The A&R Repor caught up with the Jackie Boyz a little while ago discussing their recent work and current projects. Jackie Boyz are artists, producers, songwriters, multi-platinum and Grammy Award winning brothers consisting of Los and Steven. They have worked with many artists including Sean Kingston, Madonna, David Guetta, and Justin Bieber just to name a few. We got a chance to catch up with Los from Jackie Boyz and we talked music and business. Check out what he had to say below:
Can you tell us the origin of the Jackie Boyz?
We actually started out in Savannah, Georgia, which we started as street performers, getting on our mom’s nerves from singing in the house too much. We took it from there to come out here to LA and follow our dreams after our parents passed away. That’s why the name, Jackie Boyz, is so endearing to us, it’s our mother’s name; her name was Jackie. That’s how we got started making money on the streets by singing; it was in our voices and believing in ourselves to come out here.
That’s truly inspiring man, so ever since the tragedy, you two have been out here in LA? What’s the difference between the Atlanta and LA music scene?
Yea, it’s been about 10 years, there’s a lot of differences. You see with the South, especially in Savannah, it’s a deep-rooted hip-hop, R&B sound, some pop; but mainly Hip-Hop, R&B, and Country. In LA there is everything like when I first came here like 10 years ago, I was hearing music in different languages and I was like, ”Wow what’s that!”. I never heard anything in a different language besides English, until I came over here. So it was quite eye opening for me, to be able to go where there’s different type of music all in one, to where me and my brother started writing in Spanish, it’s such a growth for us and a change from when we were kids.
Why did you guys decided to come to LA instead of staying in Atlanta?
It’s crazy and we did ask ourselves that when we got here, but then again when we came here the music scene wasn’t as big as it was in Atlanta. It was the time of crunk music, you remember right? When we would be singing on the pier they would always ask why weren’t we in Atlanta. Well the reason for the move out to LA was because our friend was putting a group together, we did it for a while but it didn’t work out after all. It was a great experience and it lead us to our path to stay here and not go back home.
Interesting. How did you guys get into writing in Spanish?
It took a lot of time and don’t get me wrong I’m not great at it. I remember spending some time in Miami and some of our friends; artists and songwriters who are bilingual really helped us out on these records and we learned the Spanish language from them. Just recently we and two of our friends, Julca Brothers, from Miami, we did the Spanish version of Jason Derulo’s Talk Dirty; So for us to do something like that is mind-blowing back as a kid all I knew about is R&B music it’s crazy.
How did this record happen?
It’s a crazy story. We were leaving rehearsal with our band because we had a show and we went to a pizza spot in North Hollywood. I saw a gentleman that looked familiar, his name was, Jeff Fenster, he worked for Jive Records. I walk up to him and we talked, exchanged info. The next day we got a call from his assistant saying, “Hey I got your number from Jeff and he wants you do to the Spanish version of Jason Derulo’s Talk Dirty”. I was thinking to myself, “How does he know we know that we did anything in Spanish?” So I called up my boys, the Julca Brothers and we went to the studio. I sang the song in Spanish in like a hour and a half and my brother wrote most of the translation. I layed down the track and two days later Jason Derulo comes two days later and sung it. We vocal produced him and the record came out a month later. It’s crazy!
What was your first record in Spanish?
It was for Peewee’s, “Make the Lights Go”, it’s a Spanglish song. We did JenCarlos’ ,”One Night” that’s a cool one. We loved it, we loved the sound, we loved the environment, and we love everything about. It translated into many things, we are doing Country music now and a little bit of folk, there’s no limitations.
So you have written Spanish music, is there any artist you would like to work with?
We got a chance to work with one of our favorite artist, Paulina Rubio. We have written a record for her that will be coming out this year called, “1,2,3,4”. It’s a Spanglish type record we did with our boys the Julca Brothers; they are amazing, talented artists and songwriters.
That’s dope man you’re the first songwriter that I know that has stepped out of English music world to do a different. Would you guys ever try another language?
We’re open to everything, sky’s the limit for me and my brother. We realized from singing in that room as kids to stepping out of Savannah, Georgia and it might sound cliché, but anything is possible we knocked down doors and barriers since we could sing. Who knows 10 years from now I could be doing something even crazier.
What moment in your life did you decide you wanted to do music?
It was when I did an audition for a lead role and I got the role. I came home and I remembering telling my mom that I could sing and she was like,” What you talking about? I don’t know we’ll see, we’ll see” she was a bit skeptical because it was random. Fast forward a month later, we’re at this school convention and there’s about thousand of people. My first time singing was in front of thousands of people and my mom was sitting in the audience. My mom told me after my performance that it was amazing. The feeling I got when I was on stage was magical and beautiful. Music is my passion, when something is your passion it allows you to dream about it, think about it, wake up about it, you know everything you do is reflected on that passion. You tell yourself you are going to quit and you come back to it. It can either be a good girlfriend or bad girlfriend depending on how you treat it but the time and energy you put into it is what pays off the most.
