Behind The Mic: Yung J.R. ‘Starts The Movement’

Behind The Mic: Yung J.R. ‘Starts The Movement’

Written by Editor

Topics: Behind The Mic, Music

Pree Jamaica goes Behind The Mic with the deft, non-conforming, perceptive, self-reliant Yung J.R. The recording artiste and sometimes-musician is set to release a host of music this year – commencing with the aptly titled “Start The Movement” EP. Yung J.R. is among the talented Reid brothers – sons of one of Jamaica’s iconic vocalists, Junior “One Blood” Reid.

What is the first track you recorded? How old were you?
My first track that I recorded was titled “Hard Times”. It was recorded when I was about 11 years of age.

Which high school(s) did you attend?
I attended Ardenne High first then transferred to Jamaica College.

Who was your most impactful teacher? Why?
My dad and Marcus Garvey. They both taught me an important lesson in life and that is of “Self Reliance”.

Did you ever think about pursuing another career? If so, what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t doing music, it would be football.

Are you a Rastafarian? What attracted you to the religion? What does it mean to you?
Yes. It is a way of life that’s in harmony with nature and conducive to spirituality. The Truth.

When the world thinks Rastafari, they think “weed-smokers”, “non-conformists”, “militants”, etc. How would you respond to this perception?
Rastafarians are weed-smokers, non-conformists and militant people. We will not conform to the oppression and injustice of our so-called masters. We defend the God-given rights of humanity. In terms of smoking marijuana, it is a holy sacrament and herbal medicine we use to connect to our true being – the spirit.

What’s the story behind the stage name?
My stage name Yung J.R. came from being at Ardenne High. My friends would call mi so because they knew my dad, so Yung with J.R.

Would you label yourself as a reggae act or is that limiting?
I am a musician. Music without boundaries.

What is your favourite genre of music besides reggae and why?
Rap. Classic rap music portrays the same message, with a similar rhythm, as reggae music.

Do you write or compose all your music?
Not all the time. Sometimes my brother Adoney might contribute with lyrics and I might give a drum pattern or melody to the ‘riddim’.

What is your writing processes like? What inspires your to write?
It’s normal. I try not to put any special attention. As the idea comes, I write with the moment. As every artiste would say: It is people, nature and events that inspires us. This is true. Because, as artistes we are servants of the Most High – here to uplift and eradicate any social oppression from life.

Who has influenced you most musically and philosophically?
Life itself. Marcus Garvey, Emperor Haile Selassie I, Emanuel I.

Being an offspring of a well-known, well-loved act, are there pressures regarding how you approach music?
Yes I would say there are certain expectations, which I value some. But at the end of the day, I am still a developing artiste like any other normal artiste out there. I might have a source of wisdom and knowledge with me (my father) but I am still developing. My duty is to draw from his experiences and get knowledge.

How many brothers are there in the business? Are you competitive among yourselves?
Five of us. ‘Bun’ competition.

You are likely to be treated differently because of your dad. Have you ever taken advantage of it?
He is my dad and that cannot change, and will not be changed for anyone. And yes, I will capitalize on the opportunities that comes and still reach out on my own. It’s my father. One blood, don’t it?

Did you ever tour with your father? If so, how old were you and what was the experience like?
From about age 10. Great experience. You learn the business of live-performing and cooperating with people.

We know of your dad, tell us about your mum. What is the single most significant thing she has imparted?
My mom plays an important role in my life. Most important lesson is to live in the present moment, being sympathetic, and self-motivation.

Do you have an upcoming project? When will it be released? Do you have any other ventures you want to mention?
I am currently working on my debut EP titled “Start The Movement” [scheduled for a spring 2015 release]. I am also simultaneously working on an album. Lots of ventures, which will remain a secret for now.

Tell us something about yourself that people often misunderstand.
I am a humble guy…people often take my humbleness as hype.

Describe yourself in one word.

What is your favourite thing to do that is not music related?
Reading and football.

Are you a vegetarian or vegan?

Where is your favourite chill spot?
Being with nature.

Favourite thing you own.
(Laughs) I own nothing on this earth, just my soul.

Do you play instruments? Which instruments?
The drums. I am currently learning the guitar and keyboard.

Who is your music crew?
Team Yung J.R: The “Start The Movement Team”. We nuh lef di red, green and black banner.

Know your roots. I say this to everyone – the puppet government and everyone. And also stay true to yourself.

God made man Lord of creation, ruler of his own faith and destiny. Man is his own sovereignty. There is nothing common to man that man cannot achieve.

Consume the herbs and hail His Imperial Majesty.

Bun ism and skism.

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