JL Cotter may not be a household name yet, but this 23 year old crooner is poised to make his mark on the R&B game. JL has been building his career in the quiet streets of Long Island, N.Y., by working with Swiss Beatz and writers such as Andre Deyo (Jennifer Lopez – ?Jenny From the Block? & Ginuwine – ?Cheddar Bring?) and Teron Beal (Michael Jackson- ?Heaven Can?t Wait?). He has proven himself as an artist to be reckoned with, while making strides as a skilled songwriter.
In our interview, JL Cotter spoke about his background, his struggles, and much more — get acquainted with JL Cotter.
Can you tell me about your background?
JL: I just basically been doing it forever. My father had a record deal when he was my age and he was in the group Chic before it was Chic. He always had music playing in the house and him and my mother always instilled music in me, so it was inevitable that I get into it.
When did you decide that you wanted to take music serious and pursue a career as an artist?
JL: Actually it was my mother who brought me to the studio for the first time when I was fifteen years old?to try something out. After that session I was like this is what I want to do. Since then I just been writing and recording my own stuff.
How many of your songs do you write?
JL: I write 95% of my material. I love working with different people and everything, but I really like to keep the creative part with me whether I?m writing the whole song or co-writing.
What inspires you to come up with concepts for songs?
JL: It is really just experience or somebody elses experience that I have heard about. That is really where the best inspiration comes, like something thing you know. I have gotten plenty of stories from my friends doing dirty or being true to their girls to?that is where I draw my inspiration.
As a independent artist, what are some of the challenges you face?
JL: Really its just the frustration of knowing that your just as good or better than some of the acts that are signed, that?s the hardest part. Being that your music is probably ?better than the stuff that?s out there and you listen to some of these dudes. It?s like wow why am I not on, what?s wrong, it just gets frustrating when you go to meetings and nothing happens. The music industry is real fickle and unfortunately that is the way it is and you have to be patient and pay your dues?it will happen eventually.
What sets you apart from other artist?
JL: What sets me apart is that I?m gonna give you real R&B, nothing sugar-coated. I?m not gonna be the one in a shiny suit dancing all over the place or talking about something I don?t know about. I?m gonna give you me and that what?s different right now. There is nobody out there giving you the reality of every situation of course there is John Legend and people like that, but you have a lot of artist out there that are faking it. I?m gonna bring it back to where it should be.
What was the idea behind naming your mixtape ?The Album Before the Album??
JL: ?The Album Before the Album? was a concept my manager came up with and I just ran with it. It?s just what it is the album before the actual release of a major album. I just had all this material and thats not even half of the materials I have but it just need to be out there, somebody need to hear it. So we decide to put it out and it really made a big splash, people really like it and it?s a blessing to hear from people all over the world?calling it a breathe of fresh air.
When you are performing what emotions are you trying to pull out of the audience?
JL: Performing at this stage is difficult for me only because they don?t know who you are. So you are constantly trying to prove yourself so I just try to get up there and have fun. Show people I?m not signed yet but I?m gonna make you smile, I?m gonna make you clap, I?m gonna make you bob your head. I think I have accomplished that every time I get on stage and I really love the love I get from people.
Who have been some of your musical influences?
JL: Always the regulars Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway every artist or songwriter say those guys. I also had a big influence from Brain Mcknight for some reason I always listen to him growing up. Aaron Hall that?s a new one on people when I say that. Really I like a lot of the new artist too. It?s very inspiring to see young people like myself do it..I love John Legend, Alicia Keys, Beyonce.
Knowing that songwriting is very important, what kind of content will you have on your album?
JL: Just real talk.; its funny because that?s a song I just wrote. I just like to talk about real life experiences things that have happen to me and to other people. And topics and concepts that everyone can relate to thats really it. I just want people to listen to my music and have it bring them back to a situation. Oh this I remember or oh that it could have happen to me or I?m not gonna do that to my girl because JL talked about how that destroyed his whole thing (laugh). I just like to effect people in a good way. That?s what I?m definitely gonna do.
Are you going to go the independent or major route to put out your album?
JL: I have a couple things shaping up right now. I have always had independents trying to hollering at me? I just don?t know if that is something I wanted to do. You always expect to be on a major because you want to get out there internationally. That?s what I really want to do?I have had major record labels give me deal before but either it didn?t shape out right or the money wasn?t right. I am not going to sell myself short.
JL: My management company 2 In A Bush Management, my promotions company DMD Promotions and On the Grind Entertainment. —— By: Interview By: Adeniyi Omisore