Music Interview: J-Killa on his creative tastes, musical influences & new album “DeVoted 3”
Great to have you on Xttrawave. Please, introduce yourself.
Thanks for having me! My name is John, better known by my artist name J-Killa. J-Killa is an acronym for “Just Killing It Lyrically Like Always. I’m from a small town in the state of Georgia.
What got you into music and made you realize that it was your chosen path?
I’ve always had a fascination with poetry and a way with words. I would read poems in Literature class and think to myself, wow the way that these Poets jot down their feelings and thoughts on a page is mind blowing! Literature was probably my favorite subject next to math. My 6th Grade Literature teacher; Mrs. Lewis loved reading my writings and it was her who actually paved the way for the artist that I am today. Much love to her because I feel like If I would have never taken her class, I wouldn’t have never come out of my shell to write poetry or music.
Tell us about your new music? And what’s the story behind it?
My new album “DeVoted 3” is part of a trilogy. I feel that each album brought something different to the table This album in particular is more heartfelt and raw. Each song speaks on something real whether that be something that is going on in the world; which you can hear in “Do Not Disturb” or “Victim” to words to encourage someone to keep pushing and moving forward, like those found in “Stay Strong” and “Holding On’ to songs explaining how I feel about the love of my life like “Night Sky” and “Never Have I Ever’. Much love to the featured artists and producers that were part of the project: @PPilimtec.Official, @10aKeyy, @ItsTaylorMadeBeatz, @BeaMoony, @Valious and @AndyR_ and the voice behind ‘7:32’ @KrissLiss
What makes your music unique? And how would you describe it?
I think what makes my music unique is because I’m one of a few heartfelt rappers left. I’m often compared to artists such as J. Cole, Derez De’Shon and from time to time the legendary 2Pac. To me it’s always been a great honor to be compared to the same artists that I look up to, that I listen to on a daily basis. To me music is emotion; whether that be pain, love, hate or etc. Just like the artist I listen to, I just prefer to keep it real because I feel that the “realness” in music is slowly slipping away.
Do you play any instruments? And why do you love it?
I don’t play any instruments but I have toyed around a guitar a bit and if there was one instrument I would want to learn to play, it would be the piano for sure.
Who are your biggest musical influences? And any particular artist/band you would like to collaborate with in the future?
I look up to J. Cole, 2Pac, Lil’ Wayne, NAS, SZA, Lauryn Hill, Derez De’Shon, Honcho Supreme, Leo IV, PPilimtec, TEC. There are so many to name! Each one of these artists have encouraged me in one way or the other. They all have something powerful to bring to the table.
Which is the best moment in your musical career that you’re most proud of?
I would say one of the very best moments was when I released my first DeVoted album and I remember looking at my listeners, followers and etc just go up like crazy in real time! It was such a shock to me because in today’s era of music, I understand that my music isn’t for everyone so to see me getting so much love when I released that, had me utterly speechless. I was getting recognition left and right. From being someone that locals even overlooked to gaining fans and supporters from other parts of the world was phenomenal!
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
Never give up! Disregard the negativity, disregard the hate, respect and pay attention to the criticism but never give up! Eric Thomas said it best, “You have to want it as bad as you want to breathe”! Also I have a song on DeVoted 3 titled “Never Giving Up”
If you had one message to give to your fans, what would it be?
Words can’t describe how grateful I am of each and everyone of you. Without you, I have no one to speak to, I make this music because I know you can relate to it and so that you don’t feel alone. I’m your voice when you can’t speak!
What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects?
I have a lot of things cooking up in the kitchen! Stay tuned!