J Holiday to release ROUND 2
If, in the words of a great song, good love deserves an encore, the many fans of Washington, DC's J. Holiday are about to get it just the way they like it in his second album, titled ROUND 2, released on Music Line Group/Capitol Records today. With every bit of the musical sophistication and irresistible, all-the-way vocal seduction that has set J.'s music apart from day one, "It's Yours," the album's pulsating and ecstatic kick-off single and video, was instantly the #1 most-added single at Urban Mainstream radio at its late-December release, and it is currently continuing a bulleting track up the format's Top 20, while adding stations in the Rhythmic-Crossover category. Holiday is celebrating the release week of his album with his fans, in a performance and album-signing tour that will take him to major retail outlets around the country.
ROUND 2 follows up Holiday's R&B No. 1 RIAA gold-certified and now near-platinum October 2007 debut Back Of My 'Lac, which contained two career-launching signature tracks, the R&B No. 1/Hot 100 No. 5 "Bed" and the R&B No. 2/Hot 100 Top 20 "Suffocate," that sold a combined 1.3 million digital single downloads. Holiday's work on Back Of My 'Lac drew his first Grammy Award nomination for Contemporary R&B Album, as well as nominations in the American Music Awards and BET Awards. In the past year, he has toured with R Kelly, Keyshia Cole, Ne-Yo and Trey Songz, and guested with Fat Joe on the radio and club smash "I Won't Tell."
Artist: J Holiday
Title: ROUND 2
Release date: 03/10/09
Label: Capitol Records
Buy at: Amazon
Among Holiday's production collaborators on ROUND 2 are "It's Yours" creators Big Reese and Jasper Cameron of the StreetLove team (with respective credits including Mario, T.I., Pink, Ciara and Christina Aguilera), Jasper (who worked on Lloyd's hits "You" and "All Around The World") and the CoStars (whose credits include Teairra Marie's "Make A Girl Feel").
In an album of non-stop melodicism, emotion, and inventiveness, the hauntingly harmonized "Make That Sound" has jumped off to a strong on-line reaction, with an immediate six-figure song stream total on the J. Holiday MySpace.com page. "Don't Go," with its textbook hit songcraft written by Ne-Yo, and "Sing 2 You" are both rapturous celebrations of the romantic soul tradition that he's claimed so capably. Rick Ross joins J. in "Wrong Lover," and the compassionate observation "Homeless" is the artist's first expression of concern in a planned awareness campaign and establishment of a foundation to assist those in need.
J's MySpace website, www.myspace.com/jholiday -- with over 19 million profile views, 372,000 friends, and 35.2 million total music plays - is the go-to destination for fans to explore pages of photos, music downloads, blog entries, and videos, as well as to post messages to the artist. In addition to full-length versions of "Bed," streamed 7.5 million times, and "Suffocate," streamed nearly 10 million times, the site features "Round 2" in its entirety.
22-year-old singer/songwriter J. Holiday's association with Corey Green and A&R veteran Anthony "T.A" Tate of Music Line Group (Ciara, Teairra Marie) was a lynchpin moment in his career, leading to his signing to Capitol Records through Music Line. A preachers' son, raised in the church by a hardworking mother, J. is a classic rhythm and blues storyteller, updating the classic styles of Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, Donny Hathaway, and Al Green with the hard hip-hop of Jay-Z and OutKast, as well as elements of the new R&B vocal-group sound pioneered by Boyz II Men, and Jodeci.
On the high bar he's set for himself and his peers, Holiday recently told an interviewer: "I hope my music never stays the same. I don't want to be stuck in a box. I want people to say, 'I like J.'s music,' and not, 'Did you hear the one song he did?'"
J Holiday biography
In mid-2007, a reserved, amicable, soon-to-be-star shuffled out of a hotel elevator for his initial biography interview. His earnest, boyish features creased repeatedly into easy grins, and his unaffected, endearing manner reflected a sturdy upbringing and a refreshing newness to the entertainment game. The world had yet to meet J. Holiday. Well, what a difference a year makes. Now in late 2008, having put the finishing touches on his sophomore album Round 2, the 25-year-old singer sat for this current biography with a quiet purposefulness, a portfolio overflowing with praise, and a global fan base at his fingertips.
“It’s been an amazing year, and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished,” he reflects in typically understated fashion. “You always balance your hopes about what the fans will appreciate versus the reality that it might not work out.” By accomplishments, he means: consecutive back-to-back #1 R&B singles “Bed” and “Suffocate;” utterlyusurping of BET’s 106 & Park; his album Back of my ‘Lac debuting #1 on the R&B chart and selling nearly 800,000 copies; BET and American Music Award nominations for Best Male R&B Artist; and the most recent capstone—a Grammy Award Nomination for Best Contemporary R&B Album. “I’m glad to have the respect of my peers,” he says about the Grammy nod. “It’s nice to be recognized for putting out real music.”
