Image: Atlantic Records | Interview By Elizabeth Benitez
Singer PJ, who is an Atlantic Records signee, isn’t afraid of being herself and letting the transparency show in her music. After dropping her “Walking Around Pools” EP, the soulful and alternative artist brings a fresh sound to the scene. Read about her journey from songwriter to singer below.
Sway’s Universe: Can you give us some insight on who PJ is, and what you represent?
PJ: I’m just a mix of a lot of different things. I have a lot of influences as far as sound, so there’s R&B in it, there’s hip-hop in it, there’s pop in it. Not in my latest EP, but in my next project called “Rare.” And I’m from North Carolina, and I just represent like the everyday person, you know? The underdog.
SU: As far as your journey as an artist what’s it been like creating music and being a vessel in a sense?
PJ: It’s been fun. Everything is so new because I was a writer first. I wrote for B.o.B and Wiz and so this next journey is a little difficult because it’s stuff outside of music that matters now. Like going out and making sure you talk to people, you gotta make sure you look cool and all the other stuff but it’s fun. But the music just gets better and better, so I’m excited about it, I’m ready for it.
SU: What has the progression been like since “Walking Around Pools?” That EP got a lot of attention, what’s been your response to the response?
PJ: It’s been crazy. Like I met somebody the other day and they said they actually came to see me perform. And last night at the CreatVeli show, it was like, people knew the stuff, you know what I’m saying? I was like “Yo!” It’s crazy, it’s just new. And then it’s like people mess with it. There was this guy in the front and he was vibing with me super hard, you know, like he knew the words and everything. That was crazy.
SU: Being a songwriter and being actually out here in the scene is different and it’s a part of your growth as well. So how do you take that in?
PJ: I just gotta take it like one day at a time cause it’s like, everything that I’m doing now is basically outside of my comfort zone. Like taking pictures, and when they make me go on, I hate going on red carpets but they make me go. Cause I only have one smile, like I got the school picture smile, that’s the only thing I show and everybody has all these cool faces, like the sexy face, and the intense face. I don’t have that yet, I haven’t figured out what my face is. So like, I’m just trying to learn the ropes basically.
SU: Even like you mentioned, everyone has different faces, but just “being you” takes you far. What has that experience been like?
PJ: It’s been good. Even still, I get a little bit nervous when I’m going somewhere and there are other artists because to me, once you put yourself out there it’s like high school. So now you’re like the freshman, and you walk in this room and it’s like the seniors and the juniors, and you’re trying to figure out where you stand kind of. I’m getting more comfortable just being me and being goofy, I know that I’m awkward and just understanding that that’s just how PJ comes, she comes awkward. So you just gotta take it how it is.
SU: You mentioned you’re working on a project, when will we be able to hear that?
PJ: It’s coming out next year, and it’s called “Rare.” I’m super excited cause it goes a step further, like it pulls more of my influences in. The pop, the R&B, and the hip-hop, you know, it’s just like a hybrid. And that’s one thing I think I represent, people who are a little this and a little that, somebody that’s kind of nerdy, but they weren’t like the straight-A student. Or you like hip-hop and you like rock, you know what I’m saying? That’s what I feel like I represent.
SU: That’s dope! And what has been your experience like here at A3C, I know it’s your first year.
PJ: A3C’s been crazy. I was nervous but last night was so crazy. Everybody was pretty turnt with me, but the stage wasn’t that big. I thought I was going to fall off, but I didn’t fall off so I’m happy. But, it’s like, you get nervous, because I sing. So when you go in a hip-hop crowd, and they’re already turning up a certain way and you kinda got a different groove to you. But it’s been cool, I think it builds character because the crowds are a little bit tougher. But I survived!
SU: What can we expect from you next, I know “Rare” is coming, what about videos?
PJ: More shows! I’m trying to get an East Coast run, real soon. Me and my team, we’ve been working. “Rare” is coming out, it’s going to be super dope, it’s about being who you are, understanding who you are, and just running with it.
CreatVeli Awakens Curious Ears At A3C
Artists, curators, builders, culture shakers of all kinds came together for a 5-day conference and festival in Atlanta, Ga. The conference is a staple in the music world for up and coming and established artists from “all three coasts,” better known as A3C. From panels, to mixers, and showcases, the days grew busy as hands shook, pictures were taken, and connections were made. Knowledge was gained and vibes were embraced.
As many planned their schedules and coverage, Creativ District and The Veli Brand geared up to bring a versatile showcase full of talent. With Jay IDK, PJ, Nickelus F, OGG’s DJ Bluetooth, and many more among the bill, Harlem Night shook with energy as the crowd bounced, sang along, and danced the night away. With moments to spare, we caught up with the DMV come up Jay IDK and Atlantic Records’ latest signee, PJ.