Willie J. The Philosopher
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
I discovered my talent at an early age when my uncle gave me a harmonica as a child and I loved it. But my mother was the first person to actually tap into my divine inspired ability to write music and play instruments. She sent me to the New England Conservative Music School to learn to play the guitar, and read and write music. My mother brought me and my brothers all instruments as a teenager, but my brothers weren't interested in learning to play those instruments. I spent countless of hours in the attic of our home practicing to play all of the instruments.
During that time my uncle had a singing group and one of the members left the group, and my uncle was looking for another young man to join the group but he wouldn't let me join. That set me on fire with desire to start my own singing group. I did form a singing group and entered a talent show in which my uncle and his group also entered, but my group won the talent show.
After learning to play 5 instruments I went on to form a band in which I wrote all of the songs. I joined several bands before decided to go solo. I was always surrounded by talented individuals in Boston who were older than myself and I was inspired by them as they went on to have very successful careers. I never gave up on music and I'm having great success today. I know that GOD preserved me for this time in my life in which I am prospering, in all that I do, and in my music career. I have always wrote inspirational songs with messages that relates to all aspects of life.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career? Like so many other artists, I have had intense challenges and went through trials and tribulations that would make most individuals give up. As of today I would have to say that the craziest thing that has happened to me in my music career is that over the years I was rejected by individuals whom I thought were my friends who then went on to achieve great success with their music careers. Now their careers have ended and I am having success in my music career as a singer/songwriter and performer. And now those same individuals who rejected me have been calling me asking if they could do a song with me. What's crazy about this is that two of my songs just came out and are having great success on over 30 platforms with growing streams. They are the same songs that I wrote years ago and was told that people don't want to hear songs like that! All I did was to modernize the music tracks to be relevant to the sound of today. Now I am getting great praise for writing those songs.
What has been the high point of your music path? THIS IS MY TIME! GOD works in mysterious ways and my persistence is finally paying off. I am getting calls to perform at state-event, clubs, lounges, churches and concert halls. I always give GOD a shout-out before I perform anywhere and I actually performed at a couple of clubs in Atlanta GA and told people "ON THE COUNT OF THREE I WANT YOU TO RAISE YOUR ARMS AND SHOUT WITH ME PRAISE HIM, PRAISE HIM, PRAISE HIM! And the crown raise their arms, jump up and down and shouted PRAISE HIM, PRAISE HIM, PRAISE HIM! This Happened in a hip-hop night club!! So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like? At different times of the day, week, or month, I may get inspired to write a song. When I do, if I am not at home I usually will find a appropriate place like my car to go to and record myself singing the lyrics and humming the music that comes to me. I'll later go into my home studio and lay the music tracks (playing all of the instruments myself and then I lay my vocal tracks. The songs that are out now are all me singing, rapping, and doing my floetry style of lyrics. I write music of different genres; Hip-Hop, Jazz, R&B, and Gospel. I am led by divine inspiration to get messages out to the world about love, hate, killing, war, racism, the gospel of JESUS CHRIST, politics, poverty, pollution, decease, hunger, drugs etc. The amazing thing is that there are times when I go into my studio and sit down with a thought about what I want to write about, but I actually don't have any idea of where to start and as soon as I pick up my guitar or start to play the keyboard the divine inspiration kicks in.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be? Times have changed and CD's have become almost extinct. Radio is very important and is still around but seems to be less popular then it once was because of online streaming platforms where you can listen to music and create your own playlist. Today there are millions of artists competing to be heard make a name for themselves. Also in this day and time that we live in, we are faced with a pandemic that has change the world. It first stopped us from being able to perform because the world was shut down. And even now it is just starting to open up again. From vinyl records, to cassettes, to Cd's they use to be one of the major ways that artist made money. If I could ask the music industry to bring something back it would be the CD because I remember being able to purchase a bundle of 1000 CD's and go out on the streets and sell everyone of them and triple my money. I would even like to see the boom-box radio come back and maybe it could include digital online streaming so people could play their favorite songs and playlist on the boom-box. If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why? Truthfully, I don't have a specific artist that I would like to share the stage with. I hope that I inspire other artists and performers to write more inspirational and encouraging music that will help to uplift people. I really want to influence young people in a positive manner and if another artist is interested in collaborating with me to do it, then I'm with it. I'm really old school and was influenced by artist like Curtis Mayfield, The OJays, Gil Scott Heron - the group War, and Earth, Wind, Fire, etc. I'm open to work with anyone who wants to make a difference in this world through music.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show? I am a firm believer that "Practice makes perfect!" I feel that success comes when preparation meets opportunity so I practice my performance at least 5 times a weeks, 2 hours each time. I workout hard on my mind, body, and spirit so that my endurance will be healthy enough to meet any demand of my performance. I still stand in front of a mirror sometimes and I video tape myself sometimes to see what I look like in my rehearsals. I believe that what you do in your rehearsals is what you will do in your live performance. Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it! I developed a new style in my song writing which includes what I call Floetry. It's a cross between rap and poetry but not quite one or the other so I call it Floetry. I include my Floetry in a lot of my songs along with lead vocals, chorus, and Rap. I write a lot of new songs, but I also have songs that I wrote 10 or 15 years ago that I never did anything with so I am bringing them to life now. One of those songs are my newest song "Let's Save The World" which my challenge was deciding what style of music I wanted to use so I wrote three different versions of the song and decided to use the Hip-Hop version.
What's coming up in the future? I will release an album this spring and my goal is to touch upon the lives of millions of people of all walks of life around the world! I am a natural entertainer/performer and also have appeared in a couple of movies and commercials. I am also a down-to-earth Pastor who is not so over-holy as to miss out on my earthly-blessings, so I keep it real and like being relatable to all. I am going to continue to push forward for great success and I look forward to what GOD is going to do in my life this year of 2022. Tell us where fans can access your music. My music can be heard on Spotify - iTunes - YouTube - Apple-Music - Amazon-Music - Pandora Radio - iHeart-Music and 30 other platforms around the world! Here are a couple of links: Spotify YouTube
About Willie J.
Willie J is originally from Boston Massachusetts. Willie’s music and entertainment career spans 40 years. This year, in 2022, he recently released two singles titled “Be A Father To Your Child” and “Let’s Save The World” as well as a new 3 Song-Floetry-Maxi-Single which includes 3 Floetry songs. He has appeared in 14 Movies, Several Music CD’s and Videos! In 2020 during the height of the Pandemic he released a single and video titled “Thou Shall Not Kill” which helped to raise money to support the his non-profit organization “The Strong Roots Youth Foundation.” He has had dozens of reviews and profile stories in magazines, newspapers, and radio across the county. Willy is a multi-talented Entertainer/Actor/Musician/Performer. He is also a spiritually gifted Man of GOD, motivational speaker, and the CEO/Founder of the Strong Roots Youth Foundation. He has a Masters degree in Theology/ Urban-Community-Leadership from Gordon Conwell, a BS in Psychology from UMass-Boston, a BS in Business Administration from Kaplan University, and an AS in Accounting from Newbury College. Willie is also the author of three books: The Last Chapter-(If I Can Change, You Can Change), OG Willie J the Jack of All Trades, and Walk it Like You Talk it-(The Lords Way). He is dedicated to helping to turn the lives of youth and young adults around to become model citizens.