BJ the Chicago Kid Talks New Album, Evolution of R&B, and the Adidas Concert Series
BJ the Chicago Kid recently performed in his hometown of Chicago with the Adidas Originals Essentialism Concert Series. Towkio and hip-hop duo Leather Corduroys—made up of Joey Purp and Kami of the Chicago based Savemoney Collective—also hit the stage. The Essentialism series pushed the EQT philosophy: “Everything that is essential, nothing that is not.”
In addition to Chi-Town, the concert series touched down in Miami, Atlanta, and Detroit, each stop showcasing locally influenced artists and raw sets “reminiscent of '90s minimalism, Berlin circuit parties and Underground culture.” We caught up with the R&B crooner to talk about his performance with Adidas, the evolution of R&B, and new music. Check out the highlights below.
You’re a true soul singer, raised in the church and influenced by R&B greats like D’Angelo. What are your thoughts on the state of R&B/Soul music today?
I love being able to witness the evolution of R&B. Most of all, playing a role in it is part of my dream. It feels amazing.
You started your music career as a background singer and writer for artists like Usher, Jill Scott, Anthony Hamilton, and Mary Mary. Can you talk a bit about that experience and how it influenced the way you navigate the industry and create your sound?
I really believe there's a little bit of all of those artists in me. I see a little of myself in every artist I work with, so learning from them, cooking with all of these chefs, kind of allows me to open my own 5-star restaurant. "Welcome to BJTCK's" [laughs].
Are you currently working on a new project? Can you talk about the process and where you are with everything?
I'm definitely working on a new album. I'm totally excited. It’s about my life experiences – traveling, living, learning, family, friends - all of these play a major role in this new album. I’m so happy and anxious to get this new music to you guys.
The Essentialism Concert Series is rooted in the Adidas EQT philosophy, “everything that is essential, nothing that is not.” Are you able to relate this concept to the R&B/Soul genre and your own music?
Absolutely. Every detail matters in R&B and soul music - even the imperfections. When you understand detail, you understand quality. That responsibility trickles into your life and the upgrade begins (laughs).
How does it feel to be performing with this series in your hometown of Chicago?
Performing in Chicago is always special. It’s always a magical moment.
Do you prefer stripped down sets to more produced set ups?
I love both intimate and big productions. Each are a part of every artist's dream and I’m honored to have that option.