It’s Grammy season again. And that means glitz, glamour, accolades and awards for the best of the best in the music industry. Detroit natives and music royalty, J. Moss and Paul “PDA” Allen both received a Grammy nod for Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella for their work on their “Bruno Mars” medley from their newly formed group, Vocally Challenged. The a capella medley is dedicated to the genius of Bruno Mars and the song is incredibly amazing. The song also features their upcoming pop artist Marcy, a new artist to the PAJAM family and her crystal-clear melodic pipes are outstanding. She definitely holds her own singing next to the veterans in the group.
Rolling out got an exclusive interview with J. Moss inside their metro Detroit PAJAM studios. We got the chance to chat about his Grammy nod, Bruno Mars Super Bowl 50 performance, as well as the new group, Vocally Challenged. Check out the details below. Leave a comment to let us know what you think about the song, the interview and J. Moss himself.
What’s been going on with Just James other than your Grammy nod?
All is well, it’s a fun ride. You never really know what you’re going to get. It’s like a box of chocolates, and I hate clichés, I never use them, but that is a very, very relatable one when you’re talking about the music industry. When you talk about what’s coming up next, you never know. I can put myself in the place where Dr. Dre was before Apple decided to buy Beats by Dre. I can put myself where Pharrell was before Despicable Me 2‘s “Happy” [song] jumps off. You’re just sitting there and you don’t know what’s coming down the pike. So, I love that part of it. But of course, we’re still pushing, we are still developing artists. We’re still managing our label and trying to do our best to maximize on the talent that we have: myself, 21:03, Marcy, other artists that we’re signing, other writers and producers. So, we’re definitely maximizing on that. Of course, being a family man, you can’t let that piece go. I mean, because you can be a great artist or a great business man, but your family is everything, and you can’t let your family struggle. I’m also working on becoming a great minister, moving and advancing in that area from the stage to the pulpit. It’s definitely been an adventure. I don’t like to say it’s a challenge, it’s definitely challenging, but it’s not a challenge per se. I don’t sum it up to that. So, it’s a lot of fun things going on, especially with the label heading to the Grammy’s, I think it’s our ninth appearance now. So, it’s just a lot of fun and excitement, not knowing if you’re going to win, not knowing what’s coming up next. So, we’re having a lot of fun with that.
So, as the world knows, you’ve received a Grammy nod for Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella, for your work on the “Bruno Mars” medley — who by the way had an amazing Super Bowl performance. Tell us about your experience with Bruno Mars.
It was a tribute we did to him. He’s done so many great songs. He’s very melodic, like we like to be, like the PAJAM writers and producers like to display. So, we just thought it would be befitting to do a tribute to him in some a cappella format, put our swag on his already great material, and needless to say, all the planets sort of lined up and we got this masterpiece out. One of the notable ones was our tribute that we did to him. Of course after submission, the Grammys called us back and [were] like, hey! Welcome to Hollywood. It was one of those type of things. So, we’re on our way, we’re going to enjoy all of that. Hopefully we’ll be able to see him while we’re there and be able to hook up one more time and just say congratulations. A lot of times, it’s just a way to pay homage. So many times, you’re working, and working and working, but you never get a chance to really tell each other hey, I really, really adore what you’re doing. I mean, we can tweet it or we can see him on “American Idol,” or see him on the Grammys or the music awards or what have you, but it’s another thing to be in the studio, or be face-to-face and say, you know what? I’m going to show you how much I love your stuff, because I’m going to do it. I’m going to give you my interpretation of this greatness or what it’s inspired me to do. So, that part of it is really, really exciting for me.
Speaking of paying homage, Bruno just recently performed at Super Bowl 50 and paid homage to music greats such as M.C. Hammer. What did you think about his Super Bowl performance?
You know what!? They’re just good. Anytime you put Beyoncé together with someone, and then you know Bruno is really known for his live performances.
Bruno was outstanding! I was amazed. And people were shocked! Like, I didn’t know he could do that. He’s been dancing from the beginning. He’s been turning out live performances since we’ve seen him. You know, a couple of them were just sitting at the piano kind of thing, and it was real subtle. But we always knew that he was turnt up! He’s definitely the turn up king. So, I wasn’t as surprised as everybody else was. I enjoyed it. I thought it was top-notch — him and Bey together, I mean, how can you miss!? But I think I had more of my “executive” hat on when I was just like “yeah, he better had did exactly that. It was expected. He’s Bruno. That’s what he’s supposed to do. We’re huge supporters of his. He held his own with Cold Play, held his own with the Queen Beyoncé! Nothing but positives from us to him.
Tell us more about Vocally Challenged.
It’s a group based on PAJAM; all of us, we’re just music junkies. You know, so we decided to all lend our talents to this a capella project. And we said go, and be as creative as you possibly can. This is a project where you don’t have to really water it down for mass appeal. We didn’t have to do that. For this project, we could just go as far as we wanted to go — it’s a capella, it’s a special events project, anyway. So, I love it because you get to push people beyond their regular limits. So, it’s been fun. And I love the group’s name, because we’re anything but vocally challenged! We all like to challenge ourselves and push ourselves beyond our vocal limits. So, there you have it: Vocally Challenged!