J. Carson is a singer/songwriter living in Los Angeles. Growing up in Philadelphia, music has been the driving force is his life from a very early age. His earliest inspirations included Mariah Carey, Justin Timberlake, Michael Jackson and NeYo. Today he describes his musical style as a mixture of Pop and Dance music infused with Hip-Hop and R&B.
During the span of his 4 year career, he has recorded 5 singles and his recent EP, “Untitled.” James G described the EP on his blog Vanity 52 as “Untitled is a solid body of work that offers some pretty awesome dance tracks and gives you a taste of what to expect from J. in the future. Standout tracks on the EP include “Louder”, “Invest in Me”, and “Atmosphere”. Long story short, if you enjoy good, upbeat tracks, look no further – J. has you covered..”
We caught up with J.C. on his recent trip to San Francisco. His energy is always infectious an he always seems to have the best attitude. One thing is for sure.. he’s not afraid of hard work.
You know, you only get to be a new face once. In the music world, it’s important to make a good first impression. I always say ‘it’s not how good you are, it’s how good you are to work with.’ Oh, that’s absolutely true! I find that there are some musicians that I won’t work with simply because they bring a negative energy to the performance. I mean, just because you have more followers and more views on YouTube doesn’t mean you can have all this attitude. <laughs>
How much do you buy into the ‘views’ and the ‘followers’ on social media? Does it really mean anything at the end of the day? I don’t put that much weight on it. I appreciate that people follow me and watch my videos, but I feel like the genuine love I get from the people who come to my shows is much more valuable. It means more than some anonymous, random follower who isn’t going to interact or buy the music or come to the show.
It’s hard to get people motivated I think. It is! I just performed at Avalon over the weekend I and I literally had my boyfriend and my closest friends there. All these people said they were coming – but they were no-shows. The worst part is that the guy who performed before me had a big group of people. And they even wanted him to do an encore. When he left, they all left too and I was left to perform for just a handful of people. It’s disheartening. I got dancers and we worked so hard, but it was in front of ten people. I was so naïve when I first moved here. I know now that I have real friends… and then I have acquaintances. They’re not the same thing.
Welcome to non-committal California <laughs> I mean, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if it’s ten people or ten thousand. You have to do what you do. True. You never know who’s there. My partner and I were actually talking about that the other day – the vibe on the East coast is so different. When your friends say they are going to come see you… they come see you! It feels like here in California, people keep their options open in case there is something better to do.
Of course when they do come, they don’t want to pay. I know! Right?! I mean they don’t want to pay $12 for a ticket? It’s insane. That’s like two cups of coffee at Starbucks.
What are your goals for the next six months to a year? I want a record deal. I have been doing this long enough on my own; I am ready to get a bigger market. A lot of Gay artists stay in this Gay bubble – and I don’t want to do that. I want to be able to reach a mass market. That’s the way I create and craft my music. I have been working on this for so long, and working so hard – I am ready for that step.
Your music seems to be really all over the place. <laughs> Well I think people are all over the place. My life is all over the place! <laughs> I have such a variety of songs on this upcoming album. You can play it when you are happy. You can play it when you’re sad. You can play it when you just wanna go out and get fucked up.
Are you musically trained? I was vocally trained for 10 years. I performed at Disneyworld. I did a lot of great things on the East coast, but I have not really had a big break here.
You played the House of Blues, that’s pretty big. Yeah! True! I did Whiskey GoGo twice, actually. It’s so sad they’re tearing it down. I am so glad I had that opportunity before it was gone.
You just packed up your shit and moved to California to be a singer and followed your dream? That’s so bohemian. <Laughs> Hardly. My partner actually had a job opportunity out here. Of course, I always wanted to move to Hollywood to be a big star, <laughs> but when the time came for us to move, I kind of got cold feet. I mean, I wasn’t sure I was ready to leave the life that I knew. Finally, I knew I had to take a chance. I had to try it. We drove across the country together with our little yappy dog <laughs> I did part of the drive alone and after like 9 hours, I was talking to myself <laughs> You kind of go crazy a little bit.
How did you meet your partner? I was working at a convenience store in Philly. One night I had all this attitude and I thought he was being feisty so I gave him my number.
How is the gay scene in Philly? Well they just painted the sidewalks with the rainbows <laughs> so I guess that’s progress, right? It’s not bad, really.
I think the East Coast is starting to relax a little bit on the gay shit. Hell yeah. There are actually a lot of straight people going to gay bars these days. It’s a shift in the way things have been done in the past. But I like it!
We can’t do this alone. We need the support of the straight community. But sometimes, I wish they would just give us our day? You know? Gay Pride really is for straight people. That’s the one thing that makes me crazy. I’m a dive bar kind of guy. I like to go to the bar and get fucked up with my friends at the bar without getting harassed by a big group of straight girls. They travel in a pack, you know?! <laughs>
Your album comes out this year? Yes. I am going to release it and see what happens. I am working with Dan DeLeon who is helping with one of the remixes. I love him to death, but oh my God! We have literally been waiting on the remix for like 7 months for ‘Atmosphere’. He’s so busy, but I am so excited to hear what he does with my track!
What advice do you give to people in the same boat as you? First of all, you don’t burn bridges. When you get knocked down, get up. Be persistent. I’ve found a lot of success in just reaching out and asking. You’re not going to get anywhere waiting for people to do something for you. I want this. So I pursue it with everything I have. All day. Every day.
Photographer: Drew Valenti Stylist: Alannah Jones
Official Website: www.jcarsonmusic.com
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