CJ Run, a UK raised sophomore at UIUC, juggles schoolwork while keeping up with their musical career.
CJ Run’s latest release is Listen to the Kids. Previously, CJ Run released How To Be Wavy And Alienate People in the Summer of 2015.
Did you always know you wanted to be a musical artist?
When I was 13 I watched this documentary on BET. It was talking about women and hip-hop and how there was a lot of women and then there was a decline. I remember the end of the [film] – it was like, “maybe there’s someone out there watching who will pick up the gauntlet and be that woman in hip/hop,” and I was like maybe that could be me. I’d always admired musicians but I never had a drive to do it myself until I saw that documentary.
How would you describe your style of music?
I don’t know. I’ve been influenced by so many different genres of music. My favorite band is arctic monkeys. I grew up listening to R&B, Soul, and Gospel. I really love world music like Bollywood and Latin music – I really appreciate it. I feel like my music is just a combination of everything I was influenced by. At the core of everything, is maybe R&B and Hip-Hop, but I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a Hip-Hop artist, it’s just a mixture of all the genres and people I grew up around.
Do you have any particular artist that influenced you the most?
I think they all have a part. I would say that two of my favorite artists are Arctic Monkeys and Lily Allen and I’m influenced by their songwriting style. They have a lot of storytelling and there’s a lot of depth and sometimes it can be shallow. I think they influence how I write in particular, but as far as everything else, everything has an equal amount in say in how my music works.
What was it like performing at Canopy Club?
Canopy was great. I sold about 50 tickets on my own, so it was nice when I got on stage. Most of the crowd were the people I sold tickets to. It’s gotten to a point where everyone knows my songs to an extent, so certain ad libs I don’t have to tell the crowd how to do it, they know how. I see people in the crowd singing my songs along with me and that feeling is just ridiculous – I don’t know how to handle it sometimes.
Is there any particular song you love performing live?
I love doing “R.A.C.E.” live because there’s certain pauses and I can get the crowd really involved. I also like “RIP”, I love performing it live because a lot of people know the words and it’s real catchy and it’s fun. I love getting the crowd hyped with “RIP”, it’s a good time.
Currently, CJ Run is working on two projects at the moment and plans to release their EP ForgetMeNot sometime soon this December/January. CJ Run also created a playlist with all of their essentials, including crowd favorites.