He is a Top 100 Billboard Charting Producer. He is a three-time Grammy award winner. He has worked with many musical artists such as Fetty Wap, 6lack, Justin Bieber, T-Pain, Arrested Development, and many more. He is the astronomically talented and multifaceted singer, songwriter, and record producer James Worthy.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Worthy to discuss his profound love for his craft, the success that he has built up throughout his career, how his upbringing influenced his music taste, and the creation of his new single "Goldmine" featuring R&B singer J. Holiday.
"For those may be unfamiliar, how would you describe your artistry?"
Worthy: "I'm more so of a worldly artist. So my main focus isn't to only cater to my audience, which is more so of the R&B audience, but to infuse many other genres of music in a creative way. I take more of a sonic approach when I'm writing music, so I never want to recreate or piggyback off of what's already been done or what's popular. I try to make my own lane so to speak, I never follow behind anybody. That's what sets me apart from everybody and I guess that's been used to my advantage, ya know?"
"What influences did you have that strengthened your passion for music?"
Worthy: "Well I'm from New York, so that right there just kinda gave me a cheat code in a way because if you're from New York, you get exposed to a lot of different genres of music off the rip. So, that kinda gave me the inspiration behind it. But I didn't get into actually doing music until the age of 10 or 11. Around that time, I was really studying musicians, producers, and songwriters. I was reading song credits and going to the record store every weekend to find what I really liked in music, which at the time I liked Hip Hop, R&B, Soul, Funk, just a lot of rhythmic music. That sorta started the whole thing of me wanting to be in music, but once I got into it, it was just a lot of trial and error. So, once I got over the 'okay, this is what I don't need to do and this is what I do need to do' it started molding me into the type of musician that I wanted to be."
"So, each region has its own distinct music scene. You grew up in Queens, New York, and that was where your passion for music sparked, so how would you describe the music culture of New York during that time?"
Worthy: "Well, at that time, it was really grungy and in your face. It was really, really high energy. Not all artists, but a lot of them had that high energy. They incorporated different types of Hip Hop, too, which was really tight. So, that's when I was around, but I love all genres like house music and dance music. At the time, a lot of it wasn't being put together or infused, and it wasn't the popular thing. So it was either you had a popular dance record or a popular house record or you were a popular rapper who had a great first album or single. The more and more that I kept seeing that, I love it, but how could we change the game, you know? How can we change the game and do something totally different while still keeping the integrity of what's already been done? So that was my mission."
"Speaking of New York's music scene during that time, would you say that it has influence on your distinct artistry?"
Worthy: "Yeah definitely! Those types of artists, while I was growing up, definitely inspired me. For example, I am a big "Tribe Called Quest" fan and they've inspired me a lot. I'm a big Nas fan, J Dilla fan, Q-Tip, Whodini, and many more. There's so many artists that came out of New York that I kinda took bits and pieces from. So, not to copy their style, but I would take what they did sonically and figure out how I could get to that same level or better."
"On August 7th, you released your single "Goldmine" featuring J. Holiday. May you walk us through the process of creating the single?"
Worthy: "J holiday is a good friend of mine. We met years ago and we had never worked together before. So it was just more of a thing where we were always around each other and we knew a lot of mutual people. So I just hit him up one day and was like 'Hey man, I think we should do something together. I think it will be good for R&B and I think it will be good for the industry, especially now since we can't really go on the road like we used to and we can't do the traditional things. So let's just try to do something different and give people some new music', and he agreed with that. Goldmine was a concept that I already had that was put together. I gave it to him and he loved the concept, as well. Then we just put the song together in totality, and that birthed 'Goldmine'."
"Goldmine definitely has a smooth, R&B feel that is magnetically pleasing to the ears. So, what feelings did you envision your listeners feeling when listening to Goldmine?"
Worthy: "So 'Goldmine' is basically about a metaphoric way to show appreciation to the person you're with. In this case, it's a woman, so we're just telling her 'Hey, you're a goldmine, you're a treasure to us, you're royalty, and we're going to address you as such.' So, 'Goldmine' is just the metaphorical way of saying that. We just wanted to give that smooth R&B feel; not too fast, not too slow, just kinda in the middle, and we wanted to show a different range, different chord structures, different arrangements, and just something smooth."
"What does your creative process entail? How do you go about creating a product that is just right in your eyes?"
Worthy: "It really just depends on the mood and where I'm at in life. Anything could really spark an idea, but with me, it just depends on how I'm feeling or what's going on. I could feel like I need to write a pop song or a ballad. It depends on where the energy falls because I am an energy person, so it really just depends on that."
"You are a 3x Grammy-Winning Producer who has worked with big names, such as Justin Bieber, CeeLo Green, and Fetty Wap. What was the journey like for getting to where you are now?"
Worthy: "Man, so many ups and downs and twists and turnarounds. It has definitely has been interesting, to say the least. When I first got into the industry, I started out as a songwriter. So, just writing records and giving them to local people around the neighborhood and things like that. As I got better with crafting the songs, I told myself that now I need actual production behind it to make a full song. That's what gave me the spark to go into production and to start making my own beats. Once I did that, I started writing and producing full songs and began to give them out and getting this person's email, that person's contact, and this and that. So, that led me to build relationships with different people like artists, managers, label reps. That's how I started getting placements with different artists, and it just kept going from there. Even with that, the journey wasn't easy either. There was a lot of no's, a lot of cliquish things going on, like if you weren't a part of this team or that team, you couldn't get in. It was so many different moving parts. It has definitely been a learning experience."
What are the top 3 most memorable experiences in your career?
Worthy: "I would probably say meeting Michael Jackson, that was definitely memorable. I would probably say meeting Quincy Jones, as well. He's one of my idols. I remember attending the Grammy's one year and it was kinda crazy because I attended and walked the carpet, and some of the media platforms that were covering the event actually knew who I was. So that was kinda an eye-opener to me that told me 'Hey, you're doing something right.' That was a big eye-opener that told me I was on the right track."
"For those who want to follow your footsteps, what advice would you give to them?"
Worthy: "You gotta love what you do. You gotta love your craft, you gotta love the field that you're in. You got to learn everything about it. You got to learn the business and every bit of detail to perfect your craft. There are so many people that want to do and are doing the same thing that you're doing, so you gotta figure out what is setting you apart and how to make it last. You gotta figure out what aspect of your craft you would want to leave when you leave this earth, and that takes time. It doesn't happen overnight. It's gonna take a long time to figure that out. It's gonna take time to actually leave an imprint, and you gotta have integrity in your art. I'm a bit of a stickler towards not rushing things and perfecting things because my art is my passion. So, I want it to be presented and conveyed in the best way possible."
"If you're willing to share, are there any plans and/or projects that we should expect from you in the future?"
Worthy: "Definitely! So, right now, I'm working on my debut album. I'm more so in the beginning stages, but I am working on the album. I have a brand new single with Kurupt and Big Gibb from Goodie Mob called 'Top Of The World', which is coming out later this year, so I'm excited about that. I'm working on some television and film projects, so you'll definitely see me on some big movie sets and screens really soon. I'm just going to continue building the brand."
James Worthy's impeccable work ethic and mindset shines through in all of his work, and we are certainly excited to see what else he has in store!
Be sure to check out James Worthy's new single "Goldmine" featuring J. Holiday! The video is posted below, and it is also available on all music streaming platforms!