Singer & Songwriter
Raised in a small town just an hour away from Boston, J LEE (also known as Jude Rilee) grew up gravitating to music, mesmerized by the poetry and cradled by the sound.
Weaving tasteful poetry and intricate rhymes into a catchy strain of pop-oriented hiphop, J LEE just hit the ground running with a debut single entitled, “Dreamer”.
"Stay true, Stay you"
When did you start to get interested in music?
Honestly, I believe the interest was always present it was more so the belief in myself that I really struggled with. Ever since a young kid I’ve always had an interest in poetry and would begin filling notebooks with thoughts, ideas and rhymes. These words slowly transformed into songs that I certainly never felt confident about. It wasn’t until the past couple years where I really began to believe that the endless lyrics I had been creating finally deserved to be heard.
If you were an advertisement, which would your slogan be?
“Stay true, stay you.”
Which is the part you enjoy the most about music?
Art for me, like most other artist, is an escape. It’s a safe place. When I’m confused about an encounter, excited about a defeat or sad about a struggle, I can turn to an empty page and process just about any emotion. I enjoy being able to tap out and tap in, so to speak. Blur the noises around me and just focus on how I feel. I’m grateful for the ability to release.
Most artists say that through their art they learn more about themselves, heal injuries… In which aspects has music helped you?
As I just stated, it is my safe place. Having somewhere to go and allow yourself to heal is important. It’s through these moments of healing that we do learn about ourselves. Music has helped me discover who I am and accept all the different parts of me as a whole. Far too often we’re told to choose a box that we fit most comfortably in, but the truth is making a final decision has only brought stress and anxiety into my life. I believe I can fit into very few boxes; however I can belong to endless.
What does music mean to you?
It means everything. It’s a chance to explain myself, too open up and say things to loved ones that I may have always avoided. It allows me to reminisce on past experiences, and to share my future dreams and desires with the world. It means absolutely everything to me.
Who are your idols?
In short response reflecting on present day playlists, NF and Lukas Graham. But if we were to rewind and dig deep into my past, the amount of artists and variety of genres that I was exposed to is endless. I listened to a lot of Queen, Billy Joel and Run DMC.
I remember the first time I heard Will Smith’s ‘Just the Two of Us’ and I immediately dreamt of the day I could write such pristine poetry. His message was clear and filled with passion. That was around the same time I was introduced to Eminem and I was blown away with what he could do with words. There is no one individual who has inspired me; my inspiration comes from numerous melodies and talented voices.
If you didn’t like music, what would you like to do?
Quite frankly, part of being an artist is constantly battling self criticism and fear of failing your audience. There is art that I create that I don’t like, but that doesn’t mean I should stop. I’m only just getting started.
I may write nonstop for an hour, and out of the hundreds of words I choose, there might only be one line that I’m actually happy with. And with that one line, I may be brought down an entirely different path then the one I had intended on traveling when I began. That’s all part of the process. There’s nothing else I’d rather be doing then chasing dreams in spite of the doubts.
Do you consider that nowadays there are more or less opportunities for new artists? Why?
Definitely both. I’d say more opportunities, in a sense of what is available at our finger tips. These days we have laptops with production software that provide electronic instruments and the ability to mix and master without a studio space. I can google local artists and schedule to meet with someone who shares similar visions. From there I can use social media as platforms to advertise myself and my work, influencing my followers to share posts in order to reach larger crowds.
It’s almost too easy to be heard. That being said, I could also say fewer opportunities when we discuss compensation. There was a time when you needed to purchase records in order to hear new tracks from your favorite artists, now you can simply download, making it harder for artists to make a living off their work.
What would your idyllic life as an artist be like?
Van life. If I could live on the road, waking up to beautiful views of National Parks and engaging in conversations with strangers along the way. That’d be ideal.
I’d love to get lost in a forest with a notepad and a pen, or watch the sunset on a beach with a guitar in my hand. Spending my days writing with a camera around my neck, that’s the dream.
Which are your upcoming projects?
So far I have only put out one song, which was mostly created in order to get my artist page up on Spotify.
I have my first big single ‘Alone,’ scheduled for release on November 15th, and from there I’d like to complete a 5 track EP by summer of 2022. Though I won’t be stopping there, I’ve got lots of things in mind, so stay tuned!
Do you want to know more about J LEE? You can find some projects below.