So how did your Universal Music Publishing deal come about?
When I did the deal with Universal back in 2009, me and my brother didn’t want to do the deal together. So we decided that he will take the deal to see where it goes and if it looks good I would join too. That was the smartest decision we made as businessmen because when you do a deal you don’t know what’s going to benefit and what’s not. Ownership of publishing in this business is the most important of this business. In 2009 we had the Flo-rida record, “Sugar”, it was #4 on Hot 100 sold over two million, it was great time for us. Universal and few other publishers were pursuing us. At that time we had the conversation where we decided that it wouldn’t be both of us, but one of us and Universal agreed to it. It’s been great and we’ve been with them for 5 years now.
Congratulations on that record and I must also add the Grammy nominations and award. How did it feel winning a Grammy?
I’m still taking back by it because we didn’t go to the Grammy’s that year, we didn’t think we were going to win. We actually heard the winners over the radio and I was swerving. I almost crashed the car. My brother was like “dude, focus we got to live to tell the story.” It was one of those validated moments. I think every writer, producer, or artist wants to be validated for the work that they do and some people wait years to get to that point. When you get a Grammy for something, they can’t take that away from you, they can’t say you’re not good enough, that’s a deserving moment that can’t be taken away.
What would the Jackie Boyz consider themselves? Writers, artists, producers? What does that mean to you?
We are everything; we are writers, artists, producers, we’re concept creators. We just created our first live concert, we started last year and called it, ”Jackie Boyz and Friends”, where every other month we do a showcase for new and upcoming talent, existing talent. Last show we had was on Grammy Week. The Hollywood Reporter nominated it as one of the hottest places to be for Grammy weekend. Now we’re being funded to start our own concerts. When you say I am not just this, then how much can you actually be? Cause when you label things and I don’t like labeling things, people can typecast you. Why not be everything you want to be, you know? It changes every time anyways, so why not be little of this and that, be yourself. Me and my brother took that motto of just being ourselves. We’re in control, we write the songs we want, we do the songs you want., we put out the songs that we want. That’s very important for person who has vision. There’s a bigger reward when you do it that way. When we were performing on the streets we were businessmen in a different arena. It’s the same business model, just different arena. Its good to make and create stuff you want to make.
I would like to add on to your resume that you guys are also businessmen. How’s your publishing company going?
We are actually looking to partner up with a bigger publishing company. We’re signing songwriters and producers everyday coming into fold. We’re helping them out with their careers and make the right decisions. Putting our expertise to work and building a solid catalogue for all writers and producers.
Who is your inspiration and influences?
I can always go to the greats of music like Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Babyface and honestly our mom our biggest inspiration and idol because her strength was so powerful. To be a single mother raising three 3 boys and doing everything she needed to do, while supporting our dreams it said so much. She’s probably the biggest and most precious inspiration.
Who would you like to collaborate with?
I would have to say Pharrell. He is a great producer, performer, artist, musician, just a great everything. I really appreciate and admire for what he’s done in the industry. He’s someone I can say me and my brother model ourselves after him.
Have you tried reaching out him?
No, but eventually we will and I had a great meeting with Sony so hopefully it will happen.
What can we expect with this album you’re working on? What’s the concept or theme of it? What’s the name of the album? Any features?
Its time we dive into our music and what we want to say. It’s about our journey, our story to get to this point; there’s love, sex, passion, hate, but that’s life. It’s untitled still, going to listen back to all the tracks and see from there. We’re thinking about a summer release and if not by the end of the year. It’s a secret and you will hear when the album drops.
What other projects you guys working on besides your album?
We are working with Carrie Underwood, Jake Miller, something with Usher. Also working with some rock bands and doing a little of everything, all over the place.
What’s the toughest verse/ song you have ever wrote?
I would have to say, ”Proud Me”, which will be featured on our album. It’s a song I wrote for my mom because she passed away and it was emotional. I didn’t know how I was going to get through it. The record came out beautiful, to know that people cry when they hear it; it’s a good feeling, but it makes them see what me and my brother are feeling. We wrote it in a place wondering if she’s really proud of us from wherever she is.
Any advice for our readers, upcoming artists, musicians and all?
The industry were in is a full circle like the people you meet one time you will meet again at another time. Don’t get discouraged when you get the “no” the first time cause there will be another time you meet them again and it will probably be better the second time. So everything comes full circle. Always know where you are is not where you will be. Everyday we live, we evolve, your music will evolve, your relationships will evolve, your connections will evolve, who you are as a person will evolve. Accept that and don’t beat yourself up.
Is there anyway our readers can connect with you?
Yes connect with us on www. Jackieboyz.com.