Originally from Oahu, HI and raised in the streets of “Sin City” . Jun!or is carving his name into the hip hop game one track at a time. Jun!or mixes his versatile lyrics with the quicker tempo beats that transcend the familiar hip hop audience and catch fans from hustlers to smokers to the blue collar listener and everything in between. “I want to encourage every listener (not only of my work but all music) to not take things so literal. We all tend to forget sometimes that this is entertainment.” Still riding high from his February release of “ Lost Vegas” a fifteen track mixtape featuring collaborations with J. Ames and fellow Loud Militia member B.A.$.H. , he released a 4 track EP entitled “Fore Tellings”, and talked to Jamsphere about his grind.
- How long have you been in the music business and how did you get started in the first place?
Jun!or: I’ve actually only been involved in “business” side of things since the beginning of this year (2015). Prior to that I was making music with friends, as more of a hobby, since I was a sophomore in High school, which I believe was 2008. It was always a serious career choice for me, but only recently did I learn the necessary steps to start treating it as a business.
- Who were your first musical influences?
Jun!or: I was a bit sheltered up until a certain point and my mom was good about keeping a lot of what I now consider the “good stuff” away from me.. So growing up my ears was always hearing what my mom was playing. Michael Jackson, Bob Marley and Journey were the three that come right into my head… I know right…. Up until I somehow got a copy of the MMLP by Eminem. THAT became my bible.
- Which artists are you currently listening to?
Jun!or: Wow, this list is so long but I’ll keep it short and sweet for time’s sake and interview interest. A lot of underground like the Flatbush Zombies, The Underachievers, Curren$y and his whole camp, guys like Berner, the Funk Volume guys. I also have an ear for a lot of mainstream like the TDE Camp, a bit of Wiz, King Los, some Mac Miller.. Like i said the list goes on and even ventures into other genres. Long story short if it’s well put together, I listen. I have countless playlists. It’s like an addiction really.
- Have you suffered any ‘resistance’ from within the industry, and if so how have you handled that, and how do you handle criticism and haters in general?
Jun!or: Man, booking Hip-Hop in Vegas is IMPOSSIBLE! Even with a good following it’s hard to convince venues out here that your show will be up to their standards. I’m not sure who developed such a terrible rep for our music out here but it’s hurting indie artists bad. The small shows we do get, we just rock with em and keep on grinding hoping for the best. But realistically I’m going to have to travel in order to have consistent show dates.
Critics are honestly my best motivation. Ever since I can remember I’ve always brought my best to the table so when I’m criticized or I feel the hate, I take it very personally. I don’t necessarily let it bother me. I knew since the start that the music business requires thick skin which I believe I have so bad comments and such just make me anxious to get back to work and do better.
- What are your thoughts on visual media and Youtube? Do think that video is an appropriate marketing tool for your music?
Jun!or: Absolutely! Videos give the viewer a chance to really feel your energy. Even better understand your song. I think that Videos are the next best thing to performing live. I CONSTANTLY find myself watching a music video before just listening to the mp3 of a track. It’s more of an experience…to me at least.
- Which do you ultimately prefer? Entertaining a live audience or creating songs in a studio setting?
Jun!or: Can I say I love both evenly? They both have their Pros and Cons. If you put a gun to my head and i had to choose, it would be the creating process. Every time I think back of when I recorded a track I get this fuzzy or nostalgic feeling that will never get old.
But on the other hand, there’s nothing better than seeing other people enjoying the music and sharing that same feeling you have. BLISS
- Tell us something about your lyrics and music production on your releases. Which part of these processes do you handle, and which do you outsource generally?
Jun!or: Lyrics, lyrics, lyrics! I take a lot of pride in writing my own songs. I try to focus on writing bars with content. I feel the words are looked over these days.
I also pick out all the instrumentals used. I just shop around the huge population of indie producers out there. There are some real talented dudes doing their thing. It’s innovating to be involved with so many focused individuals.
- What is the title of your latest music and/or video release?
Jun!or: Other than small projects, singles and features I’m still riding the wave of my “Lost Vegas” mixtape release.
- Which ingredient do you think makes you special and unique as a performing artist in a genre thriving with newcomers?
