“Knowing when to stop, not adding too many things, knowing where the line of taste can be, and often is, is a key element in the creative process,” he says. “It takes discipline to do that.”
Whether it’s someone hardcore into the music or an actor whose secondary talent is singing, J.R. can accommodate both with the tools he’s acquired over the years as a producer.
“Artists like Dr. Dre have a lot of knowledge, and even Britney Spears knows quite a bit of the old pop songs; these people, who have big musical careers, have a good knowledge about music,” he says.
J.R. has also learned from different artists who have shown him things in the studio or turned him on to certain music—music he might’ve not known about because of his focus on jazz and classical at the time.
With J.R., music is more than just work.
“This is my passion; this is what keeps me grounded...it’s staying positive, being humble, working relentlessly, those kind of things,” he says. “Anything else that helps me move forward in my career, being able to make music and have talent, that’s a gift. That’s something I can’t even take credit for, but sending out positive energy and using it, that’s what you’re supposed to do.”
As for downtime, there’s hardly any of it, but nobody is to blame for it except J.R. because that’s how he is. At one time, he used to dream about working with the people that he works with now, so he really can’t complain.
As far as cars, J.R. can appreciate those as well.
“I definitely like cars,” he says. “Like, back in the day, when I was riding a Lexus 430GS, I was, like, ‘Wow.’ I’ve always had a passion for cars—new cars—and used to have a Cadillac CTS with Lowenharts; then I had a BMW 745, and now I have the Maserati, which is my daily driver.”
He did have one “funky” ride though, an old Pontiac sedan with velour seats he and his buddies affectionately dubbed “Smoove” because of the interior. Funky indeed. As for whom he’d like to still work with, he mentioned Jay-Z, who at the time of his last album, had a scheduling conflict, but, hey, you never know, right?
“Ludacris, who I’m a big fan of, and, aside from that, everyone else I haven’t, we’re about to get with,” he says.
What if there was no such thing as hip-hop or rap? Would his “stamp” come across in, say, the jazz scene?