A Chat With The Established Model Turning Heads In Music – JNR CHOI!
6 Nov 2020
Best known for his work within the modelling realm, JNR CHOI has more recently started to build a name for himself within the music industry. Entering the new decade in full force, the rising rapper has dropped off a string of notable singles that have collectively gained just under 200,000 views on YouTube alone. Although the London native is still new to the game, he has already proved his versatility with previous drops including his 2018 drop named ‘Moves’, to his joint EP with Mitchy Iris in 2019 titled, ‘6 Days In Stockholm’. Having experimented with his new-found and thrilling sound, JNR CHOI merges many genre-defining boundaries into one, to create his own authentic and unique print. Following up from his recent release of ‘PHILIPPINES/EXCITED’ we caught up with the ascending rapper and asked him a few questions!
How have you been?! How have you been finding lockdown?!
Good! Just been chilled and working. I moved out over lockdown so I have been working on making the home more homey! *laughs*
I believe you grew up in London, is that right?
Yeah! I grew up in South-East London in Thamesmead, then I moved to Essex.
Oh okay! So, you have been around quite a bit then!
Yeah, I guess you could say that!
Well, it’s only two places *laughs* – I mean steady on *laughs*
Tell us a bit more about how you were introduced to music? Because you do modelling as well right?
I have been modelling for around 4 years, I got into music quite randomly! A friend of mine always used to come around my house and freestyle or what not. I was on FaceTime to one girl and she said you should be a rapper; you look like a rapper! *laughs* So I made a song, shot the video and got it out like a month later! So I was like yeah, this is cool, I made another song called ‘Moves’ in my own time, and after that process I thought this is quite enjoyable so continued from there and made it into a passion over time.
We have heard a little bit of your sound, but not too its fullest capacity. Could you describe your sound in 3 words?
In three words, hmm! Melodic, which is yet to come! This is hard, I want to say corny stuff like ‘striking’ but I can’t *laughs* Very versatile and very distinctive! With the stuff I’ve got coming, when you hear it, you will know it’s me!
Listening to your music, you are very versatile, and it is hard to box you into one sound because you spread yourself across various boundaries. What artists or albums were you listening to that influenced or helped shape your sound?
SAINt JHN, Russ (U.S) and a lot of Young Thug and Future!
So, you started dropping music in 2018, you’ve dropped here and there but this year you’ve come in full force! All guns blazing, you have entered the room!
*laughs* I love that!
What and when was point in which you decided, do you know what, I want to take this to the next level?
So, after ‘Moves’ pretty much! I released ‘Moves’ and a week after I performed it at my local club, I was opening for B Young which was lit. That was the point where I thought this is sick because it’s just a vibe and completely different, people singing back to your new song – it was mad! From there, I was like cool let’s take this seriously and started to plan from around that because I had to decide what kind of artist I wanted to be and what music I wanted to make. That’s why you can’t put me in a box at the moment because I plan on making everything! *laughs* I started off with R&B then I dropped a 4 song tape which has a mixture of Rap, melodic singing stuff – it was a mixture of what was going to come in the future.
At the beginning of this year, I released ‘Belvedere’ and ‘Stunna’ which was an introduction to me rapping, to quickly turn heads and think hold on he’s making music – it was fun! The last release, ‘Philippines’ that was when I was like right ok, this is my sound and everything I make from now on will be around that sound, and that’s what I have been doing for the last year and a half. I have a lot of stuff in the bank from all different genres! From R&B, Afro-beats and Trap songs!
You kicked off the year with ‘Belvedere’, which I read was inspired by the night life during fashion week? This was your debut visual as well right, what was it about this track in particular that led you to want to bring visuals in with it? Because like I said, you’ve really turned it up a gear this year!
Yeah! That song, by the time it came to release it I hated it but the feeling it gave me and other people in the room when we made it, I thought this has to come out because it’s the beginning of how it happened – it tells it’s own story. The reason why I wanted to put visuals with it is because they would have been the easiest ones to shoot! *laughs* We just went to Milan and shot what we were doing, it reflected everything that I had originally gone for with the whole night life thing.
It was very lit! I was very jealous watching it now we’re sat in lockdown!
*laughs* I was literally like oh no, this is the worst time because everyone wants to be in the club!
Init! Everyone’s sad now you’ve made us even more sad! *laughs*
Yeah!*laughs* It’s like ‘look what I was up to!’ *laughs*
So you just mentioned that you liked the vibe it created when everyone else was in the room when you were making it. What’s your creative process?
I have a studio in my house now, so whenever I feel like it, I just go in there and lay it all out. Last night for example, I played a beat and ran over to the other side of the room and started recording all night. My process is just playing the beat, hearing it out and then laying a load of melodies down and from there I can sit down, write and tap into myself. If I’m the studio with someone else, I’ll grow to understand how they work and then the same thing, lay down all the melodies down and the song is done!
Then you followed through with the ‘Stunna’ like you said, I watched the visuals last night –
Oh yeah? How did you find them? *laughs*
Well, I was going to say random! But then I read the description and it said that they were spontaneously filmed? Hahah, tell us how that came about?
It was so random! I was out on a shoot in Morocco and that was the set-up team that I had just met that day. I had a free day the next day and we all wanted to go out and celebrate the shoot from that day, there was an older and younger group of people but I went along with these guys back to their place. We were going to get ready and then go out, we started pre-drinking, they got drunk and someone said ‘Yo, we have a camera! Do you want to shoot a video?’ and I was like ‘Yeah, I’ve got a song!’, so we agreed to do it in one take, with no direction and we completely improvised and did it! Within 8 minutes it was already on the screen, it was mad!
I was watching it and thinking, are they random people or does he know them?!
*laughs* Yeah, I had literally just met them!
More recently, you dropped the ‘Philippines/Excited’ visuals, the visuals are sick, and the beat change in between was mad!
Do you like that?
I recorded the first song in 2018 and the second song in November but they worked so well together so I knew they had to be next to each other!
So listening to that song, I can’t help but think you live the most Rockstar lifestyle ever?! Do you draw from your own experience lyrically? Or are you just having fun with it?
Yeah, I just draw from my own experiences! There are endless ones so until I rinse all of them, that’s all we have! *laughs*
At the moment, we have minimal collaborations! Is there anyone that you have always wanted to collaborate with overseas or in the UK?
Not really! I really just collaborate with people who I really enjoy making music with. I have quite a few songs already with Suave, Peter Xan, we have a crazy song together! There are quite a few songs from the UK and the US that I’ve got songs with, I see them more as talent rather than wanting to work with them for so and so. I would love to work with J Hus, I’d love to be in a session with him he’s very talented!
So, you have dropped quite a few singles this year, does this mean that there is a project of some sort coming?
Potentially! I’ve got a couple projects ready, it’s just timing and I’m quite enjoying releasing new singles!
You get views as well! You don’t lack with them!
Oh, thankyou! *laughs* I don’t tend to look at that too much, I just like to tell the story one by one – but thankyou!
I mean from the outside looking in, you really do look like “that guy!” *laughs*
*laughs* I’m changing my name on the gram to “that guy” – that’s so funny!
What else can we expect to see from you this coming year?
A lot of great songs! Quality over quantity, but quality and quantity! *laughs* It’s going to be fun!
Keep up to date with all things JNR CHOI via his Instagram here.