Virginia made entrepreneur and hip-hop artist J-Real has been nothing but busy building an empire that would bring his followers up with him. His father raised him on soul music from the ’70s and ’80s, which enticed J-Real into “listening to the emotions behind certain records that played in [his] household.” At the age of 14, a love for music evolved into an obsession. He indulged in any material he could to increase his knowledge on music and its production. J-Real began taking music seriously around 19, which then led to the creation of The Future Millionaires Company. thefm.co was created as a hub for creativity and outreach beyond music. This expanded into the development of the Dream in Numbers Program, an interactive seminar hosted by thefm.co on college campuses. J-Real partners with Mason Taylor, producer with credits for “On My Block,” and the “Top Boy” soundtrack, and a few very accomplished others to give students a hands-on opportunity to dive into certain aspects of the ever-changing music industry. I had the pleasure of catching up with J-Real to talk to him about the release of his single “Frankie’s Story,” and The Future Millionaires Company.
What was the process like in starting The Future Millionaires Company?
thefm.co also known as The Future Millionaires Company was a way for me to create a shell company that broadcasts to more people that were not just music based. It was a way for me to sell clothing, do seminars, mentor the youth, donate to charity, and so many other things not just attached to the music industry. thefm.co, pronounced the fm dot co, is the top company which has many parts/layers under it, such as music production, videography, eCommerce, & much more.
What inspired the Dream in Numbers program and what message do you bring with you to the seminars?
The “Dream in Numbers Program” is a very hands-on college seminar that shows and explains how to navigate life while in college then transitioning into what you want to do with your life after school. The basis of the Program is tailored for each school we go to, but it breaks down into two parts. Part 1, starts with 2 Guest speakers myself, and Mason Taylor who talk about our journey in the music industry, covering topics from music business, being an entrepreneur, making money on the internet, and navigating your life in the real world. We end part 1 of the seminar with a live construction of a Hip-Hop record in front of the audience. Part 2, of the seminar, is a high energy concert that same night, showing you everything we talked about in the daytime in a live action format. The message we bring to the seminars is very simple and not just related to people interested in the music industry. We teach it in our program and we call it, you have to L.E.A.P., Learn Every and All Possibilities.
How have you as an artist and your brand been affected by COVID-19 and what do you plan to do when the pandemic is over?
As an emerging artist, this pandemic has 100% affected me and my future endeavors. The team had plans to go to SXSW, Sneaker Con, and more college dates lined up. Also, music streaming is down, with people being at home more you would think more people are listening to music, they’re not. Most people listen to music to and from work, parties, and gatherings. With more people home there are not too many new music listeners. As artists, we have to get more creative to keep up with our fan base and adapt to the times.
When the pandemic is over I plan on popping out to a lot more places and continue with this college tour focusing hard on the “Dream in Numbers” program and release a ton more music.
As an artist where do you feel you have room to grow?
I always have room to grow, you always feel like you can be a better musician the more you work at the craft. Right now with everything going on I feel like I need to grow the most with fan engagement. We want to do more contests and be more connected to my fan base. We recently started text campaigns and theycallmereal.com to keep fans updated on what’s happening daily.
What aspects of “Set it Off” inspired “Frankie’s Story” and what is the working dynamic between you and Mason Taylor, who produced the track?
Money Montage and Mason Taylor both produced Frankie’s Story together. They are the most frequent producers I work with. The idea from Frankie’s Story came from the sample in the instrumental, the main sound in the beat is from the movie “Set It Off”. With the addition of the movie clips at the beginning and end of the song, I took the angle of telling a story of a person who wanted more in life and were frustrated with their current situation. After hearing the lyrics to the song Mason said it sounded like you’re telling a deeper perspective of Frankie, one of the characters in the movie. Blended with events in my life relating to Frankie, we came up with the name “Frankie’s Story.”
Who inspires you, and do you have an artist that is your goal to work with?
I draw inspiration from many things such as movies, sports, people, and music. My top musical inspirations would be Kanye West & Wiz Khalifa. They are very different artists but they provide a heavy influence on my artistry. The way they approach the craft of their music and the way they always want to remain unique and stand out from other artists. I like people who want to push the boundaries and the culture forward. I love the way the artists are sounding from my home area, the DMV right now. But I would like to work with Goldlink, IDK, and Shordie Shordie. I really only want to work with DMV artists at the moment.
J-Real as brought The Dream in Numbers Program to colleges like James Madison University and positively influenced a number of students. As a rising artist, J-Real’s smooth R&B rap style can be found in a number of his tracks. The artist recently released a dope, laid-back new visual for his track D.N.D, and is definitely and artist you want on your playlist.