Networking pays off! I connected with this artist through my professional relationship with DJ KCity, who we recently interviewed, and who happens to be the artist’s manager! This week, I chat with R&B artist, writer, and producer, J.Anthny, about his music career, recent changes, tackling a rebranding period, the story behind this Lost Files series, and his most recent project, “Win or Lose.”
Tap in and find out what J.Anthny has to say about becoming a producer and engineer as a musical longevity plan, how he uses new methods to maximize social media and streaming activity, and the direct-to-consumer method to maximize his payday as an artist.
J.Anthny: Well, thank you, Photobombshell, for taking the time, as I know you have a professional relationship with my manager, DJ KCity. I’m J.Anthny, for those who don’t know me. Yes, I spell my name without the letter O because I have a knack for playing with words.
My sound embodies motivation, success, and happiness, as these things drive me to create. Even the pain I create from is motivation. You won’t hear depressing music from me, even with all I’ve been through.
J.Anthny: At a young age, my parents were drug addicts. By the time I was 12 years old, I was already bouncing around from relatives to friends’ houses which eventually led me to a group home by the time I was a freshman in high school. That shaped me musically because I would spend days writing to release my anger. A lot of those songs were about what I wanted when I grew up and how I would make these things happen on top of all the childish things you want, right?
Navigating a Rebrand
J.Anthny: This answer has two parts. One was to shed my previous persona, as I was signed to an independent label called “TIU Muzic” where I was also a labelmate with the now-famous Blxst. I didn’t want anyone saying they made me.
The other reason was that I wanted to go straight to R&B, so I had to switch my target market and entire brand. Looking back, since I made that switch in 2016, it was the best career choice because it gave me a look at myself as an artist and tested my resolve to start from scratch yet again.
J.Anthny’s Musical Influences
J.Anthny: Other than T-Pain, Mario, and K-Camp are big influences on me. This will sound crazy. I don’t listen to a lot of artists, but I know of a lot of music. I have a thing for nice melodies and great hooks, and all 3 of those artists are experts, in my opinion.
J.Anthny: Singing came naturally as my mother can sing, and she raised my brothers and me in church, where I honed those skills. Writing came later once I hit high school, after learning I could freestyle. Then, I also discovered that I had a thing for words and sentences. Practice and being around some talented artists throughout my career are how I’ve come to be as good as I am writing.
Engineering came last. My dad would always ask what I would do if my music didn’t blow up. Not wanting to be stuck working some job I don’t want to do, I thought about all the jobs in music where I could still be in the music like a creative. I arrived at becoming an engineer on top of learning how to make my music sound the best. I became very good at it to where engineering is how I would not only feed my family, but it got me into studios and publishing houses to work with a lot of artists and producers (like Cozz, who is signed to Dreamville and MyGuyMars of 1500orNothing).
Creative Business Strategies
J.Anthny: Yes, my subscribers on Instagram got 1% of every song from the “Lost Files” series. Going forward, they will get 1% of a song off a project. The numbers say I’ve been successful, as everything from engagement on Instagram to streaming numbers are up 40% from last year.
About The Lost Files
J.Anthny: The “Lost Files” series idea was given to me by Bryan Sallis, who manages DJ HED and Zoe Osama. I was trying to find my way after cutting ties with Willie B. (Grammy Nominated Producer). When we had our conversation in late 2022 on the direction of where I was heading professionally, I mentioned all this music I had but never released.
Bryan asked me one question. “How much money is it making you if they sit on your hard drive?” I told him I didn’t have the sessions to these songs as I lost the files. I couldn’t edit them in any way. He told me to put them out anyway. That got me thinking about how many songs I had. Could I put together cohesive projects? It turns out I could, and I did!
Volume 1 represents motivation and aspiring to be more than what people assumed about me. Volume 2 was aimed directly at the ladies, and Volume 3 was about finding myself and my sound as an artist. The last project, Volume 3 was also the best way to end the series, allowing the following projects to make sense to this series.
J.Anthny: Volume 3 is the one I relate to the most as it shows my versatility, but Volume 1 became the most special to me because “Runner Up” was the last song I was able to do with Frontliiiin, a very close friend of mine who passed in May this year.
Win or Lose
J.Anthny: “Win or Lose” was co-produced with DJ Kaptain. The project just dropped on August 21, 2023. We created this project from scratch. Every Monday and Tuesday of every month since April, we’ve been going to In the Mix studios and creating. We started fresh every session until we got enough songs to pick through and keep.
J.Anthny: People can look forward to more music, of course, as I plan to release two more projects this year. My overall goal is to put out a total of 50 songs for 2023. There won’t be any shows this year. I’m saving all that for next year to ensure I can put on an amazing show that fans will want to experience. There will be more interviews and more visuals. I plan to shoot some videos for songs from my project “Win or Lose.”
J.Anthny: I’ve recently partnered with a company called Formless to bring one of the songs from “Win or Lose,” called “Up Now,” to you guys early in a direct-to-consumer campaign. This means, that when you purchase the song, all profits go directly to me, not Apple or Spotify, who are giving artists pennies on the dollar. I want to lead something like this. Artists put a lot into making music to receive little to nothing back. I’m dropping the link, so make sure you guys support me and send me a DM if you have any issues after purchasing!