Jun!or: Honesty! I can’t even express myself when it comes to the amount of liars in hip-hop. I refuse to write it down unless I could repeat it in front of my grandmother. All the smoke & mirrors is disgusting. I know I get vulgar sometimes, trust me, my grandma is with the business lol
- If you were forced to choose only one, which emotion, more than any other drives you to be a part of this tough business?
- What is the first thing that grabs your attention in a Hip-hop track; the beat, the lyrics, the hook or the emcee’s flow?
Jun!or: As much as I want to say the lyrics, it’s a good flow that catches my ear and keeps me playing the song over again.
- On which one of your latest tracks do you think you delivered your best performance from a technical and emotional point of view?
Jun!or: This has got to be a tie between the tracks “Lost” and “Angels Vs Demons” Both of these tracks did really deep emotionally and I feel anyone can relate to either one of these tracks in one way or another. They hold a huge part in my life.
But the format in these, Lost especially, I feel is an amazing example of what I can do from a songwriter’s standpoint. Also both of these tracks bring out the best in my flow and delivery..
- How do you achieve your sound? Do you work from a private recording environment or do you use a commercial sound studio?
Jun!or: I have a few options when it comes to recording. My spare bedroom has a nice set up for when I just can’t get to the studio or when I need to lay some shit down ASAP! I prefer to record at i3 Music Group’s studio in Las Vegas with the artist/engineer J. Ames. This man has my vocals down to a science! And he’s not afraid to tell me when my take is wack. I respect that he only has the best interest for the final product. Salute to J. Ames
- The best piece of advice in this business you actually followed so far, and one you didn’t follow, but now know for sure that you should have?
Jun!or: Be professional. I know it may sound cliché but that advice goes such a long way it’s crazy. That alone opened the few doors that I have managed to get into.
I wish I would have listened when I was told not to release to much free music. Not that free music is a bad move, but I feel like the Amount that I released so far (about 20 songs) is a catalog that would have been more lucrative with one smaller free project had I marketed it correctly. I just kept releasing music thinking if it’s dope it’ll get noticed. Had I played my cards a bit better and not rushed released I could have formed a bigger buzz earlier on with the tracks I have. Because in my opinion a lot of them are single quality.
- If you were given the chance to have only one of your songs broadcast on worldwide mainstream radio stations today, which song would you choose?
Jun!or: Bail Money (feat. B.A.$.H) … Mannnn me and my boys would be hype!! I feel like that’s a head knocker.
- Do you consider Internet and all the social media websites, as fundamental to your career, and independent music in general?
Jun!or: In this day and age, it’s almost priority. As an indie artist I often see myself spending just as much time a week updating my website and making sure all my music pages are good to go as making the actual music. It’s TOO important to have a good web presence
- If someone has never heard your music, which keywords would you personally use to describe your overall sound and style?
Jun!or: Spiritual, Music with a Message, Lyrical, Versatile, LOUD, Stoney, Intellectual, Bassy… If that’s a word
- Straight off the top of your head, how would you describe the current state of Hip-hop and Rap in general?
Jun!or: I think it’s in a great place. As apposed to there being a lot of marketing scheming, auto tuning, corny similes out there, there’s also a dope handful of guys out there really changing the game right now. Not only for Hip-Hop, but for music in general. Also the technology involved in recording now is insane. Music has never sounded this bomb! And it’s only advancing, I’m happy I’m around for it all.
- As you work your way through your career, which more than any other fires-up your imagination – A Grammy award, Platinum music sales or any other tangible milestone?
Jun!or: What flames me up to go and get it is festivals like “Life is Beautiful” and “Coachella” and “Paid Dues”. One day, to headline any of those with a loyal fan base present, or to sell out a world tour. I feel like the experiences from any of those surpass going platinum. But let’s sell a million though!
- What is the ONE thing you are NOT willing or prepared to do EVER, in your quest to achieve a successful musical career?
Jun!or: There’s no way in hell I’m signing a deal where I’ll be forced into losing my creative process. You know, the ones where they might have me up there in the music video doing choreography with back up dancers lol.. That’s not me.