Christian Rapper CJ Williams: An Artist on the Rise

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Exposed Vocals: So tell us your story. Where did you grow up? What made you decide to become an artist?
I was born and raised in Georgia...Atlanta to be exact. I grew up in a Christian home. At the age of 8, I discovered my love for music as I began to pursue drumming. I kept at it, and as a young teenager I began to drum in our church worship band. This led me into becoming more involved with Christian music. I felt the calling to start writing my own songs at the age of 15. After that, everything worked itself out. I didn't see any of this coming as I grew up, so let me just say God has a unique plan for everyone.
Exposed Vocals: Since everyone was a start-up once, can you give any smaller or local bands or artists looking to get gigs and airplay some tips?
The number one piece of advice I can give to anyone is to never give up. No matter how discouraging things get at times, don't give up. I've heard from numerous people in the industry that if you keep at it and never give up, eventually your time will come and you will be successful. Sometimes, it takes a long time though, so be patient and enjoy what you're doing.
Exposed Vocals: Do you ever make mistakes during performances? How do you handle that?
All the time! I don't think I've had a performance where I haven't messed up at least once. I critique myself a little more in depth than most though. I count a mistake as being something as small as stuttering during talking to something as big as forgetting some lyrics. I strive to get better, and I see there is always room to improve. When I make a mistake, I acknowledge it, determine how to fix it, and then move on. Nobody is perfect, except for Jesus Christ.
Exposed Vocals: Do you tour? Anything interesting happen on tour that you think our readers would enjoy hearing about?
I actually haven't toured yet. Starting my career as a mid-teen, school was still a priority, so I did my career on the side when I had the time. When I graduated from high school, I was actually asked to go on a tour, but I turned it down to go to college. I made the better decision. Plus, I didn't really miss out on anything...I graduated at the age 19. I quickly accelerated through school earning an Associate's Degree in Audio Post Production while keeping a 4.0 GPA. Since then, I've been capable of doing all of my music myself, and I've had the ability to help others as a business. I should be able to answer a tour question like this very soon though.
Exposed Vocals: Any planned studio upgrades? What are you working with now?
Any upgrades? Not at the moment. What I currently have is getting the job done just fine. As far as hardware goes, I use a Macbook Pro, a Universal Audio Apollo Twin Duo, a pair of Yamaha HS8 Monitors, a Gauge ECM-87 mic, and a standard MIDI keyboard. As for software, I use Ableton Live for all MIDI-based production and for live shows, and I use Pro Tools for all recording and mixing.
Exposed Vocals: How do you find ways to promote your music? What works best for you?
Social media is your best friend in this day and age. You can do a lot of self promotion very successfully, and there are several deals for advertising out there that aren't too expensive as well. Currently for me, Twitter is my main form of promotion since I have the largest following on there. I also get a decent amount of traffic to my website everyday.
Exposed Vocals: If you could perform anywhere and with any artists (Dead or Alive) where and who would it be with? Why?
The anywhere part of the question isn't that important to me. Now if I could perform with anyone, I would pick tobyMac and Trip Lee. The two of them are my greatest influences when it comes to doing Christian music.
Exposed Vocals: So, what’s next? Any new upcoming projects that you want to talk about?
I've got a lot up in the air right now. I'm currently networking with some really amazing people who want to help me with my career. I'm talking with someone about management. I was invited to go on a tour this summer...there's potential that I may choose to go. And I'm working on my next project as well. I have some big people collaborating with me in songwriting on this upcoming release...really excited.
Exposed Vocals: If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?
That's a tough question, because if I wasn't an artist I'd still be doing work in the music/audio industry. I guess I'd be making music for other people and doing audio work (mixing, mastering, post production, etc.) as well.
Exposed Vocals: What should fans look forward to in the next year or so?
I guess I'd just say growth. I feel like this next year or so is going to be important in my growth as an artist. I'm really excited to see what God has in store.
Exposed Vocals: Any Shout-outs?
My first shout-out goes to God. Without Him, none of this would be happening or even possible. I thank Him for how blessed I am. Second, I'd like to thank my mom, dad, and brother for sticking by me in full support of what I'm pursuing. They've been a blessing and I love them. Third, I'd like to thank an individual, Mr. Fred. He's a great Godly man who I'm blessed to call a friend and have helping me in my career. Fourth, I'd like to thank my closest friends for all the support and love you've given me. Beau, Sean, and Jacob, thank you. And last but not least, I'd like to thank all of my fans. Your love and support is tremendous.