We had the good fortune of connecting with J Boykin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi J, putting aside the decision to work for yourself, what other decisions were critical to your success?
The most important decision I’ve made related to my career was making a full time commitment to music. I set a short term goal to quit my 9-5 and become a full time entrepreneur musician. Right before I quit my job as a security guard, I had many financial responsibilities and had just became a father. I remember it being terrifying at times, not knowing if I would be able to provide financially, however this leap of faith was exactly what my career needed at the time. By focusing solely on my craft and artistry I was able to make more income doing what I loved and maintain a peace of mind. This allowed me to focus on music and my purpose to spread light through music in dark days ahead. I know for a fact that this leap of faith single handedly contributed to my success. Now I encourage others to focus on what brings them joy and peace.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My music is a direct reflection of me, my life and my journey. About two years ago, I decided to start implementing more vocals into my production, in addition to playing the saxophone. Having been mentored by one of the Troutman brothers (Zap Band) so early in my career, I began to also incorporate a talk box giving way to a fusion of west coast and contemporary jazz. I recently performed at Staples Center, which was a monumental moment in my career. Following this performance, the country went into a shutdown, and reminded me to keep moving forward. I look forward to getting the opportunity to work with the NBA again. In addition, I continue to give back to organizations really helping the communities they serve, such as URM. In the midst of a trying times during the pandemic, I was able to make good out of a bad situation. I unfortunately struggled with being misplaced with my family during the beginning of the pandemic. It was this experience that inspired my ministry to feed and uplift those struggling with homelessness. Throughout my journey music has been my voice and I have learned it’s power as a universal language. My intention is for my music to give hope and encourage those who listen. I just want to leave a positive impact on the world.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
One of my favorite things to do in LA and every other city I’ve been to – is eat. One of my favorite places is a independently-owned vegan restaurant called Sage, I recommend the jackfruit nachos and super food ice cream. I run daily and would recommend taking a job along Venice Beach and catching some creative vibes. They also have a skatepark worth checking out that over looks the ocean. I would also check out downtown LA for the street art and architecture. Some great spots to eat there are Shojin (Vegan Sushi) and Wurstkuche, your welcome. Lastly, a true Los Angeles experience wouldn’t be completely without visiting a dispensary. I recommended CCC (City Compassionate Caregivers) who carry my strand Marathon OG. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
One of the most influential books I’ve read and continue to re-read, is The Alchemist. It’s really important to me to align with purpose and inspire others to do the same. I admire the book for its simplicity in reminding me that life is a journey of lessons and faith. I am always encouraged after reading the Alchemist to not let adversity or failure stop you me pursuing my dreams. This concept of helping others on their journey was the base of inspiration for starting my non-profit, Positive Vibes Musicians Movement. Our ministry is to provide resources and mentorship to independent musicians navigating the industry.
Please credit Photographer: JD Starling Owner of Pac Hill Studio in Long Beach