(Photos provided by Motown Records)
BJ The Chicago Kid is better known as Bryan James Sledge, he’s the new artist to look out for this year. With the success of the hit song, “Studio” featuring Schoolboy Q, there seems to be no stopping BJ’s thriving career. Many people don’t know that the talented singer-songwriter received his first once of stardom back in 2001, when he worked on a Dave Hollister song titled, “For You.” Now, the Motown Records singer is out with a new song, titled “It’s True,” featuring Schoolboy Q again, the dynamic duo seem to have another hit on their hands. Check out what he had to say about the new song and more.
You describe your sound as “world soul R&B,” explain what that means.
Most people believe that R&B is more of an urban style music and it definitely comes from that place, but ultimately it’s music for everyone. Many artists like Marvin Gaye were known to everyone around the world and I want to redefine that with me as a universal artist.
How do you want your fans and future fans to interpret your music?
I want them to interpret my music in the best ways possible. A lot of my music is [about] moments in my life that I will never forget. So, I try to make music that can be relatable to anyone that listens to it.
The new song definitely has a different sound compared to your last single with SchoolBoy Q. Explain the new single “It’s True” and what was the inspiration behind it.
The song, “It’s True,” is just that! It’s definitely true to the lyrics and explains live events from my life. I had friends that passed away at different times in my life; I wanted to find a creative way to tell those stories. So, when I got the music from my LA producers I just sat on it for a couple of days. A few of my songs come in rap form, then I try to find the melody; a lot of people don’t know that the melody never came for “It’s True.” I really just tried to get into the song and force something that wasn’t feeling right. So, I actually did something different with my voice on this song to be able to tolerate my talking voice. I slowed it down and screwed it. [Nothing] really [happened] until me and SchoolBoy Q [were] in the studio together around 3 or 4 o’ clock in the morning, and we were cutting another track. Schoolboy Q played back the song and wasn’t really feeling it. I asked my producer to play my song “It’s True,” and SchoolBoy Q couldn’t believe it was me rapping; he really liked it. He really thought it was dope and that gave me the reassurance I needed to put the song out, and that’s how we got “It’s True.”
You’ve been nominated for your first Grammy and named Billboard’s Top Emerging Artist of 2014, what’s next for you?
My debut album will definitely drop sometime this year. My team and I have worked on it a lot pretty much in the last couple of years and we’re finally able to focus on certain things on the album. But, it definitely was a huge pleasure to be Grammy-nominated before my debut album. That’s big! I know not too many artists out here have that luxury. So, to be acknowledged before my album [debuts] only says that there are more dreams to come true and I want to make sure everything comes out the way I want it to be. I’m not cutting any corners.
Lastly, if you could work with any artist dead or alive, who would it be?
It would have to be Marvin Gaye in the same room with Willie Hudson and Curtis Mayfield; it would be a pretty wicked experience to be in the room with them.