to my songs, so keep updated and bring your people to my channel to listen to some contemporary RnB music with a 90s style to it.
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