J.J. Green aims to touch hearts on his new EP, 'Heartbroken Somewhere'

FLINT, Michigan —  Meet J.J. Green, a native of Flint now living in Los Angeles, CA. An experienced actor, filmmaker, and artist with over 10 years of industry credit, he has played characters in television series such as 'Greenleaf' aired on OWN, and critically-acclaimed films like the Sundance Film Festival winner, 'I Don’t Feel at Home In This World Anymore.' 

While continuing his acting career, Green went back to his musical roots, crafting an impressive new EP, Heartbroken Somewhere.

The project is a collaborative effort between him and fellow Flint natives Kevin Mays and Kelly KinKaid, the Supervising Producer of Sway in the Morning. KinKaid booked Green on the show in November of last year where he talked about the EP and gave a live freestyle performance.

Flintside caught up with Green to learn more about his passion for music, his views on the music scene in Flint, the process of creating Heartbroken Somewhere, and his perspective on love and heartbreak.

Flintside: You have so much creative structure and have still found a way to explore different art mediums. What prompted the shift from acting to music?

J.J. Green: "There was no shift, music has always been my first love. Publicly, acting has just been more visible. I decided to take a small hiatus from pursuing acting to work on the EP. The only way I know how to do music is in story form. I believe every medium is a tool to tell a story and that’s what I do best. So, I would say this transition has been happening over the last five years or so. I’m always creating."

Flintside: Who are a few of your musical influences?

J.J. Green: "Tupac is and has always been my favorite artist. I grew up listening to artists like Scarface, Ghetto Boys, and Master P. My dad used to have the 15s in the trunk, rattlin'. It was crazy. My dad was also a popular rapper in Flint in the 80s so he influenced me for sure. Honestly, my music catalog has a lot of old-school R&B. I love Anita Baker and Stevie Wonder. Rappers specifically, I gotta show love to Royce Da 5 '9, and Busta Rhymes. The first album I ever bought with my own money was Busta's album, Genesis. Obviously, Wayne was/is the greatest rapper of my era."
Flintside: Tell me a little about the production for Heartbroken Somewhere and the inspiration behind it.

J.J. Green: "For this project, I worked with two people regularly: my guy Pendrick whose from Flint, and my guy Thurdi. As far as producers, my guy Chase who sent me stems for free. He showed me love. I worked with my guy ProducedbyPosta and my guy Vitals who's a monster on production to be so young. They pushed me to lock in on studio time and execute. I guess I wouldn’t say that Heartbroken Somewhere is influenced by anyone or anything, though. It is its own inspiration."

The cover of 'Heartbroken Somewhere.'Flintside: How has the curation and release of Heartbroken Somewhere shifted your perspective on love and heartbreak?

J.J. Green: "Heartbroken Somewhere is really a testament to life and our everyday struggles. We experience love and heartbreak in many areas of our lives, not just romantically, so I try to keep that sentiment in mind."

Flintside: Flint is experiencing a cultural renaissance that’s growing and reaching people all over the world right now. What are your views on the current local music scene? Do you feel connected to the shift happening here?

J.J. Green: "I think it’s awesome, actually. I think Flint’s greatest export is the people. In all sizes, shapes, and forms. We’re award-winning authors, writers, artists, musicians, and professional athletes. For our ‘per-capita’ to be what it is, the amount of people that succeed from Flint is crazy — it’s outstanding. I think there are a lot of positive things going on in the city. I’ve always felt connected to the crib. I wouldn’t be who I am without it. I’d like to think I’m one amongst the many individuals building an infrastructure for artists from or in Flint to be able to present their craft."

Flintside: What are some of your plans for 2023?

J.J. Green: "I’m excited for the year! We’re pushing the EP every way we can but we also have some dope things that we’re bringing to the city for 2023. Stay tuned."

Find more on J.J. Green on Instagram, and stream 'Heartbroken Somewhere' by clicking here.
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Read more articles by Jarielle Tasha Nettles.