Bridging 2007 and 2008, J. Holiday took to the road, wooing fans from Texas to Tokyo. He crashed the public consciousness as part of R. Kelly’s ground shaking 40-stop Double Up tour, alongside Ne-Yo and Keyshia Cole. He also crisscrossed the country co- headlining a 21-stop tour with fellow crooner Trey Songz. Amidst all that, he found time to lend a breathy hook to Fat Joe’s club sizzler “I Won’t Tell.” “I’m still new to all this, but I also feel seasoned,” J. remarks ironically. “A lot of the game I can do without, but I love being on stage. So I just lose myself in that. And at the end of the day, I’m first and foremost a fan. On the Double Up tour I’d perform first, then go sit in the crowd for the rest of the show. People never understood that; it was never about me being seen, it was about watching R. Kelly and Keyshia and Ne-Yo. I’m out there taking notes. On some level, as the new guy, I had to prove that I could hold my own with them.”
Fittingly, Round 2 boasts an impressive roster; lead single “It’s Yours” springs from the artful hands of StreetLove production/writing team members Big Reese (Mario, T.I., Andre 3000, Pink) and Jasper Cameron (Ciara, Tiffany Evans, Christina Aguilera). Unsurprisingly, “It’s Yours,” with its soothing, seductive sound and J.’s enviably trademark falsetto flourishes, is the #1 most-added R&B song to mainstream urban radio. Asked to describe the song, J. looked sheepishly at the floor and said, “I guess J. Holiday is falling in love.” He laughed off this writer’s subsequent quip: “Yeah, he’s known to do that,” a wink to his romantically-themed hits.
All kidding aside, J.’s old-soul sensibilities and God-given attributes leave little wonder as to the colossal success bestowed upon this preacher’s son. But he’s not content to rest on his laurels or regurgitate recycled material. “I’m definitely on another, more mature level now,” he confirms. “Some of the songs on this album you’d never have heard on the first album. And it’s going to continue to be a growth process; I hope my music never stays the same. I don’t want to be stuck in a box. I want people to say ‘I like J’s music’ and not ‘Did you hear that one song he did?’”
Unusual discourse in today’s single-obsessed musical climate. Indeed, Round 2 runs deep, devoid of the filler and half-hearted attempts plaguing other offerings in the genre. “Lights Go Out” is a dawdling, dripping, soul-slathered freak fest produced by XXXXX. “Forever Ain’t Enough” is stripped-down balladic beauty. The pulsing “Fall” manages to touch the heart and nod the head, reminiscent of transcendent ‘80’s R&B. “Sing 2 U” throbs in a similar vein; J. Holiday appropriately references the Chi-Lites and name checks Marvin Gaye and Jodeci in the first verse. “Fly” is spirited and celestial, and its synthesized hook subtly knocks the current wave of pseudo-singers clogging up the airwaves. Meanwhile, fans wanting for some harder fare will dig ”Wrong Lover”, a collaboration with Floridian flame spitter Rick Ross. There’s a whole lot here to like.
Round 2 is dense, deliberate, and destined for the rarified air gulped in by Back of My ‘Lac. But again, critical and commercial triumph isn’t enough for J. Holiday. He’s tackling weighty issues, another anomaly given today’s artists’ reluctance to stick their necks out. The song “Homeless,” featuring Cee-Lo, is probing social commentary. It’s also the precursor to a larger endeavor: “I’m working on a homeless awareness campaign,” he shares. “I’m actually in the process of starting a foundation. I’m just trying to do my part; it’s an issue I feel people don’t pay enough attention to. It’s always been in the back of my mind, and now I’m in a position to better address it. This isn’t to get any personal recognition, it’s just to show how many people this still affects. I’m coming at this not looking at myself first at all.” J. plans to appear in a TV commercial, dressed in rags and posing as an indigent on New York City’s unforgiving streets, as passersby step over him. Another admirable feather in J. Holiday’s familiar fedora, although this writer’s half-serious suggestion that the campaign’s motto be “I’m a give you a bed, bed, bed,” was laughingly dismissed.
J. Holiday has made a home in fans’ hearts and ears. In turn, his epic one-year odyssey has opened his own eyes: “Being inside the game has given me a whole different perspective. I would like to think that I’m very good at what I do, and I believe in my craft, but I still feel blessed. I have done a lot more than some very talented people who were in my position at one point in time, in the timeframe that I’ve done it. I’m still new to all this. But I can’t worry myself about what other people are doing. I know just by staying me, my music is going to stand on its own.” So too will the world stand, and applaud.
"ROUND 2" by J Holiday - release date: 03/10/09..