Capture the Creative w/ J-Willz • STUDIGS
After running into J-Willz a few years back I knew our paths would cross again. Check out the imagery and get to know a talented artist who goes by the name J-Willz in this Capture the Creative feature.
hiphop, portraits, day in the life, photography, lifestyle, streetwear, street, culture, Richmond va, Richmond, VA, RVA, music, artists, arts, rap, urban, urban portraits, creative, J-Willz, J-WillzVA
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Capture the Creative w/ J-Willz

J-Willz. Father, Rapper, Artist, Vlogger. He does it all. J hopped out of his car along side his camera man, Tino, and we all shook hands. After our introductions J immediately started to film the intro to a new episode for his Vlog. The next thing I know I hear him say, ” Yo Stu, Tell em what your series is all about.” Long story short, I made my first ever Vlog appearance and it wasn’t that bad. Stoked to see how I did. Ha.


I first ran into J-Willz a few years back during my lunch break on the Downtown mall right here in the heart of Charlottesville VA. He was selling his new (at the time) mixtape and asked if I wanted a copy. I never carry cash on me so I came away empty handed but we did have a good conversation about what he was up to and where he was trying to go. His name stuck with me and I remember looking him up as soon as I got back to the office. It’s funny how things come around. This Capture the Creative series allowed me to link back with J-Willz and get a stronger sense of who he is as a person and as an artist. We created some totally rad images below and his interview is one of the more in depth pieces posted to this site. Take notes, enjoy the imagery and remember to Keep an Eye out for more.

STUDIGS: Whats happening J-Willz? I am not sure too many people know about your background. How old are you, where are you from and when did you start making music? 

J-WILLZ: First of all, thanks for having me.  For those that don’t know, I go by J-Willz. Some may know me as “Virginia’s Golden Child”, Rap recording artist out of VA.  But to answer your question, I’m a young 25.  I was born in Atlanta, Ga, but we moved to Virginia very young, so I was raised here in Charlottesville,VA,….Grady Ave, “Grady Base”.


As far as when I started making music, I started writing songs at about 8-9 years old.  Then I remember trying to record a couple of tracks on my moms dell computer, on the chat mic while playing the instrumental loud in the background.  I think I was about 12 when that happen.  But I really started making music the first day of middle school.  I had heard about this place called the MRC (Music Resource Center). A place where the youth of Charlottesville could come create, Rehearse & record music.  You had to be at least in the 7th grade to attend.  So the first day of 7th grade, I went to the MRC after school & signed up.  I made my first “official” song a couple days after I signed up.  I’m alumni there now, if you ever go to the MRC, look on the walls, you’ll see a couple pictures of me.

I remember when I was like 10 & my mom took me to his `{`Bow Wow's`}` concert. Shit was amazing, I wanted to do exactly that. Same with Wayne, Drake & a couple guys from around town.

When you first started out with music, who were your role models? Who’s music really spoke to you and made you want to create for yourself? Who are your role models now? 

Before I started making my own music, I could sing real good.  So I think initially I wanted to be an R&B singer.  Lol.  When I was like 5-6 My Uncle Greg (RIP) used to  stand on the bed and sing “Don’t Leave” by Black Street haha.  I remember I used to sing Mario’s “Braid My Hair” hard af!  My mom told me I sound good singing, man I wanted to sing lol.  But as I got older and hit puberty or something,  My voice changed totally and I couldn’t hit those notes any more.  So I picked up rapping.


Idk I guess its always been in me to based off the music my mom would always ride around to & my dad being a producer.  Coming from my moms side of the family, its like “you better know how to do something with music”.  My uncles are like legends around town for what they did with music when they were coming up.


Fast forward to like middle school,  I was on Bow Wow heavy,  Wayne, Nelly, Em, 50 Cent, Ja Rule, Ludarcris, Lloyd Banks, I’m sure I’m leaving some out but they were in my rotation.  Growing older, my boy Jax put me on to Nas & Big L,  i would learn and recite songs from them.  Like 8th-9th grade, running with my neighborhood clique, You had to know all of T.I & Lil Wayne songs, That was like LAW. As far as my role models,  I would say Bow Wow was one of them,  I remember when I was like 10 & my mom took me to his concert. Shit was amazing, I wanted to do exactly that. Same with Wayne, Drake & a couple guys from around town.

