When most young R&B fans hear the name Bryan J, it instantly brings back memories of the up-and-coming singer’s bouncy, upbeat hit single “Let Me Take You Out,” with Travis Porter. And while his lively spark, swagger and show-stopping tone remain the driving factors in success 2 years later, his talent in the game is only eclipsed by one thing: his growth as both a man and songwriter. Currently hard at work on his forthcoming EP on Tricky Stewart’s RedZone Records, he’s not just interested in singing songs about simply getting the girl. These days, he’s also interested in getting to know her.
On one of his latest songs, the Michael-Jackson-inspired track “Butterfly,” he writes about a girl he met who told him she believed butterflies are a gift from God. “The message I’m really trying to convey is to remind women that they share that similarity, that life isn’t about sex and all that, it’s about who you are as a person.”
“I’ve grown a lot since my first single,” says Bryan. “It’s really about me introducing the fans to the new, more mature Bryan J.” Influenced by the music of giants like Al Green and Marvin Gaye as much as today’s pop music, Bryan’s new batch of music weaves together a knack for storytelling steeped in catchy, R&B sensibility that comes from an artist dedicated to finding his own voice among the endless pile of pop clones.
Bryan’s commitment to growing musically is easy to see as he describes his current motivation to create tracks that brim with old soul authenticity, youthful energy and the right amount of polish from modern day hitmakers.
Raising his game to the standards of impresarios like Stewart was a necessity as he balanced the passion and the pitfalls of the music business. Back in 2007, Bryan was a talented, undiscovered singer living in Hogansville, a small town outside of Atlanta with a population of about 200 and change. After meeting and recording demos with RedZone producer Sean K. Hall, his high, velvety vibrato caught the ear of Stewart, who signed him to Atlanta-based RedZone. There, he worked with Soundz, one of the label’s talented producers, on his hit “Let Me Take You Out,” which included a viral music video for the song that’s garnered over 8 million views to date. Bryan’s talent also attracted the attention of L.A. Reid, formerly the head of Island Def Jam, who began working with RedZone and Bryan on a major label recording contract. In a short amount of time, you could say Bryan was perfectly situated to be the next teen heartthrob, signed to a major label like IDJ and opening shows for Justin Bieber.
But when IDJ’s former label boss L.A. Reid decided to become CEO and Chairman of Epic Records in 2011, he also hired Stewart to head the label’s A&R department. With Reid’s full support, Stewart was able to take Bryan with him to Epic where the young artist could work with a label that had an interest in sharing his talent with the world. Despite the high compliment from these record industry rainmakers, Bryan’s future was locked in limbo as he had to remain on IDJ as part of his contract for the better part of a year. The label that once welcomed him with open arms now offered little support on his projects, which languished for a while until finally made the official move to Epic where he’s re-emerged stronger and more dedicated than ever.
“At the end of my career, I want people to look at my career and say that is the best our generation could do,” he says. “I wanna be considered amongst the Michael Jacksons, the Ushers and the Sammy Davis Jr.s, that select few. I definitely think I have the potential and the work ethic to do it, I just have to do it.”