J. Long is a man of many talents- singer, songwriter, multi- instrumentalist and performer with the sole purpose of crafting music for a new generation. The La Marque, TX native comes from a musical dynasty wherein several family members were extraordinarily gifted, each with a talent uniquely his or her own. His uncle, Huey Long, was a singer and guitarist of one of the most influential all black vocal groups, The Ink Spots, while his grandfather, Curtis Long, was a famous guitarist playing for the likes of B.B. King and Bobby Blue Bland. J. Long started his career in his mother’s garage playing the drums but soon added the guitar and piano to his repertoire.
In 2009, J. Long released his debut disc, ‘Girl Listen’ that consistently sold out of physical copies at local music retailers as soon as shelves were re-stocked. Moving a heavy number of units caught the attention on of popular R&B/Hip-Hop outfit, Pretty Ricky who was looking for a fourth group member. J. Long signed on in 2010 and shared in many successes such as the hit single, “Personal Freak” before parting ways in 2012.
From what I understand, you came from a musical family. Can you tell our audience a little bit about that and how you grew up?
“It was like I was destined to be in music. I can remember falling in love with the drums when I was about 2 years old. Everyone in our family played instruments or was a singer. I loved everything that had something to do with music.”
After you left Pretty Ricky, you took a break from music all together.. What was your reasons for doing that?
“I took time out to reconnect with God. I felt that I had drifted away and needed to find my way back. I had just left Pretty Ricky and had so many personal things going on in my life that I felt I needed to work on me. I had to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I needed to rebuild myself from the bottom up.”
Now you’re back and going strong, you’ve evolved your sound as well. You stated you don’t consider yourself an R&B singer, how do you describe your sound now?
“I don’t like to put a label on my music. I’m just an artist.”
What’s your creative process like? From developing lyrics to production?
“Once I’m in the studio the music just seems to just create itself. As far as lyrics, I tend to freestyle most of my songs. My songs can come from something I’m experiencing in my life or just a random thought at the moment.”
You haven’t released a full project since Evol’ed, are you currently working on an album? If so, what can we expect from it?
“At the moment I’m currently in the studio. You can expect something for everyone. Some real fire music.”
Do you have any dreams and goals that go beyond being an artist?
“My goal is to one day write and produce for my favorite artist, D’Angelo.”
Do you participate in any charitable causes?
“Being that I’m from a small town in Texas, La Marque, that does not have much. I try to give back to my community.”
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given that has stuck with you today?
“Keep your faith in God. Everything I have I owe to God. Without God guiding my steps and telling me to trust his will I would probably still be trying to make a name for myself.”
What advice do you have for artists who want to make a name for themselves?
“Continue to work hard. It’s not an easy journey so do not give up. Make sure to network and promote yourself because nobody is going to go hard for you like you will for yourself.”
What have you learned from your journey as an artist?
“I’ve learned that you have to hustle as if you’re broke. You have to remember that there is always someone else after your spot. Also to keep good people in your corner. There are a lot of snakes in the business so you just have to watch the people you have around.”
All in all, what’s next for you and where do you still yourself in a year from now?
“I see myself still making music. Evolving as a artist and a man. Touring more and connecting more with my fans.”
Connect with J. Long on Twitter; @jlongjfam
Tracy Bell is J. Long’s manager and A&R rep for J FAM Music.
His contact info is:
Can we hear more about this engagement to Cyntoia Brown ? And what is the plans for them after she is released from prison?