Gabriel J's purpose is to utilize his "God sent gifts" and apply them towards a cause that is greater than himself. Through his lyrics, vision and vocal/music production, Gabriel J's mission is to "heal the listening ears and spread love". Gabriel J embodies a soft, silky tone in which critics have described as mesmerizing. He has proven to be quite fluent with his natural runs/rifts, vibrato, falsetto and wide vocal range. Gabriel J is currently working with music producer, Jacq V. on his debut EP, "Ocean Tides". He has described this EP to be the soundtrack of his adolescence and early adulthood. With a variety of impeccable sounds and visuals, Gabriel J has been working tirelessly to produce a master piece that he says will be unforgettable. Stay tuned for all that Gabriel J has in-stored!
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What Musical Genre Do You Feel Best Describes Your Music And How Would You Describe Your Sound?
I don't think that my music can be categorized into a specific genre. The music that I have created so far has been inspired by specific moments in time. My music is birthed from truth, experience and feeling. Every experience will not have the same mood, which can result in having different musical approaches. I am an artist that raps and sings, therefore, I have recorded songs that some may call "Trap" and then I have recorded songs that some may refer to as "R&B Soul", "Pop" or even "Hip Hop". I will say that my core foundation is "R&B". One can always look forward to hearing catchy melodies and harmonies within my music. Some describe my vocal production to be "calm, smooth and silky". When it comes to vocal technique, I am fairly fluent within my falsetto, vibrato, runs and rifts.
How Did You Get Your Name? Is There A Story?
My artist name, "Gabriel J" is my actual real name. Before I became an artist, I automatically knew that I wanted to be known by my name. I do not think that any other name suites me best. Growing up, I was teased a lot for my name. Many of my peers would tell me that it was a "girls" name, which at times, would put me down as a young boy. I never told my mother about my experiences with people teasing me, but I remember how she always said my name with such pride. Every time she would introduce me to someone, she would say my name with emphasis. I never knew how much something as little as that could boost a child's self-esteem, but it definitely boosted mine very quickly as a young boy. My mother, unknowingly, helped me to appreciate my name, which is exactly why I always knew that I'd want people to refer to me as Gabriel J.
What Are or Have Been Your Musical Influences?
I am a very spiritual person, so before I create anything and before any studio session, I try to ask God to lead me in the way that he sees fit. I do not like to do anything without spiritual inspiration because I am nothing but a vessel that should be used by God, and to be honest, that is when most of my BEST creating experiences happen. My overall influence is definitely, God. My lyrical content is influenced by life experiences. It can vary from things that I have been through, to things that I have seen others go through, or to what I feel others may be able to relate to in general. Finally, but surely not least, my all-time favorite Musician that inspires my vocal delivery is Brandy Norwood. Growing up, Brandy has always been not only a vocalist, but a person that I admire very much. Aside from Brandy's Iconic vocal capabilities, her spirit and character as a person is what really wins me over. As a public figure who is revered by so many other great artists and fans, it is so easy to live an arrogant life style and Brandy, being that public figure, lives the total opposite. She carries herself with such a humble and tasteful spirit. I believe that this Music Industry would be a more peaceful environment if others would follow her example. Her vocal techniques are unmatched and there will never be another vocalist like Brandy. She is a trailblazer and not only an inspiration to me, but an inspiration to this new generation of singers.
What Are You Working On Now? Any Future Collaborations We Can Look Forward To?
On March 13, 2020, (my birthday) I officially released my debut single titled "Ocean Tides". "Ocean Tides" is now available on all streaming platforms. This record is the lead single from my soon to be released E.P, which is also titled "Ocean Tides". The single, "Ocean Tides" was written by myself and another dope artist named Raydeo. It was produced and engineered by Producer/Artist, Jacq V. As I continue to build my first E.P project, "Ocean Tides", I will be performing the lead single on several stages to help promote my upcoming project and over all brand. I am also currently working on clothing merchandise ideas. I am excited for the many projects that are in works to help build my music career. Although I am not seeking for any collaborations for my debut E.P project, I would be open to collaborating in the future. For the time being, I definitely want to showcase myself in the most versatile way and one way to do that is to be present in my records 100% of the time, whether I am rapping, singing, harmonizing and/or singing ad-libs in the backgrounds. The way I see it is: If I can do it all then I might as well do it all.
What Is Your Ultimate Goal In The Music Industry? What Is Your Plan Of Action?
My goal within the Music Industry is to always be able to utilize my gifts and to always apply them towards a cause that is greater than myself. Through everything that I create, whether it be through lyrics or vocal/music production, my mission is to heal the listening ears and spread love. If my music and over all character as an artist can help shift the negative narrative of the Music Industry and humanity, then I am all for it. I plan to always be attentive to God's direction and to humble myself enough to remember that my gifts are not about me. I'm ready to persevere through the challenges that any success ladder would have to offer and I am ready to work beyond my limits. I am ready to give without expecting. I am ready to build positive relationships that would represent unity.
What Is Your Favorite Track To Perform Live and Why?
