JXXIII
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JXXIII

Atlanta, Georgia, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | INDIE

Atlanta, Georgia, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2012
Solo Hip Hop Alternative

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"Michaela's Artist Spotlight: JXXIII"

VSU Senior Joycelynn Okezie goes by the stage name JXXIII (J23). What started out as poetry, developed into rap. She's been rapping for 7 years now. She wants to spread the message that we should all be ourselves, pursue happiness, find our passion, follow our hearts and live life to the fullest.

JXXIII doesn't like to generalize her music. "I usually don’t label my music simply because I don't like being marginalized or placed in a box. I see it as it’s whatever the listener interprets it to be for themselves. If I had to though I would say my style is Progressive/Alternative Hip-hop." She also works for a management company out of Atlanta called ThirtyFour Talent Agency that professionally signs and develops upcoming artists. JXXIII has aspirations of one day developing and immersing herself in the rapidly growing indie artist market and culture.

She is particularly inspired by "rags to riches" stories of other artists during their breakthrough stages. "For instance, J. Cole left his small hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina shortly after he graduated high school and moved to New York City to attend college in a city where he knew no one, all to truly pursue a career in music. He had trouble paying rent, was in over his head in debt, his mom lost their home while he was away in college and he couldn’t do anything about it, his grandma died but he still persevered through. He graduated college at the top of his class and still landed a record deal with Jay-Z of all people. That’s what inspires me." JXXIII believes this shows that anything is possible when one has determination, along with faith in their visions and dreams.

JXXIII has been working on her third and final free project titled Street Poetry Vol. 2 since October 2014. Street Poetry Vol. 2 is a continuation of Street Poetry: 0612 which she released in 2013. JXXIII has also been doing extensive work with Deep Release Poetry Society on campus, where she often performs at their open mic nights. She was also a featured artist in their annual showcase Diskreshion last November. "Shout out to Deep Release President Maya Newsome and follow @deeprelease_vsu on Twitter and Instagram. They have a lot of cool things planned for the rest of the semester."

She appreciates the support she has gotten from fellow VSU students. "The feedback and reaction to my releases/performances have been very touching and motivational. I’ve met a plethora of great people and artists here." The positivity she has received has helped in motivating and encouraging her artistry. - HerCampus.com


"ENC SPOTLIGHT | JXXIII"

The top of every year is a time where creatives around the world gather for the highest honor in music, the Grammy Awards.


It is the coveted award symbolizing the years of endurance to reach world acknowledgment most artists aspire for.


But for rising artist JXXIII (J23), there’s more to music than the one pinnacle moment and that is, telling consistently an authentic story through music.


Born and raised in Atlanta, GA, JXXIII, is a first generation Nigerian American. Coming from a Christian Home, watching secular music videos or stations like BET was forbidden.


In 2nd grade however while sneaking to watch BET, she saw 3-time Grammy Award Winner and Rapper Nelly perform his hit song Country Grammar.


And instantly, she fell in love with what she called a true freedom of expression.


By the time she reached high school, JXXIII got into poetry where she honed her craft as a lyricist.


While attending Valdosta State University, JXXIII decided to take her craft more seriously investing in music equipment to self record, mix and master her projects.


She released her first mix tape in 2012, “Virtues and Vices,” and throughout her college tenure, she released subsequent mix tapes including, “Street Poetry: 06/12,” in 2013 and “Indie Visual,” in 2014 and "Street Poetry Vol. 2," in 2015.


After graduating college with her degree in Business Marketing, JXXIII began to develop the business side of her music creating her own music label, Crown All Queens (CAQ) Records.


Vocally and lyrically adept; songs like, “On my Vegan,” “Chess,” and “Right Around,” speak to her authentic and one of a kind trajectory that sets her as a rebirth of the early 2000’s Lauryn Hill. Her style truly sets her apart from the current music pack.


With a new EP, we had the opportunity to talk with JXXIII about remaining an authentic artist, the turning points as a rising artist and how it is so important to embrace authentic possibilities.




What is the best word that describes to what led you to where you are today? And why?


Groundbreaking, because I didn’t see people around me putting out music like me.


I always aim to portray a positive message without being too edgy; therefore, maintaining authenticity is important to me.


That is one of reasons why I started my own label, CAQ Records, to direct the message and vision as a woman of color.




What are your daily spiritual practices?


I definitely meditate and I have my quiet time.

It is a reminder of who I am, why I am doing what I do and where I am going.


It is a time to talk with God.


I wouldn’t say I am an introvert, but I definitely need my space and my time to just think because as women we can take on so much and so many roles.


Sometimes we forget to put ourselves first, so I always make sure I am putting me first.


I also try to drink a lot of water and watch what I eat as well because I notice it is all about how you feel.


I have not always been this way, but it is a journey. I feel like I have had an awakening within the last few years.


I believe everyone has however, there is a shift in mental health awareness, what we are eating, our mental state and how we take care of ourselves.


Lastly, I am always reflecting and making sure I am not taking things too personal.


