J. Long is having a happy New Year. The former member of R&B and hip-hop boy band, Pretty Ricky, is a born again Christian. His first single “Shake the Devil Off,” is his foray into the world of gospel. He’s saved and has been baptized and has sworn of performing secular music.
Having teamed up with Stellar and Dove Awards-winning artist Angel, of Trin-i-Tee 5:7, he’s completed a remake of his second single, “Woman of God,” from his current mixtape, REDEEMED & BLESSED.
Read what he has to say. –yvette caslin
What was the tipping point when you decided to banish secular music and concentrate on spiritual music?
After seeing what effect my message was having on young girls, I no longer wanted to promote sexual music,
What kind of response are you receiving from fans who associate you with sexed-crazed group Pretty Ricky?
Some are shocked, but the support has been great by the fans.
How are your former band mates responding to the change?
Knowing them, I’m pretty sure they support what I’m doing.
Do you have a relationship with any of them? If so, which one(s)?
Me and Slick’em and Manny stay in touch. Every now and again, Slick’em will come to Houston and kick it with me on my down time. Last time he came, we actually did a spiritual record together.
How are you using the Internet and social media to get the word out to fans?
Anyway we can via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc. The Internet is so powerful, nowadays it’s a must you have it.
Who is mentoring you in the industry?
Nobody really. I use my brain and walk in faith.
Who do you admire in the industry?
As far as gospel/Christian goes, anybody who lives what they are singing and it’s sad to say a lot of them [are] not. A lot of these gospel artists need to go take my place in Pretty Ricky cause that’s how they living [laughs].
What are you doing to stay focused and resist backsliding?
Staying focused on God’s promise for my life and I’m always in prayer.
Do you understand that turning to gospel and spiritual music is different, and doesn’t gain you nearly as much exposure as hip-hop and R&B, how are you going to handle that? Take Rev. Mason Betha, aka Mase of Bad Boy Entertainment, for example.
If one single life is changed through my new message of the gospel of Jesus Christ then my job is done. It’s not about J. Long anymore; it’s bigger than me.
Who is J. Long? Use three words or phrases that best describes the new brand that is J. Long.
Bold, un-ashamed and real.