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J. Holiday

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J. Holiday doesn’t pull any punches when he offers his take on the current state of R&B. “Rhythm and Blues is lacking storytellers right now,” insists the candid 28-year-old singer/songwriter. Holiday then pauses, name checks the late legendary singer Otis Redding as if to show his soul credentials and asks, “Where’s our generations’ ‘Sitting on the Dock of the Bay?’ Lately, it seems hip-hop has been birthing all of the great storytellers. It’s time to show that R&B is way more than just dance music. That’s what I’m trying to convey with my music. I won’t settle for less.”

While such a statement may seem like a bold proclamation from the fresh-faced newcomer, the Washington D.C. native more than backs it up with his debut album, Back of My Lac. The buzz-heavy Music Line Group/Capitol Records release spotlights a burgeoning talent whose diverse influences range from the heartfelt soul of Marvin Gaye to the provocative street poetry of rap icon Tupac Shakur. “My sound is old school soul with a little mix of hip-hop,” explains Holiday. “If I had to give it a name I would call it ‘street soul.’ Nowadays the ‘hood has little to listen to within R&B. I want my music to be the soundtrack to their lives and beyond.”

Indeed, an ambitious J. Holiday is poised to live up to such lofty aspirations. The hypnotic first-single “Be with Me,” produced by Rodney Jerkins, finds Holiday offering the age-old tale of a man wanting to be more than just friends with the object of his affections.

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