MILLI MOGUL MOVES | Joseph “Joey” James
Don't play catch up... You want to be ahead of the game.
- Joseph “Joey” James
Art has no limits. Sometimes as an artist what you produce can be intangible, or a physical object. However there are artists out there who find a way to bring together both of these skills, while finding a way to give back to other creatives in the process.
Before making his name in Boston, Joseph James was born in Brooklyn—where music and art influences thrive! It’s no wonder Boston has had the privilege of hearing his mix of trap sounds with a boom-bap melodic rhythm. Not only is Joseph an artist and lyricist; he is also a Boston Art Teacher, producer, marketing and branding expert, Graphic Designer, a husband, and father of 3 kids.
As a child Joseph always had to be creating something through drawing or painting. Even as an adult he stresses how whenever he has a minute of downtime he’ll pull out his iPad to draw a quick sketch or write some lyrics to a beat in his head.
Joseph is a creative who is intrinsically motivated. His motivation comes from an internal desire, rather than a desire for external reward or recognition. For Joseph, creating a platform for youth artistry development, while empowering individuals to hone their craft, is his main focus as an artist. Part of his art is expressed through the dope clothing pieces he and his brothers create through their clothing company, Yo Soy. And throughout his interview, you’ll come to understand his humble and giving personality, which makes him a true example of a Milli Mogul making Moves!
What’s the biggest problem you’ve had to overcome so far in life?
Balancing my personal life with art life. Everything from music and fashion to working with other people, and my family… you have to balance these things. For me, I talk to my wife, go over the schedule for the month, make sure the family is set first, then I can do my thing.
How would you describe your sound?
I like to say I'm in the middle of “street” and “hipster”. I just make good music that everyone can listen to because it’s the way I make my music. I put everything together to come up with my sound.
Who/What inspires you to keep going?
I’ve been doing visual art since I was 4. So when it comes to the art world—fashion and stuff—it’s just in me, so I can't stop doing it.
As for individual people, my mom inspires me a lot because she does so many things. My dad growing up was a rapper and would listen to hip hop, he introduced me to the hip hop world. And my grandparents did music too, so it’s in the family.
Let’s Get Down to Business:
How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?
I feel like it’s dope—Because it's good and bad.
The Good: It's easy now to put your stuff out real quick. My dad would record with older equipment and would tell me when he used to go to studios back then the process was so different.
The Bad: Younger kids don't network. Certain artists blow up from 1 song... But others get nothing. Kids don't really meet people through the internet.
I’m cool with everyone in the industry—a lot of people know me—that's my ticket to get in the door.
Which artist(s) would you most like to collaborate with?
I’ll shoot my shot with Roc Nation because of the way they move with certain artists. They allow you to move your brand. It’s not like a regular label—they cater to the artist.
What is your creative process like?
I don't like having mad people in there. When I need a feature, it might be me and my manager. I like to just be alone and in the dark. I just like to vibe and create. I write my music and freestyle sometimes. It might be just a melody without words… record that. Then later come back and fill it in with words.
What areas do you think you can improve on?
My vocabulary and writing. I always tell young kids to read.
If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?
I would change the way social media dictates your status as an artist, to change that mindset of thinking. It's also a money game.
What’s next for you?
I just dropped an album this summer “J.O.E.Y.”… now the visuals… I’m also gonna start my own TV Show called Joey’s Home to interview music artists, etc… teaching them the ways I never learned as a kid.
If we're sitting here a year from now, celebrating what a great year it's been for you, what did you achieve?
I’ll be celebrating the artists I work with. music videos, a new album, a TV show... Being busier and still happy—closer to the bag.
What was your wow moment so far?
Sometimes you have to pay for things. My wow moment was when I opened up for Slum Village and they wanted to pay me! It wasn't me reaching out to them… they hit me up and paid me to open up for them. That was dope.
If you could only give one point of advice/tip to upcoming artists, what would it be?
Don't play catch up. Record album this year, shoot videos this year… then drop it next year and it’s boom boom boom. You want to be ahead of the game.
It’s people like Joseph who reminds us that art can take any form. highly creative people like himself have the ability to see possibilities where others don't. Like he said he doesn't plan on getting off the train, and if you've learned anything from him - if you're out there creating ANYTHING stay the course and see it through.
Keep the bigger and brighter picture in mind. With experiences like opening up for artists like YFN Lucci, Fatboy SSE, Rico Nasty, Robb Banks, & Da$h it's clear that hard work should be one's mentality at the forefront. We have come to a conclusion were that creative personality types are difficult to pin down, largely because they're complex, paradoxical and tend to avoid habit or routine. Joseph doesn't do ordinary things!
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