Jonathan Perry, AKA J. Perry, when and why did you start playing?
I started playing the piano and classical music at the age of 6. I stopped at the age of 13. And from there I started doing beats and writing music. I would say I really put myself out there in the music business in 2010.
Who are your favorite singer/songwriters, and why?
My favorite artist is Bob Marley, because I’m a big fan of reggae music and because he was using his passion to speak to the people and educate them through his lyrics.
How would you describe yourself as a musician?
I would describe myself as a musician who doesn’t really have a plan for my career and who doesn’t follow any specific standards or rules of the business. I’m just making the best music I can possibly make, and I go with whatever door opens for me.
I sing some beautiful melodies and lyrics for Haiti, my country that I love so much.
What’s your songwriting process?
My songwriting process either starts with a melody that is constantly playing in my head which I then add lyrics and a beat to. Or might be a beat that is so amazing that I’m instantly inspired with lyrics and melody, or a specific word that I want to develop and work around.
“DEKOLE” is your biggest hit song up to now. What inspired that song? Did you know it was going to be this BIG and influential?
I was inspired to write a song for Haiti and also in Kreyol, since my first album was mostly in English. I wanted that song to be big and special to all Haitians. I felt that feeling of hope when I wrote it, so it was the exact inspiration I wanted to have. I knew it was going to be successful, but definitely not THAT big. These things you cannot control.
Another major milestone as a musician and Haitian artist, Boujé (ft. Shabba), is in a hit Pixar/Disney movie ‘Cars’. How did you first hear about it? How did you feel? What does this achievement mean to you?
The Disney staff wrote us an email to tell us that they were interested in using it in Cars 3 after they discovered it playing in a Zumba YouTube link that had 50 million views. So it was very exciting and surprising news. It felt amazing and rewarding for the whole team. We all felt super- proud of our achievement.
“KIYÈS OU YE” is a very profound album title. Why did you choose that title?
I chose the title Kiyès Ou Ye because being a light skinned Haitian, anywhere in the world, including Haiti, did anybody ever believe that I was truly a born and raised Haitian. So I always felt the need to defend myself and say out loud and prove that I am Haitian. And I know a lot of people could relate in their own ways to that subject, especially Haitians in the Diaspora.
If you’re not in the studio or performing, what is J. Perry doing?
I love to be at home or hanging out with my close friends and family. I also love riding motorcycles, doing puzzles and any type of outdoor or athletic activity.
How do you get better at writing songs?
I keep learning to get better at writing songs by listening to great music, and also following great artists that have not only been successful, but who keep innovating. Getting on top is number one, staying on top is another.
Do you have any advice for an inspiring singer/songwriter that wants to be the next J. Perry?
Always have fun doing music. And remember who your real friends are and make time for your family.