With the 14th Instalment of #thhguruinterviews, we had the chance to ask JLEIGH a few questions!
"Emotional, Open Minded, Spontaneous, Civil"
Name: Josh Standridge
Where are you from and where are you currently living?
I’m from Georgia, I was born in the lawrenceville area, AKA Gwinnett County. I currently live on the bordering counties of Gwinnett and Barrow commuting back and forth within my job and my father's house located in Gwinnett.
What's your process?
Well first off, I have a problem with getting distracted and I live in a loud household so I usually start off at the night time in my room when it’s quiet. I used to not really have a process at all and i kind of just went at it, haha. But now I start off usually picking the beat i want to use (Im pretty picky, so it has to feel right and fit the mood im in at the time) , and then once i have the beat i usually can grasp the direction im going to go in. I write mainly about my life, like i feel awkward if what I am writing about doesn't connect with me in some way, because your music is kind of like your story you know? So, once all that is settled i usually just play through the beat a few times and go off the top to maybe create the opening lines or hook. One of my homies showed me the idea of trying to freestyle my hook and to just not think about it, just to feel it. My typical process involves freestyling the hook and just going from there. Once the song is fully written and ready, ill record it and find out what needs to be tweaked and where. Once that is done, the mixing comes in to help wrap it up. Yes, it is an odd process I know, but it has helped me grow and make the music I am making now, and still feel growth within myself all the time.
Who influenced your style? How do you separate yourself from other artists?
I feel like my style was influenced by a lot of different people and directions. See i sing and rap, even though im not the best singer out there i still enjoy doing it and incorporating it with my music because singing and writing melodic little songs when i was younger was something i enjoyed doing and never thought i would actually be doing now. The singing was kind of influenced by my family. My grandmother, mom, uncles, and cousins all were involved in these gospel bands and they performed at church and traveled to different churches singing christian music and spreading their word no matter what people thought of them, which i think kind of rubbed off onto me. My "southern family" is basically what influenced me to use my voice as a whole. But I can't really say exactly what would have been the influence ro my style of music, i feel like im just someone who's mixed with so many different types of sounds haha.
Along the lines of keeping myself separate I try to tell my own stories and thoughts. If I tell people my own stories and my own thoughts then it is 100 percent me and there isn't anyone that can be me except me.
Do you prefer a particular art form - emceeing or producing?
My personal preference is emceeing, even though to me the producer has just as much credit and craftsmanship as the emcee. I love the art of producing even though im not that good at it, lol. I can get down and hype to an instrumental too though forsure. I respect both arts.
What are new challenges when you step in the studio?
Staying focused when im working is a challenge, cause things are always going on and i get so easily distracted.
The only other challenge i'd say I experience right now getting my takes right when recording, I'll spend hours just to make sure it sounds right. I always try to make sure I one-up myself.
Top three music influencers?
My top three "influences" change all the time haha, I go through phases where i listen to certain groups of artists and just draw inspiration from the songs im listening to, or the stories the songs contain.
At this moment my top three would be 6LACK, Tedy Andreas, and Russ, but like i said it changes all the time.
Can you describe yourself in five words?
Emotional, Open Minded, Spontanious, Civil
What encouraged you to start making music? At what point in your life did you decide that music was your passion?
I think honestly the music i listened to growing up and leading up to this day now is what encouraged me. I loved seeing real artists share their real story and it made me wonder if i could do the same thing. I think the point where i was like "f*ck it, im going to go for it" was in Senior Year in High School. See when i was little, Id say in elementary school and some in middle school, I had sang a lot (secretly) and wrote songs in these extra notebooks i had from school that were in my closet. I would sit in there writing and singing, but would try to make sure no one heard me because I used to have bad issues with stage fright or what people thought of me.
The thing with that situation was is that I wasn't straight writing raps like that yet, just a lot of melodic little songs that i never did anything with haha. I did this off and on through high school until probably senior year. Thats when i started trying to write raps and incorporate the two together. I honestly was just rapping and did not incorporate the singing aspects into my music up until recently.
I had never been in a studio environment before or recorded on a real mic or anything, so i didnt know the process behind it. One of my friends from school had a setup that he was using to record music because he had been doing music for a little while before all this began. (This was back in probably February or March of 2015) Once i pitched him the idea of me trying to record a song, he helped me with some of my opening lines and then once i finished writing the rest of the song he let me hop in and record my first real track.
I already knew how to rhyme on a beat and maintain rhythm because i roller skated and did hop hop growing up, so the feel was kind of just in me at that moment. After releasing that song and hearing the feedback from people who supported me and all my friends, it was like my wake up call that this dream i had once considered could be made into a reality. I'd say from that point on is where i decided this is what i wanted to do. I will forever be grateful for that situation and for the help I was given to let me branch into the music I am making now.
The collaboration I think i would look forward to the most is with Logic, his first album was a big influence on me as a person weaving through school.
How do you feel about the internet in the music business?
The internet can be a good and bad thing. The internet and social media has built a whole new platform for upcoming artists, including myself. An artist can promote themselves, meet new artists, share their music, gain a fanbase, all sorts of different things to make other things possible in the future, which i feel is the good. In contrast to all of that good, the internet can also ruin things because of the people that lie within the internet. So many people believe everything they read on the internet is true, and once one thing is said it all spreads like wildfire, which can sometimes potentially switch up an artist's reputation depending on the situation, but all in all my "relationship" with the internet has a love and hate feel.
You have the chance to be anybody for a day. Who would you be and what would you do?
I would be myself, because I don't want to be anyone else, i would rather be me and continue my everyday life building a better me.
Something that fans wouldn’t know about you?
I don't smoke or drink alcohol.
If you had to listen to one album & one mixtape for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
- Album: Tha Carter IV by Lil Wayne
- Mixtape: Young Sinatra: Welcome To Forever by Logic
Outside of music what hobby do you turn to in order to rejuvenate your creativity? What is a typical day/week like for you?
I used to skate at the skating rink and dance a lot, but I dont as much anymore because of money and my schedule. A typical week for me is going to school, making music, and working. I go to college 2-3 days a week, work at my job on the days im not at school, and work on music when I am at home.
What should we expect next?
You should expect more music, and better music.
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