JR Castro bust onto the scene in 2015 with his Migos-assisted single “Get Home” which became radio gold. The Las Vegas-native has since followed up with a stream of buzz singles “Never Be The Same,” “FMN,” “That Sh*t Go,” and “M.O.B.,” determining to fit into the ranks of Ginuwine and Babyface combined. His image is a mix of sex symbol for the ladies but just enough street grit for some fellas to appreciate, and in a time where it’s not popular for artists to call themselves “R&B artists”, he has no problems with the term.
He recently spoke with Singersroom about bringing back those good vibes for the ladies, the lucky night he was discovered by Timbaland, his forthcoming projects, and much more…
Check it out below!
How did you get your stage name, JR Castro?
I’m named after my father. His name is Richard. I’m a junior and Castro is my last name, so I just took the junior. Growing up, people called me JR.
When did you know music/singing would be your career?
I want to say the end of middle school into the beginning of high school. I think I initially started singing because of the girls. I had some friends who were singers in middle school and one day I caught this dude singing at lunch time, and I just saw all the girls surrounding him. That made me want to start singing. At that time, I didn’t know I had the ability to do so, but once I started, I fell in love with it. It was definitely what I wanted to do.
Who were your musical influences?
There’s a lot. There’s a lot of people. Old school it starts with people like Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Jeffrey Osborne and Donny Hathaway. Groups like Midnight Star and The Commodores. From this era, Usher was that one guy I really studied and wanted to be like. I remember once I started to singing it was people like Usher, Brian McKnight, Jodeci, R. Kelly and Boyz II Men. I definitely like a lot of old school influences.
You’re from Vegas. And despite the glitz of the city, people usually never think of Vegas as a big music scene. How did growing up in Vegas influence your music?
It’s home for me. Like any other place, I think home has an influence on anybody. It has influenced my music a lot being from there because of the things that I’ve seen. The lifestyle of Las Vegas. The culture has definitely influenced me in a major way.
What is Vegas culture?
I’m Vegas culture. It’s like any other city, you have to come here and get a feel for it. There’s a lot of great things about Vegas aside the obvious, it being a tourist city and things like that.
You sound a lot like Babyface to me, do you get that a lot?
I do, I get that a lot. I get Babyface, I get Usher, I get Mario, but I also listen to a lot of Babyface. The whole Babyface era, it’s one of my favorites. I remember when he had LaFace. A lot of the singers and artist that were on LaFace were some of my favorites growing up.
What can we expect on your project Songs You Were Made To?
Songs You Were Made To is basically six cover songs that I did. We live in the era where cover songs are kind of the thing to do. What I did was cover six r&b songs that I felt we were made to. You can expect some dope classic R&B songs. I’m excited for people to hear it.
How did Timbaland sign on to executive produce the following, upcoming project, You?
I met Timbaland in Vegas backstage one year at a Justin Timberlake concert concert in 2014. He heard my music going around the city, being in Vegas. At the time the music I had out was strictly in the city and he got a hold of it. He thought it was dope. It was a blessing for me as it was Timbaland.
What can you tell us about the project, You?
You, I can’t wait for that project. It’s title is about being, You. Men and women, that one-on-one connection, that one-on-one relationship. It’s a bunch of dope R&B music. Great vibes and a body of work that I feel is going to make a woman feel really, really good and special. Especially in an era where there isn’t a whole lot of women appreciation going around and being talked about. We live in the side chick era. You, is going to be something that all women can relate to and vibe out with.
Earlier this year, you spoke with Chris Style from Sirius XM’s The Heat about getting “back to the core essence of R&B and sing it to that one girl” and to make women feel special again.” Do you think that’s lacking nowadays?
Yes, I think that it is definitely lacking. Like I said in that interview, “I feel like hip-hop is so dominating that r&b singers/artist are conforming to hip-hop in their music by singing rap lyrics with melodies.” I definitely feel like it is something that we need to get back to as r&b artist and singers.
This question is for the ladies: are you single?
JR Castro: Yes, I definitely am.