For me it’s best to not overthink things or try to overcompensate situations; yet, maintain my awareness and discernment in everything.




What have obstacles taught you?


Honestly looking back, I look at things I could have done differently on my path.


Nonetheless, obstacles have taught me how important it is to be true to yourself.


For me coming out of college, I did not land a job right away.


And being a child of Nigerian parents, climbing up the corporate ladder means a lot.


It took years until I landed an opportunity, but in that time developed me which in turn, developed my entrepreneurial endeavors with my music and I have met amazing people along the way.


At one point, I had to sell my mic and pawn my equipment and that crushed me.


I needed that stuff!


But after that, I took some time as a hiatus and out of that came the song, “Chess.”


My music is coming from those experiences and spaces too.


So you have to be true to yourself because they’re going to be things to test who you are and what you stand for.




What does embrace possibilities mean to you?


To me that means don’t second guess yourself and when something comes your way, give it a chance.


This new age we live in now, we have to capitalize on everything because the metrics are different.


Embracing possibilities means jumping on every opportunity you can and be receptive and open to them all.




If you could sum up your life’s purpose in three words, what would it be?


Helping Motivating and Loving.


Creating Her Own Path Along the Way

Motivating through the masses of her music, JXXIII is planning to tour in the next year as well as collaborating with more artists implementing her Nigerian roots in her music and embracing every possibility before her.


“There were times I wanted to give up being an artist.

Transitioning from being a college student to adult life as an indie artist was challenging.”


These challenges are channels everyone‘s trying to navigate.


That is the source of JXXIII’s inspiration.


“A lot of people say they look up to me and my music. They appreciate me continually pushing my music despite the ups and downs. That means a lot to me. It is part of my purpose in sharing love and helping others through my music.”


Unfortunately and wishfully, a manual isn’t given to us at birth.


Yet, we encounter brave creative souls willing to be vulnerable enough to give us reflection and a great soundtrack to our lives while we figure it out.


JXXIII is one of them.


For booking, email: j23ishere@icloud.com - ENC The Lightbulb


"Meet JXXIII"

What first got you into music?

I started off writing poetry and lyrics in notebooks while I was in high school. From there I would begin to record what I wrote and add it to beats. I loved listening to music. Growing up I would always ask for MP3 players, CD players, guitars, and pianos for gifts. I always had headphones or earphones. It got to the point where the fan of music became a creator of it. I’ve always been a creator.

• Who inspired you to make music?

I would have to say BRANDON HINES, Kanye West, and J Cole were instrumental in my developmental stages as an artist. Brandon really motivated me to be sensual and honest in my music. The way he would riff and run inspired me to be original in my music. Brandon HINES and JCole have a song together called “Dreams” which has amazing lyrics and storytelling aspects to it.

• How would you describe the music that you typically create?

If you listen to my old mixtapes and my current discography my music can be labeled as trap neo-soul 90s hip hop there is a nice blend of melodic singing and lyrical rapping.

• What is your creative process like?

I listen to a beat I like on repeat and start crafting a hook then the verses follow. Sometimes I just go to the studio without writing and just build off an idea. The process differs from the vibe I’m in and the energy around me.

• Who would you most like to collaborate with?

Ari Lennox, J Cole, 6LACK, Jhene Aiko, Brandon Hines, Eric Bellinger to name a few. I would also like to write for Bryson Tiller.

• If you could go open a show for any artist who would it be?

Probably Noname Gypsy or Rapsody because those are two successful conscious female artists with a good stage presence and fan base. I’m more of a behind the scenes artist in the vein of writing, producing, and arranging. This year before the COVID pandemic severely broke out, I had two performances and I loved it. Being on stage is great when the energy is appreciated and reciprocated.

• What is one message you would give to your fans?

I make music from the heart, an honest and true place. You’ll never hear anything less than raw expression. My goal is to keep sharing the best vibes with whoever is willing to receive, appreciate, and listen.

• Do you sing in the shower? What songs?

Yeah, I usually put on a 90s R&B playlist from Spotify lol. I’m R&B all the way.

• Where have you performed? What are your favorite and least favorite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?

I performed at the Crazy Atlanta Venue and the Omenala Griot Museum in January both of the performance is on my YouTube channel where I performed my 2019 single “On My Vegan”. My favorite venues are SOBs in NYC, Vinyl/Center Stage in Atlanta, and The Regent Theatre in Los Angeles. I don’t have any upcoming shows at the moment. I may plan a live stream performance soon.

• How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?

The internet has made music more accessible to where it has cut a lot of gatekeepers and middlemen out. With the introduction of streaming, artists and labels don’t make as much as anymore contrary to when CD sales were prevalent. Now in the digital age of Information, Artists must find new ways aside from performing and merchandising to earn consistent revenue, especially indie unsigned artists.

• What is your favorite song to perform?

“Go”, “Chess” and “American Idol Part 2” the vibes of those songs resonate well.

What’s next for you?

I’m working on a new album and putting together a small tour. - Bruhissamurder.com


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos