Power To The People: We Speak With Neo-Soul Artist And Rapper J-Will

With his latest single, ‘Institutionalized’, J-Will brings his voice to the people, speaking for those who have no voice, and standing up with those who have. We asked him about what his inspirations are, and how he got into music in the first place, and along the way we discovered a very interesting young man whose passion is sure to see him go far.

Hi J-Will, thank you for speaking to us today!

You were brought up in the Dallas-Fort Worth region, but now live in Los Angeles. What are the biggest differences that you’ve encountered between the two areas? Pros and cons of each?

There is definitely a larger crowd of music and entertainment fans in Los Angeles, therefore there are more resources in Los Angeles than in Dallas. It’s good to be surrounded by friends and family as I was in Dallas-Fort Worth.

How big a part does your faith play in your music, and why?

It plays a very large part of my music. I always make sure each song I write is in line with my faith.

The video for your single, ‘Institutionalized’, is very powerful in its imagery – from the crisp black and white footage to the Black Lives Matter protesters facing up to the wall of police, and the young woman leading the protest, with her face of confident defiance. I also really enjoyed the footage of downtown LA from above. I was also very moved when I considered that all this was happening after the video opened with the US flag flying. It was really sobering. How did you come up with the concept for the clip?

Moon Man came up with the concept. It’s like he could read my mind. I wanted it to involve the Black Lives Matter movement, and Moon Man came up with the footage.

What do you think is the secret to obtaining true peace and equality in the US? What needs to change? Can the same methods be used around the world, or are the problems exclusive to the USA, so there needs to be a special solution?

We need an administration that represents the poor people. We need people in positions of power that can empathize with the poor. These same principles can be applied around the world.

How did you get into making music in the first place? What words would you have for anyone who is considering releasing music, but hasn’t yet got around to it?

My dad is a musician that took me to all of his performances and enrolled me in music lessons. I desired to take violin lessons on my own when I was 8 years old and this was the same time that I started writing poetry. My advice to anyone debating on getting started with music is to never give up, keep writing, keep singing, keep playing and things will fall into place for you.

Who have been your biggest inspirations in your life? Who inspires your music?

My music is religiously inspired by Jesus Christ, who is the head of my life. When I see someone struggling, it inspires me to put a soundtrack behind it.

Tell us three artists we should be looking out for, and why?

Kirk Franklin, his music is similar to mine. Common makes a lot of music about supporting the people of this country, and Israel and New Breed have great gospel albums out now.

Finally, what question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but nobody ever does? And what’s the answer to that question?

Question: How can we help you?

You can help by supporting those who support me and continue to spread the word about my music.

Watch the music video for ‘Institutionalized’ below, and follow J-Will online on Instagram.

J-Will - Institutionalized (Official Music Video)

About the author

Lisa has been writing for over 20 years, starting as the entertainment editor on her university newspaper. Since then she's written for Popwrapped, Maximum Pop, Celebmix, and ListenOnRepeat.

Lisa loves all good music, with particular fondness for Jedward and David Bowie. She's interviewed Edward Grimes (Jedward), Kevin Godley, Trevor Horn, Paul Young, Peter Cox (Go West), Brendan B Brown (Wheatus), Bruce Foxton (The Jam), among many many more. Lisa is also available for freelance writing - please email lisa@essentiallypop.com