CJ Holland Covers “Chains” & Talks Influences, Debut Album
Posted by jeffwbaird on April 2, 2015
CJ Holland is back with his latest cover, this time adding some soulful flavor to his acoustic cover of Nick Jonas’ hit “Chains.” As he’s continued to amass a steady following and work towards his debut album, we sat down with him to learn more about his work and what we can expect next.
Catch the interview after the jump!
Your introduction to the music world has come through a series of covers, which is a pretty concentrated medium given the relative ease. How have you worked to distinguish yourself from other upstarts through this process?
I don’t like to think of the covers as my official introduction to music, because I’ve been dancing and performing live my whole life, and I’ve been in the studio working on original music for a couple years now. The new #CJWEEKLY covers are just an outlet to give my fans some examples of me singing and dancing while I finish my debut album, to hold them over in the meantime. But I think you’re right that the cover game is pretty concentrated, so I try to flip each song that I do to give it a unique twist, with original production that incorporates the genres I am most inspired by: soul, funk, pop and R&B from the 70s and 80s. My team also puts a lot of thought into the visuals to make sure we give you more than just a video of me singing alone in a bedroom. Something that can incorporate some dancing, for example.
Who are some of your influences as a singer? What kind of lane do you see yourself fitting into as an artist?
As a singer, a lot of my influences are artists from the 70s and 80s, like Shalamar, The Bee Gees, Earth, Wind & Fire and The Eagles. I’m heavily influenced by jazz, funk, soul, R&B and disco so I’m trying to incorporate all that into the original music that I do, but modernized, so it still sounds new and unexpected. I need music that makes me dance: dancing has always been a part of who I am so it’s definitely a big part of my music.
Take us through the process of what it’s been like recording your debut project. We know you’ve been in the studio with a wide range of songwriters and producers, and yet I’m sure you still want to be sure that there’s a cohesive sound to what you’re doing and that it’s a reflection of who you are as an artist. How has it been navigating that for the first time?
I’ve been blessed in this industry, getting to meet and work with many of the people I’ve always looked up to as a child. As far as my process, writing and recording is the natural part, but actually selecting the songs for my debut album and pulling the trigger is unmarked territory and feels strange. Every day in the studio is another day closer to truly defining my sound and having something ready to show the world. It’s been rewarding and I feel like people are finally getting to see who I am. There’s so much more to come.
Who are some of your recent collaborators and what have you learned from working with them?
I’ve been working heavily with Kinetics and One Love as well as NYC-based producer duo Zach & Roger. Working with these teams gives me the freedom to do the music I want, and they’re all just as excited to help me because they’re real musicians so they understand what I’m going for when I point to vibes from the 70s and 80s. The trick is bringing those sounds and retro vibes into a modern-day genre. But I think we’re nailing it so far. It’s been a blessing.
What can we expect from you in the coming months?
Original music! I’ve been at this for a while but I’ve never been able to actually release anything. I’m very excited to give you guys my debut album in the next few months. And in the meantime, stay tuned to my YouTube page for #CJWEEKLY, a new cover/remix each week. If you’d like to see me flip your favorite song, get at me on Twitter (@CJHOLLAND) and let me know!