Meet J Rand, a trained vocalist who also happens to have talents in writing as well as acting, making him an overall entertainer. Honing his skills by performing at local birthday parties and Bar Mitzvahs, as well as writing for artists around the Miami area, prepared him for when he got his chance to meet Interscope head Jimmy Iovine. What Jimmy saw was a fresh new artist and quickly took the opportunity to sign him to his label as an artist. J Rand solidified his true entertainer status after auditioning for and landing a role in the new movie “Rock of Ages”, which allowed him to share the stage with legends like Tom Cruise and Russell Brand. With a major label backing and serious skills and potential, the sky is the limit for J Rand. YouKnowIGotSoul caught up with him and discussed his origins as an artist, his debut single “Up Against the Wall”, what to expect on his debut album, future acting roles, and much more.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Talk about your origins as an artist and give us a feel for how you got your start as a musician.
J Rand: I think as a musician I originally started as a writer. I was just bouncing around trying to write hits for other artists. I met the right guy, Flo-Rida’s manager in Miami, through that I kinda developed writing for myself. The music ended up getting into the hands of Jimmy Iovine and we met him late last year and we started making records ever since.
YouKnowIGotSoul: How did you develop that talent in writing?
J Rand: I think essentially I just started out as a big fan of rap growing up, like Bone Thugs N’ Harmony influenced me, Eminem, 50 Cent, Puff Daddy, all of the big entertainers. I just started writing raps in the beginning and then gravitated toward the piano and then started putting some melodies with what I was writing. I just kept honing my skill and that led to what I’m doing right now.
YouKnowIGotSoul: You mentioned some rappers who influenced you, but more on the r&b side of things, who would you say influenced you?
J Rand: 100% Stevie Wonder, that’s probably the biggest influence. I would be playing “For Once in my Life” and “Overjoyed” with the volume all of the way up in my mom’s apartment until the neighbors knocked on the door and told me to be quiet!
YouKnowIGotSoul: Not only do you have skills as a singer, but also as an actor and an overall entertainer. Where did you develop those skills?
J Rand: I think from watching MTV, I got interested in being an entertainer and a dancer. I’ve been doing weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, and birthday parties for the past 10 years now. I think performing in front of some of those crowds, I honed my skill a lot because they were some of the toughest crowds.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Earlier you talked about how your music got to Jimmy Iovine and how he signed you to Interscope. What do you think it was he saw in you?
J Rand: I think he saw the energy. The records that I was playing for Jimmy, they had some sarcasm and humor that I put into my music and I think it’s fresh and modern. I think he was excited about that.
YouKnowIGotSoul: You’ve got out the single “Up Against the Wall”. Talk about the creation of that song.
J Rand: It’s a real sweaty, sexy vibe track. We did the record at like 3 am and finished at like 6:30. When doing the record, we just wanted to accomplish a record that would make people get up, dance, and find someone to put against the wall. I think when you hear the record, it kinda does that just that in the clubs.
YouKnowIGotSoul: I know the video already has over 100,000 views on YouTube. How has the reaction been to it from music fans?
J Rand: Right now it’s really doing good in Florida, which is where we started. It’s getting good response there, it’s on radio there, and when we go to clubs, I’ve been in the clubs in Florida and Miami and it’s getting a good response. Also in the late night clubs and the strip clubs, it’s getting a great response right now.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Talk about the debut project that you’re working on. What can we expect to hear on there?
J Rand: The debut project I think you can expect to hear records that will almost invoke every emotion from heartbreak to make you want to dance to vibe tracks. Then there’s some underlying humor in a lot of the records too.
YouKnowIGotSoul: In addition to music, you’ve had some acting roles. Recently, you had a role in “Rock of Ages” which is in the movies now. How did you get that opportunity?
J Rand: “Rock of Ages” came about when my agent got word to audition for it. I auditioned, fortunately got the role, and it was just a huge experience last year for me to be on set with the likes of Tom Cruise and Russell Brand. So that was a great experience.
YouKnowIGotSoul: You’re set to have a role in another movie, “Spring Breakers”, which is coming out next year. Talk about that.
J Rand: “Spring Breakers” is wild. It’s rated R, it’s pretty edgy. The great thing about this is my role plays with my boundaries, you can’t miss me, I’m wearing a jock strap throughout the film. It’s gonna be pretty wild and funny.
You can find J Rand on Twiter at @JRandHBK