We had the good fortune of connecting with J2Phi and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi J2Phi, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
From as early as I can remember, music has always been my goal. As a kid I always wanted to be a superstar singer/guitarist, which led to me getting into poetry and songwriting, joining the school bands, to even having my own bands to perform with. Like every kid, I’ve thought about doing a bunch of different jobs; from being a comedian, to being a lawyer, and I even went through a phase where I wanted to join the CIA and become an assassin (I played a lot of Assassin’s Creed back then). But my heart was always in music, and that’s where I always came back to. For me, that was the only real option that I knew I’d always be happy doing.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
It’s been a long road. I think I really got started finding my voice musically about a year or two after my father passed away. I was in 7th grade, and my mom started sending my brother and I to after school care because there was no longer anyone to watch us at home. Although I was opposed at the time, I eventually came around because I found out a counselor who worked there, James, knew how to play guitar. It had always been my dream to learn how to play so I asked him to teach me. He went above and beyond for me and I’m eternally grateful for this dude. All I had was an old little First Act Discovery acoustic guitar with a couple busted strings, and dude took my guitar and brought it back to me with a whole new set of strings, a tuner, and a bunch of custom guitar picks from a band he had met backstage called 7th Heaven (who gave him the picks to give to me after he told them he was going to teach me how to play). I was ecstatic. From then on, every Tuesday and Thursday he started showing me different chords giving me different riffs and scales to work on, and putting me onto different guitarists to study. Eventually he stopped working there and I started teaching myself how to play, building off the foundation he helped me build. I started putting more thought into my songwriting, working on structure and melodies and honing my love of poetry (influenced from my father) into lyrics. I wouldn’t even show people my songs most of the time, I just kept them to myself. Being a band kid, I had already began developing a sense of honest, yet fair criticism when it came to my own art, so I would take the good and the bad that I produced and learn from it all. Eventually I started doing song covers on YouTube & Instagram, and doing little open mics when I had the chance. I was super shy and I wasn’t confident in my voice so it took a while to build that up. My driving force was always remembering my goals and holding onto the belief that I would one day master these elements and become the star I always wanted to be as a kid. Not in terms of money, cars, or an abundance of fawning women; I wanted to be renowned for deep lyricism and creative musical ideas. Fast forward to the present, written a plethora or songs, verses, and chord progressions and I’ve released two of my own works on major streaming platforms, with many more to come. What I want people to know about me and my music is that it’s all authentic. It’s all a reflection of me in some way, shape, or form. And that’s probably the only thing I can assure will never change.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’d probably bring them around the gang, FTV. There’s always something going on at the stu, whether we’re recording, freestyling, or doing something random like shooting airsoft guns at each other or painting or grilling out. Always something to get into. Definitely smoking a bunch of green stuff if they kick it with me. I just turned 21 so I’m still getting acquainted with the bars in the area, but we could check some different bars out. We’ve got a few in the area that offer volleyball and karaoke and stuff like that. I’ve never really been a big party person so we not hitting no clubs or nothing like that, but we can kickback, start a bonfire, grill out, smoke good, drink good, just kick it and have a good time.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Okay first off I gotta shoutout the gang, the crew, and the crest, FTV (which stands for F*ck The Visuals). These are my people and although I would probably still be pursuing my passion, I definitely wouldn’t be the artist I am today without these guys. We’ve all come a long way together and we help sharpen each other’s skills with every song or feature we do together. We’ve been through a lot and I consider them all family. So shoutout Nature, AR-15, Wilbur, YT, Mr. Murdr, King Kay, 4L, & Bobby. Also big shoutout to my cousin Fallon Webb for putting me on to Shoutout LA; Auntie Dionne for all the work behind the scenes, my mother and father for allowing me to take advantage of the opportunities presented to me, my Granny for always being there and being a shoulder to lean on, all my band directors I’ve played under, shoutout my boy James for taking me under his wing and showing me how to play guitar all those years ago, and any and everybody who’s ever shown love or support for me and mine, and all our endeavors. It truly takes a village and I’m thankful for mine for sure.

Website: linktr.ee/J2Phi

Instagram: @J2Phi

Youtube: J2Phi Official

Other: Snapchat J2Phizzo

Image Credits
Jennifer Hoelscher

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