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RedZone/Epic recording artist Bryan J may be of a younger generation, but being influenced by the greats has taught him a few things in life and music. Bryan J believes in the words he’s singing. And it’s that formula which makes for the perfect marriage of his vocals to the music.

As art continues to imitate life continues to imitate art, Bryan J’s music is growing up with him. “The one thing that’s always gonna separate my music is that I pull totally from my life and the things that I’m around, from learning and evolving,” he says. Hailing from Hogansville, just outside of Atlanta, Bryan started his career back in 2007, when hit-making producer Tricky Stewart signed him to his Atlanta-based RedZone label. “I remember thinking ‘this guy’s voice is golden!” says Tricky, the producer responsible for hits such as Rihanna’s “Umbrella” and Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” “He had massive appeal, the look, the personality, and all the things that I look for in a star. But his music is also edgy and it’s ‘now.’ It gives girls the ability to ‘turn up’ and still have an emotional connection.”

It was that connection that led to 8 million views on YouTube for the viral music video “Let Me Take You Out,” featuring Travis Porter, which dropped a few years ago. The song caught the attention of then-head of Island Def Jam L.A. Reid, who quickly signed RedZone and Bryan J to a major recording contract over there. But when Reid assumed his post as Chairman and CEO of Epic Records, Bryan J had to wait out his contract at Island Def Jam before coming over to join Reid at Epic. Now, ready to resume his destiny as the next

young heartthrob, Bryan J is back in the studio with Tricky at work on his upcoming debut album. “Tricky is the one producer I know that can make a track, and then build it around you as an artist. He lets you be creative. He’s an incredible A&R and producer. You can put the picture together, and he’s the finisher,” Bryan remarks. In addition to Tricky’s winning sound, Bryan is also under the tutelage of one of today’s most prolific R&B songwriters The-Dream. “I’ve been blessed to be in the room with him and see his creative process. He just thinks it through and the words just come out. You can literally go somewhere and get food and you can come back to the studio and there’s like 10 songs already written,” Bryan says of The-Dream’s ability.

Already creating magic with songs like “All Night Long,” Bryan J is ready for his moment. “It’s just a really fun record I get a great reaction from. It doesn’t sound like anything. It’s a mix of Dub, House and R&B music. I’m excited to see how the world reacts to that one,” adds Bryan. Says Tricky, “Musically, we are going after what I’ve always gone after—Black music with a massive appeal. The ability to cross over naturally, keeping urban artists comfortable in their own skin.”

And after all, isn’t being comfortable in your own skin a lesson in life? Bryan J believes so. “Music is one of those things that has to come from you. It’s something that the heart wants to talk about. The one thing that separates my music is the creative space, not feeling like I have to be put in this box. To be honest with you, I’m shooting for that MJ range.”