J. Drew Talks Transition to R&B, Controversy, His Sound, Making a Musical Impact, More

Producer/singer/songwriter J. Drew comes from Gospel lineage (son of Bishop J. Drew Sheard and Grammy-Award winning gospel singer Karen Clark Sheard), but his heart has find its way into the realm of R&B. His conflict with his family regarding his decision to pursue Rhythm & Blues played out in front of the cameras on BET’s reality series "The Sheards," but one thing is for sure, he has never wavered in his decision to follow his first love. Accepting any controversy or backlash, J. Drew plans to remain positive, no matter what anyone has to say. He released his debut EP, Never Coming Back, in May (2013) and now he has his eyes set on more projects. Check out our sit down.

Singersroom: You have received a lot of controversy after your transition into secular music, how was that for you?

J. Drew: It was a little weird at first because I knew people were going to feel a certain way about me going to the secular side being that I started in the gospel realm, but for the most part, I blocked out what everyone said and did what I wanted to do. I did what was best for me and my career.

Singersroom: You received a lot of backlash from Christians, how did you cope with it?

J. Drew: It has a lot to do with staying true to who you are. People are going to talk regardless, I'm not going to let it change me. I don’t go into a stage where I’m not listening to people or church people. I never have been that type of guy. I let the people say what they say. Sometimes it’s good to know and sometimes you just don’t care to know. I try not to pay attention to the things that aren’t positive. It’s real simple, I don’t do a lot of arguing and back and forth. I’m not that kind of person, if you don’t like it cool.

Singersroom: Do you still go to church?

J. Drew: Of course! I go to church. I still love the church! I love God. Nothing is going to separate me and my love for God! That has never changed. I wonder why people think I’m the devil (laughing). God knows my heart!

Singersroom: What was the moment that you knew that you wanted to be a rapper/singer?

J. Drew: It came to me a long time ago. I'm just now bringing it to the forefront. Ever since I started producing at a young age like 9-10 years old, I always produced and sung R&B songs.

Singersroom: Tell us about your new music and who you are working with.

J. Drew: I just put out my single out “Strip” with Rocko, and I'm working on another album. You know we stay in the studio working.

Singersroom: What is the inspiration behind your music?

J. Drew: Just life in general; going through everyday life. With the new recognition, it comes with sacrifices, and all types of stuff, good and bad things, and I'm inspired from that. The lifestyle of being from Detroit is inspiration in itself. The city is rioting as a whole, but we still have our economic downfalls with people losing jobs and just being around people who were victims of losing their jobs is my inspiration. Hanging out in the city with my friends going out and all types of stuff allows me to write all types of stuff because of that.

Singersroom: After the show was over, how did you feel about it and did it change your life in anyway?

J. Drew: Of course, people started noticing me and taking pictures. It opened a lot of doors for me, and it gave people an opportunity to see who I was.

Singersroom: Do you think you will do a song with your sister?

J. Drew: Not a single with my sister because she is still doing her gospel thing. You can expect her new album, and it is going to be incredible.

Singersroom: How would you describe your sound?

J. Drew: The best way to describe my sound is soulful meets trap beat. To get specific, Stevie Wonder chords meets Jeezy. It’s weird to describe, but once you hear it you will get it.

Singersroom: Tell us about your fashion sense.

J. Drew: I’ve always been into fashion, I just never really actually got involved in it. So now I’m getting involved in it. I am a huge fan of Armani. Giorgio Armani makes the most incredible clothes and Alexander McQueen. I am mostly into the long shirts, I’ve been wearing those in the last couple of shows. I’m into trying new stuff, but Armani is my favorite. Armani is where I spend the most money, but I shop at Urban Outfitters. I’m actually wearing Urban Outfitters and is one of my favorites. I have a bunch of random places I shop. Fear of God is also a dope clothing line. I think they are a Christian based clothing line, they are dope. I think they are based out of Los Angeles. They make dope shirts that come down to the knees for guys. Some people were saying it looks like a dress, but people that are into fashion understand it. I had it on yesterday and two young ladies said they didn’t know how they felt about it, and I told them “you just don’t get it yet”.

Singersroom: What are some upcoming projects you're working on?

J. Drew: My sister’s album, Kieara Sheard, we haven’t come up with a title yet, but her album is really incredible. I am sharing this album with other producers like Babyface.

Singersroom: What is your vision going forward?

J. Drew: My vision going forward is to be like the next Stevie Wonder. The impact he had on music back then is what I am striving towards for this generation; changing the game. I see the industry is like a circle, it goes around and around and you see the same type of thing. We are wearing the things our parents were wearing back in the day.

Gary Gentles

Founder and Creator of Singersroom.com and IncredibleWork.com. Follow me on Instagram at @gary.gentles.

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