Imagine not being able to say a word for a day. A week. A month. What would you do? How would you communicate?
Now picture being a professional singer whose entire livelihood rested on your ability to sing.
For pop/R&B singer JRand, nightmare became reality in 2011 when a vocal hemorrhage, similar to what Adele and John Mayer suffered, forced the artist to not speak or sing for three months straight. “It was miserable,” says J. “In a way, it changed my life. I lost a lot of friends; no one wants to hang out with the guy who doesn’t talk.”
The timing couldn’t have been worse, as the 25-year-old from Del Ray Beach, Florida was scheduled to sing for veteran record industry mogul Jimmy Iovine three days after being allowed to speak for the first time. “I hadn’t spoken a word in three months. I didn’t know if I could sing well anymore. I went into the office and…”
We’ll get back to that in a bit, though. The son of two athletes—dad a boxer and mom a marathon runner—JRand has been instilled with a dedicated work ethic since he was a kid performing Michael Jackson songs in karaoke bars and dressing up like Diddy to perform “big concerts” in his room. Perhaps as a subconscious harbinger for his own music, the singer obsessed over Usher’s My Way and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s E. 1999 Eternal, two albums that deftly blended pop, rap and R&B with no regard for conventional musical boundaries.
But it was Eminem that gave JRand the confidence to explore a more personal, honest side of songwriting. “He was the guy saying things that no one would say,” says J, who wrote his first song at 15. “Now as an artist, i feel that liberty to say things that pop singers won’t say. Through him, I became a fan of artists that told their true story. He taught me that I didn’t need any boundaries as a lyricist.”
After the breakup of his bourgeoning rap group, JRand took his singing and dancing skills to one of the hardest circuits in music: weddings and Bar Mitzvahs. “That was the best training I’ve ever had because those crowds were so tough and you’d have to be on your toes so much,” says the singer. “My job was to make sure everyone at the event was dancing and having a good time. Every weekend it was, ‘Prove to me that you can entertain me.'” It was invaluable experience for the singer/songwriter, who before he was 21 had written tracks for Trina and Flo Rida and recorded with T-Pain and Akon. A contribution to the Step Up 3D soundtrack increased his profile, but it’s time for the next level.
All of this history has gone into his as-yet-untitled debut album, a track mix of pop, R&B and hip-hop which JRand co-wrote and co-produced. “Up Against the Wall,” the album’s lead single, is a sultry track that’s equal parts slow jam and dance hit, and has quickly garnered more than 250,000 views on YouTube. “It’s a vibe record,” says J. “It’s meant to make people dance in the club, have a good time and potentially help some people get pressed up against the wall in the club.”
The singer and dancer is also an accomplished actor, having appeared in the movie version of the hit musical Rock of Age, numerous TV shows and the upcoming Spring Breakers with James Franco, Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens.
But back to the whole not-talking problem. “It was the biggest mindfuck of my life,” recalls J. “I worked all this time and now it’s gone. I was having all these opportunities happen and I thought I wouldn’t be able to deliver. But I just got in the zone like nothing happened and just blocked it out of my mind.”
Needless to say, Iovine, and everyone else, was impressed, and JRand’s debut album stands at the intersection of dedication, talent and hard work. “I thought if this music wasn’t going to work out, I’d go back to weddings and Bar Mitzvahs,” says J, laughing. He shouldn’t have to worry about that anytime soon.
Be on the lookout for J Rand’s upcoming mixtape – “Heart Break Kid”
Connect with J Rand
Like J Rand on FB – [Click Here]
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Booking Inquiries: Bookings@PoeBoyMusicGroup.com
Other J Rand Updates: See Below
Audio: J Rand – “Up Against The Wall” – [Click Here]
Video: J Rand – “Up Against The Wall” – [Click Here]
Audio: J Rand ft. Loverance – “Up Against The Wall” Remix – [Click Here]
Audio: J Rand – “Some Nights” – [Click Here]
Audio: J Rand – “Dont Judge Me” Remix [Click Here]
News: J Rand Joins MTV’s “Closer To My Dreams Tour” [Click Here]