Songwriter Spotlight: J.Legras

J. Legras

Joseph B. LeGras Jr , known professionally as J.LeGras, is an American singer-songwriter and record producer . Born and raised in a small town of Alexandria, Louisiana, but moved to Warner Robins, Ga after Hurricane Katrina. LeGras began making and performing music at a very young age and performed in various musical venues in his hometown and also traveled with various national choirs . He graduated from high school at 17 and enlisted into the United States Army, so they he could pay for school, while also trying to do music. In the army, he served 6 years and received the rank of Sergeant, all while going to school and earning his associates degree and bachelor’s degrees in Information Technology. In August 2016, he decided not to re-enlist so he can pursue music while also working in the Information Technology Field.


Q: You just release an EP!  I took a listen and I have to say you have an amazing falsetto. Where did you learn to sing like that?

A: Well I started off singing in church of course … but I started singing at 2-3 years old so I guess that’s where everything started. Then my mom got me heavily into boys choirs and things like that. I’m from Louisiana and I went to elementary and middle school in Baton Rouge and I was a part of the East Baton Rouge Boys Choir. So that’s where I learned my range. I’ve just kind of been singing my whole life. I literally never stop singing. I get on my wife’s nerves all the time…  I just bust out in song every time we are watching a movie or TV show. I just love singing. Probably around middle school is when I started writing and I’ve been writing ever since. I mean I love singing and being an artist is great but my main passion is songwriting. I love being an artist because no one can tell you what to do, it’s your creativity.

 

Q: You started writing in middle school which is quite young. What was it that brought you songwriting?

A: When I found out that Michael Jackson, R. Kelly, Freddie Mercury and Prince all wrote their own songs, I thought ok I could write my own songs. I started of with small, little rhymes and then I started learning song structures. Studying different genres and different music and learning that most songs based on the tempo are all the same no matter the genre. It’s the music behind it that makes it the genre. It’s crazy how that works. I intentionally wrote a country song for a female artist and then it didn’t go through so I put it to a hip-hop beat and it turned into R&B. When I found that out, it made me so happy. I just started writing more and more and more.

 

Q: What kind of themes do you like to address in your songs?

A: I’m a lover so that’s the main thing. I like to tell stories about love, relationships, motivation. I just like telling stories about anything relatable.

 

Q: So is there an event or a person that inspired you to write your EP The Cycle?

A: Some of it is based on my marriage. Some of it’s based on past. Some of it is based on stories other people tell me about their relationships. “Over You” I actually wrote in high school but I wrote it without a beat and it was just a whole different song. But I can get inspired by anything. I can sit here and listen to a pen tap and then just start singing something. That’s just what I love to do.

 

Q: You mentioned writing without a beat, so do you start with lyrics first? Could you take me through your process?

A: I like to create around what I have. I create a vibe without having any instruments and then have producers. And I help produce a lot of my music. I will tell them what I want. Like oh, put the drum here or I want the piano there. I like creating from the ground up. I will have a vibe or a melody first and then the production behind it. That is usually my process. I like writing without music because it’s so easy to write with music. That’s why l like writing without. I love the challenge. I love what I can create out of thin air.

 

Q: Being someone who is so easily inspired, do you ever suffer from writer’s block?

A: Every once in a while I get frustrated, not discouraged, but sometimes demotivated. I think, “I just wrote a song about this. It’s kind of the same song.” I think I can be hard on myself sometimes. Now that I have opened up about not being an artist as much and more of a songwriter, I can split things up. Like this is artist me. And then, as a songwriter, I can write multiple songs with similar themes and just give it to different artists. So that is pretty cool because I have so many songs. And sometimes the song is not for me. I will even write in a girls voice. This is not for me but this is a great song. I love the songwriter side of it.

 

Q: Do you have any advice for someone struggling with inspiration from a songwriter perspective?

A: I would say get out and get inspired. Go to live shows. Stop listening to today’s music and go for a more classic record. It can help you get out of that writers block. Anything from the 70s, 80s and just listed to all the live instruments. It’s like you retrain your ear almost and makes you feel different things, which just makes you want to write more. And jazz really helps me as well.

 

Q: Is there anything else you want to add?

A: I just love the Mdiio platform. I love what you guys are doing. I think this past weekend you put up a bunch of projects so I’m about to hop on that and start creating again. Holiday time is family time but now it is time to get back in the studio, writing and producing so I’m excited.

 

Q: Well we are happy to have you as part of it and we can’t wait to see what kind of placements you get!