Bio: It’s that certain indescribable feeling that overcomes you when hearing her passionate but playful gospel-tinged alto resonating over brassy hip hop production. Full of fun, laughter, life, joy and pain, her harboring harmonies celebrate empowerment for the ladies; her dangerous curves and milk chocolate complexion arouse cravings in the men; and her late night, party vibe ensures a good time to be had by all!
Her name is J.Pride, and since last summer, this seductive R&B sex kitten has been building a strong grassroots fan base with her sassy runaway single and sultry music video “You Already Know.” Brash, bold and bursting with bravado, she croons with confidence over stimulating, club-ready production. And that’s just a bit of foreplay before she completely penetrates urban music with her tentatively titled mixtape Dear J set to be released later this year.
“I’m just giving the people me. I’m my own person and I can’t really compare myself to anybody else,” she explains. “I sing about my life—the love life, the relationships, the party life, my confidence, all kinds of crazy stuff. You never know what to expect from me.”
Born Jennifer Pride in Detroit, she moved with her family to Mississippi when she was 11 and was raised between the Magnolia State and Chicago. She fell in love with music through the recordings of R&B/soul greats Marvin Gaye, the Commodores, Whitney Houston and New Edition. As a kid growing up, music was a constant in the home. Her father was a music aficionado and would frequently throw parties where anybody who could hold a tune was invited to grab the karaoke microphone.
“I knew I wanted to sing at a real young age,” J.Pride admits. “My family is very talented with music, so I guess I got it naturally.”
Young Jennifer got her start performing in front of crowds at Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Pearl, Miss., some 10 minutes away from the state capitol Jackson. On any given Sunday, this little girl with the big voice could be heard sending praises up above with soul-stirring inspiration.
“I got a standing ovation every Sunday,” she recalls.
Those gospel roots and at-home karaoke sessions gave Jennifer the initial platform to perform, but the emotions felt from growing up listening to 90s R&B tapped into her very being. A fire was sparked inside of her to sing professionally at 13 when she entered a competition at Jackson’s version of Showtime at the Apollo. Performing a rousing rendition Sam Salters’ sensual love ballad “After 12, Before 6,” she brought down the house.
“I didn’t win but it was all good because I’m not a sore loser,” she says. “I just knew if I kept doing my music, it would get better.”
And that, she did. In 2008, she released her racy debut single “Aquafina Flow.” Boasting on the moisture dripping from her female persuasiveness, J.Pride shook up regional radio with her provocative, innovative new sound.
After the single’s success, however, she took a hiatus from the spotlight to focus more on the business and financial aspect of her career. She became a professional “loctician” (hairdresser who specializes in dreadlocks) to fund her music.
“I didn’t want to depend on nobody else,” she explains. “I decided that if I was going to do music, I wanted to finance my own career. I got on my feet and I’m back on top.”
The result is a musical frenzy set off by her flirtatious club single and captivating music video “You Already Know.” And when she climaxes with the tentatively titled mixtape Dear J later this year, the world will be screaming the name J.Pride!
“My music is not your average R&B/hip hop music because it comes from my life, and nobody has lived this life but me,” she contends. “People hear my music and ask me who am I talking about because it’s just so real. The music comes from personal experiences. When you hear my music, you hear me, my life; it’s sexy but classy.”