Whats the most difficult part of being an artist? 

Having a vision of where you want to be and not getting discouraged because your not there yet.  Not knowing when or if you’ll get “there”.  Trying to convince strangers to listen to your music, staying focused.  Haters, people that simply don’t like you because your music is moving faster than others, or your getting more attention than others….. man, its a lot, but i don’t pay attention to any of that.  Pull up the next song, lets make another one, lets shoot another video, lets travel more, lets keep working.


What does creating a new song mean to you? Do you still feel the same way you did when you first started?

I feel accomplished when I make a new song.  Feel like I just got one step closer to where I want to be.  I can’t wait to listen to it 50 times to see what I did, what I can make better.  When I first started, I was so excited to have one song done, now I’m like “that was dope… pull up the next one” . I wanna drop 100 songs this year.

When you released your latest album “Raw Gold”, what did you want your listens to take away from the album? What makes this album different from your other projects?

I wanted my listeners to notice the growth in my music.  That I can stand next to the big names of today, you can play a lot of the songs off Raw Gold next to an artist that’s on right now, and my song might make you feel the same way or better.  I feel like the music on Raw Gold is broader, as far as how far it can go, radio singles, more commercial sounding songs.  That’s what I was shooting for and I think I did a pretty good job at that.


Raw Gold stands out from my other projects because its the biggest music I’ve made, and the production.  I teamed up with Millz Douglas from “The Winner’s Circle”. Their a production team that did Big Sean’s “bounce back”, songs with Kid Ink, Jhermih, Lil wayne, August, Etc.  So he produced about 75% of the project.  I also had my boy Rockboy produce like 3 songs on there, & Trauma Tone produced the last song, & he sequenced the whole project together for me.  I think its the most solid project I have today.

If we didn’t have social media, I'd be fine, cause I know how to hit the streets and get my music out.

Tell us about your Vlogs. They started about a year ago with #WhatzGoodWillz Episode. 1. What made you start recording videos of your happenings for your audience?

Vlogs are dope af, I watch artist I listen to vlogs on youtube all the time.  I feel like its a great way to show your fans what your doing, its great to build your audience. And that’s what I was trying to do also with the vlogs. Give my fans content, stay active & grow my YouTube channel.  And I want to show my fans how I got to wherever I end up at.


You have 12 Episodes now. How has the Vlog developed over time? Has it become more of a habit now to create your own content?

Yeah it’s a must to capture a show, photoshoot or whatever I’m doing strictly for the vlog. I feel like the vlog has improved from when we first started. The trips to ATL, meeting my sibling. All that wasn’t going on in the first couple of episodes. In my past couple of episodes I’ve been performing a lot more, so it’s slowly changing/growing.  I love to look back on what I did.

What is your view on social media as it relates to your music?

I don’t know where we’d be without social media today, but if we didn’t have social media, I’d be fine, cause I know how to hit the streets and get my music out.


Are you a collector of anything? What is your guilty pleasure?

Creative recs..  I’ve been wearing those shoes since 7th grade. I still have a couple pairs from back then even though I can’t fit them anymore. It’s dope now because I’ve been getting my Recs for free lately, my homie works for the company.  They liked one of my pics on IG too, that was pretty dope.  Guilty Pleasure…..lets just say A.D.I.D.A.S HA!

Whats next for Jwillz? Any projects coming up you want to talk about?

Just focused on dropping a gang of music videos, vlogs.  Progressing and not getting caught in the loop.  Doing bigger shows, paid shows, selling out my shows.  Merch, more features.  Buying a bigger crib & a tour bus.  Solely taking care of my family off of my music.  Thats about it….keep killing shit.  you know.

Where can people find/follow you on social media?

@JWillzVA everywhere.  Thanks family.  Appreciate the interview.






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