My favorite track to perform live, would be "Sun-Sets Free". This song is one of the songs that is on my soon to be released EP project, "Ocean Tides". To name a couple, I have had the opportunity of sharing an exclusive performance of this song at Medgar Evers College and at Producer/Artist, Jacq V's single release event. "Sun-Sets Free" is one of my most heart felt songs. It speaks about the battle that we go through with ourselves at times; a battle where our loyalty can be our greatest down fall. Our loyalty can sometimes blind us from seeing true colors, thus leaving us stuck between the decision to remain loyal to intoxication or remove ourselves. To see how the audience quickly remembers the lyrics to this song, while repeating it back with me is such a great experience. It helps me to realize that words have power and what our songs say can really allow others to reflect or can even plant seeds. Along with the crowd's reaction, the beat and melody is also a vibe and makes the performance aspect enjoyable.
What Has Been The Biggest Challenge In Your Career Thus Far?
My biggest challenge within my career thus far has been juggling school, work, coaching a competing step team with creating music. While my every day experience does help me to create content, it can be physically, mentally and emotionally overwhelming for me to create after a long and stressful day. Prioritizing my hectic schedule is never easy and with all of the responsibilities that I carry, I find myself working like a machine that does not rest.
What’s Your Typical Songwriting Process?
I usually record and arrange a vocal reference in which the melody for the verses, hook and bridge are created. Once I get an idea of how I want the lead vocals to sound, I would begin writing to that flow. I usually try not to think too much about what I am writing and just write whatever comes to mind. The reason for this is that I want to be able to experience my song in the way my listeners experience it for their first time. If I am going to experience anything as close to that, I have to unconsciously write and let the finish product tell me what my song is about. I figure that anything I write unconsciously has the most truth in it because it is not premeditated. In my opinion, thinking too much about what you write down can take away from the authenticity of art. Sometimes, art should be free. I find liberation within this process of writing.
How Has Social Media Influenced Your Career As An Artist?
Social media is like a blessing and a curse. A blessing because artists like myself are able to branch out to a bigger audience than their everyday audience. Social media is filled with billions of listeners and watchers who are accessible to us artists. You're able to spread love, positivity and your overall artistry, digitally. However, those same billion listeners and watchers that you allow your artistry to be exposed to are some of the same people that have negative energy. You are basically a target on social media and unfortunately, there are many negative viewers out there. I believe that social media has influenced my career as an artist in a positive light so far. I've gained so many great followers that tune in to my work and have given positive feedback from many viewers. I am still growing as an artist, so there are more experiences that I know I will encounter.
What Are Some Tracks and Artists Currently On Your Playlist?
Brandy will forever be in my playlist. My favorite song by her is "Locked in Love". I listen to a lot of Todd Dulaney. His worship for God makes you want to throw yourself on someone's floor and worship right with him. He has a dope voice. I am listening to this new artist named Tone Stith. He has a song out titled "If you love me" that is pretty dope. I think he is going to be a forced to be reckoned with; I appreciate his art. Kanye West's "Selah" is most definitely on my playlist right now. That song is mind blowing. This is the best choir I have ever heard! Travis Scott "What to do" is also on my playlist. These are just to name a few.
What Did You Do Before You Started Making Music?
I have always been invested in the arts and physical activities. As an adolescent, I have always been apart of some team, whether that be track, step, dance or choir. I have a lot of experience with performing on stage. Aside from my music career, after I graduated Midwood High School in Brooklyn, New York, I pursued a career as an Educator in the NYC Department of Education. I now assist in facilitating a Self-contained eighth grade class. After wearing my Educator hat during the day, I become a Coach of a seasoned competing step team, where maintaining their six year reign as a step team becomes difficult every day. I have been stepping for about 17 years and I founded my own step team at the age of 18. I now coach two teams, one being a middle school team named "Steppers Of Virtue" and a high school team named "Virtues In Perfection. I train and coach them to be the best of the best. They compete in competitions almost every Saturday. They are known for high energy, performance quality and winning. Along with being an Educator and a Step Team Coach, I have always been a student. I am currently a senior in college who is fighting to finally graduate with my bachelor's degree in Music and Dance.
Any Advice For Young People (Men or Women) That Want To Succeed In The Music World?
My advice for anyone who wants to partake and succeed within the Music Industry is to always remain true to who you are. I would advise anyone to humble themselves in all circumstances. Confidence and arrogance are two different things and it is very easy to get caught up in your pride when all praises go on to you. I would tell them to be sure to remember that we were given the very gift that people praise and we should always redirect those praises on to God. Remain faithful when things do not make sense, believe in yourself and love what you do! Do not sign up for work that you will not commit into executing. Lastly, always give back!
What Would You Change In The Music Industry If You Were A Top Music Executive?
I would help change the negative narrative about the Music Industry by spreading as much positive interactions as possible. Creating effective and reasonable systems that allow people in this industry to benefit off would also be essential. Teaching new artists how to carry themselves in a positive light can gradually make a positive change within how the Music Industry functions.
How Do You Feel About Originality?
I believe originality is very important. It is great to be influenced, but creators should always allow their creation to uniquely identify who they are as creators. Everyone is unique in their own way and the more we stay true to ourselves, the more options listeners will have.