POC Mag: What is your background? I am a college graduate of NC STATE with a bachelor’s degree in communications. I also interned with a music management company called M80 management. My work background includes working briefly for a radio station & getting my FCC license, working in various vinyl record music stores, being a self-employed party DJ for college campus &nightclubs, & currently being an indie record label owner/music artist.
POC Mag: How did you get into breakdancing and what influenced you? My friends & I were in junior high school when it first came on the scene. We used to breakdance with our boom boxes while practicing on the cardboard. That was short-lived due to my infatuation with Dj’ing which I found out I was better at.
POC Mag: How did you get into DJing and production? I used to see DJ’s in the WINSTON-SALEM, NORTH CAROLINA area like TOMMY GEE MIXX, EAGLE MAN, & BOBBY WYNN spinning, cutting, & scratching. I was hooked & the rest is history.
POC Mag: How have you developed your career from a DJ to an artist? I had quite a few music artists I worked with..early on two female mc’s named ZINA & VI VI, rapper KIM CAMPBELL, & later on in college JAZ aka JEFF BURDEN, RELL NYCE aka JONNOTTY, SMARTY FRESH aka DON CABAN, BORNE aka BRYON STRICKLAND, Y.O. aka YOLANDA RODGERS, CHANCE aka WAYNE WHITE. After college, I later worked with FIREMARSHALL aka CLOVIS DOUGLAS, POISON da FEMALE MC, MONYA DENNIS, HOLLYWOOD aka HAROLD MITCHELL, CAPPASTRO aka BRIAN SHEAR, QUINTIN HILL, MS. CRYSTAL aka BONITA SEÑORITA, & POCO PERRO. All the music artists mentioned I featured on vinyl album projects I put out. But the transition was basically because I had ideas in my head that I wanted to explore artistically & I knew how I wanted these song ideas to sound in composition & vocally so I gave it a try..it was my calling & through faith & perseverance it worked.
POC Mag: What makes you stand out from the rest in the industry? I am one of the few small indie labels that believe in putting all genres of music out on the same projects. I have consistently put out 8 vinyl records which consisted of reggaeton, hip hop (boom bap), dancehall, jazz, r&b, trap, Christian rap, country music on them. I also as an artist have been performing Spanish & English gigs both in the U.S. & HAVANA, CUBA. Last, I do not know of too many small labels like mine that have music from the same projects (my songs in particular) being played on both secular rap radio, Latin radio, Christian radio, etc.
POC Mag: Please explain your creative process: I get inspiration from various things, so I do not have a set creative process.
POC Mag: What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite? Why? I like first & foremost being able to consistently maintain full time as a record label putting out projects & performing paid gigs year after year. I also like the grind and seeing things come to pass that I envision with the music. I just had a 2020 vinyl release party at a nightclub called the POURHOUSE in RALEIGH, NC & also one at a vinyl music store called UNDERDOG RECORDS in WINSTON-SALEM & both were a blast. I love what I do for a living & am not lazy with it at all...no sir!!
POC Mag: Who would you most like to collaborate with? I am willing to collaborate with any music artist of any genre...I am versatile & easy going.
POC Mag: If you could eternally be stuck in one year's music scene, which year would it be? Any year would be cool for me because I rock with both the old school & the new school, so it does not matter which one to me.
POC Mag: What would you be doing right now if it were not for your music career? I would probably be doing more with the clothing designing I am doing now. I have a leather sneaker shoe line l designed (shoes by “GRANDE GATO”) that are out for sale online. All the music artists signed to J.O.T. RECORDS that I did music contracts with have their own pair of shoes with their stage name & face displayed on the shoeboxes. I know each of my artist's tastes, so I designed each shoe based on each individual artist.
POC Mag: Now, POC Magazine is not just looking to be a triangle magazine, however an overall regional base magazine. So please share your (3) favorite places to dine at in the Winston-Salem area: ARIGATOS, BONE FISH GRILL, & PANCHO VILLA
POC Mag: What is the best advice you have been given? KEEP GRINDING
POC Mag: If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be? LESS VIOLENCE TOWARDS FELLOW MUSIC ARTISTS IN THE STREETS.
POC Mag: Is it any projects you currently working on that would you like to share? My label as I mentioned earlier just released a 2020 vinyl record album that’s titled “NORTH CAROLINA STREET HEAT (volume #8)” which features JONNOTTY, FIREMARSHALL, DON CABAN, me (GRANDE GATO), MS. CRYSTAL, POCO PERRO, & has all genres of music... AS FAR AS DIGITAL ALBUMS, my label released an album titled “SOUL-FULL pt.6” which features MS. CRYSTAL, POCO PERRO, me (J.O.T. which is my stage name when I rap mainly in ENGLISH).
POC Mag: Name (3) things you believe it takes to get to that next level of success? FAITH, GRIND, & SOME MONEY SAVED UP (I had to sacrifice some things I liked to do so I could obtain my dream. It seemed foolish to some, but it paid off)
POC Mag: How do you handle adversity and doubt? It motivates me to go harder
POC Mag: How do you plan on growing your business within the next year? If the COVID 19 (coronavirus) situation changes for the better I plan to do more live performances overseas as well as in the U.S. because as of right now the shows my label was booked to do this 2020 year were rescheduled to later dates by the venues but from the looks of things those rescheduled dates may get pushed back even further..we’ll see. But in the meantime, people can check out both the official label website www.jotrecords.com & www.northcarolinastreetheat.com. People can also catch video footage of performances on the official Facebook label page J.O.T. RECORDS & also music page NORTH CAROLINA STREET HEAT.
Photos Provided by GRANDE GATO | Jot Records