Back in December of 2015, rolling out comprised a list of the Top 5 Chicago Artists to check for in 2016. BJ the Chicago Kid was at the top of the list. Based on the reception and acclaim he has received for his new release, In My Mind, it seems as though we created a proper list. BJ the Chicago Kid is R&B. He is soul music. His delivery is a breath of fresh air and his subject matter is relevant. We took some time to speak with BJ and learn a little more about who he is and his thought process.
Congratulations on the release of your album. In 2015 we named five of the top Chicago artists to pay attention to in 2016 and you were at the top of the list. So how is 2016 going and how does everything feel right now?
It feels amazing. Honestly I’m extremely happy and excited the music is out right now. I’m not just playing it from my laptop anymore. The hard work that we all put in — all the blood, sweat and tears — has affected the way we feel.
You are signed by Motown, the home of legends like Smokey Robinson and Diana Ross, do you feel pressure to make a similar impact as them and how does it feel to be signed by such a legendary label?
I’m honored. There is no pressure. Understanding what was done before me and what happened before me allows me to take advantage in one of the coolest ways by being signed to Motown Records.
How has Chicago helped to shape your sound and style?
Everything about Chicago has helped shaped it. I feel like the beginning of my child hood hearing Al Green in the alley, going to church hearing gospel music then going back and hearing Money Cash Hoes. The balance of music in the Midwest has been one of the biggest advantages of being a musician from Chicago.
There is a resurgence of R&B with artists like yourself really blazing the trail right now. Why do you think this is happening?
Everybody is saying its dead because they don’t really want the balance. The people that want the balance seek the music and they find it. We have come to feed those that are hungry. Those hungry people help us connect to other people who are looking for what we offer.
Talk about who you are as an artist, what your writing process is like, and what sparks your creativity.
Life itself. It all connects into what we are and who we are. I feel like after doing it so long your antennas stay up on the creative side of things.
You and Kendrick have an amazing chemistry on songs, have you ever thought about doing a full project as a unit?
A lot of people want it, but we are going to let nature take its course. We are going to do it the way it’s supposed to happen. Dot is very very busy and so am I. We both laugh about it and admire how our talent [is] enough to want to hear a project like that. It’s all about timing.
Why did you call the project In My Mind?
I wanted to call it In My Mind because musically what I’m known for and what I’m popular for isn’t necessarily my greatest. I work to top everything I do.I I keep working after the day that you first heard me know that I probably have something nasty for you. I stay working, I never stop working. I wanted to convey the proper message. I want to give my fans more than what happens in the studio, or what they hear when I work with Dre and still progress.
Taking over the world! I love what we are doing right now and I just want to keep the momentum going and fulfill what we all know is going to happen.
What encouraging words do you have for our readers?
Focus on the magic. That’s what I do … it’s what I have always done. That’s what worked for me and my heroes and that’s what’s working for my little brother and sister that are out here. Focus on the magic. The things that make you forget whose birthday it is, or what the weather is today or why you forgot to eat is where the magic is. I’m locked into that. I’m focused on working on what delvers the best result for my time. I [stay] focused on the things that keep me passionate about life; the things that make my voice rise. That’s where I want to be.