Imagine having 5 vocal surgeries and the doctor telling you you’d never be able to sing again. Insert [JC](https://www.instagram.com/itsyaboyjc/), who’s proven over and over that no obstacle in life is big enough to stop you from pursuing your dreams and doing what you love. Real name Justin Crowder is an inspiration to the masses, creating long-lasting music and unforgettable memories any chance he can.
Having worked with everyone from Diddy to Future, the recording artist and producer creates what he calls clean music, a direct result of his upbringing in the church and being a preacher’s kid. While he’s grown now making his own decisions, JC finds his niche in spreading love, positivity, and good vibes only with no curse words or explicit lyrics.
Following his last standout single, “Skyscrapin” with Chicago’s own Calboy, JC returns with another all-star collaboration. This time, he taps the King of R&B Jacquees on his newest release titled “No Filter,” bringing all the R&B vibes to the table.
Flaunt caught up with JC via FaceTime, who had just wrapped a 4-mile run. Read below as we discuss his relationship with Jacquees, the role of TikTok in the record, his definition of success, overcoming 5 vocal surgeries, and more!
**Who did you listen to on your run?**
I honestly listen to beats most of the time. I write songs in my head so I'll go through a beat pack. Or if the producer sends me some new beats, I'll play those beats and vibe while running, just to take my mind off the running. Probably boring for most people, but I love it.
**Congrats on the release of “No Filter”! How you feeling?**
“No Filter” has been my biggest release thus far. BET premiered it, REVOLT, MTV, a lot of stuff. I didn't know BET was going to do anything with it. I built a lot of cool relationships. It sucks that I couldn't do shows because I'm not good enough to already have stuff setup, so I needed those shows. I could've easily got on tours to open at least, brought more attention to the record and I couldn't do it. Overall, it’s done great.
**How did that collab with Jacquees happen?**
I wrote the song as a true writer. It’s my first time linking up with Marley Waters, the producer. He gave me a beat pack, I put another record to one of his tracks. I had some extra time left in the session, like 30 minutes. I told the engineer to pull up a different track. He said “bro you only got 30 minutes, what you gonna do?” I said "well I at least want to start a vibe day, then I'll come back and finish it.” That whole song was done in that 30 minutes, minus Jacquees' part. I did a verse and a hook, got the vibe out. I’m like “man, I really like this song.” A year later when it was time for me to release something, I played Jacquees 2 or 3 of my potential singles and that's the one he picked. That's what we ended up going with.
**What’d that mean to work with him? Because he says he's the King of R&B.**
It was dope for me because when I met Jacquees, I was signed to Block Entertainment/Bad Boy South. He wasn’t signed, but they were working with them in an effort to bring him into the label. I did some writing with him. Of course, he’d come to the studio, and I was the only R&B guy. Because we had Jeezy, Boyz n da Hood, Gorilla Zoe, he’s like “who this random R&B dude?” I didn't think he’d remember me. He brought it up in the session, he said “dude I used to admire you because you’re the only dude in the room that did what I did, what I was aspiring to do. I always had a lot of respect for you, I thought that was dope.” It's crazy because that's where he is now. He's signed to a rap label, but he's an R&B artist. So it's cool.
**Best memory from the video shoot?**
We shot the video in Atlanta. The dopest part was I didn't think Jacquees was gonna show up. I'm independent and sometimes things work differently when you don't have a label, things are structured sometimes off the homie deal. “Okay, I'ma look out for you.” I'm not gonna act like we're the best of friends and I've known him for 20 years, so I’m really going off of his word with everything. He's like “nah, I’ma be there.” That morning I reach out to him, he's in Detroit! I'm like “ah, he's not coming out.” But he took a flight to get to my video shoot, I thought that was dope.
**That's super dope!**
Yeah, I have so much respect for him after that experience. Even when the song released, I saw BET was going to premiere it, but I didn't know if it actually premiered. I hadn't watched it yet because of the time slot. I was at the barbershop, he called me to tell me it premiered. He posted it before I did. He said “man, you lit bro! I'm happy for you man, I want to see you win.” That's been the energy from day one, it's pretty dope to see. He's further along than I am by far so he doesn't have to do that.
**How much of a role TikTok plays in your career?**
What’s cool about this song is we started this little JC #NoFilterChallenge. Some major influencers who I wasn't familiar with, they picked it up and did videos. I'm not really on TikTok so it was funny trying to repost. I have a TikTok, but I don't have a TikTok. I never go on there. I had to start posting some of those, I took what they did and reposted it back on Instagram. Pretty sure I could’ve had more traction on TikTok if I actually knew what I was doing.
**That shit’s hard to get into.**
Yeah as some people say, you gotta pick one. I'm an Instagram guy. Having Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, a website, email, and I’m still a songwriter?! I don't even have time to go on there, I feel unproductive.
**Talk about having Amy Deanna on the artwork, who’s Cover Girl’s first model.**
That’s one of the dopest aspects of the project because in the video, I didn't get to capture everything I would’ve liked to capture. I wanted more than different faces and sizes, I wanted more variety. I wanted people with freckles, I wanted Vitiligo, I wanted even other things that are considered skin disorders. I wanted to spell it all the way out in the video and I didn't get to do that. So when I DMed her on Instagram, I've never met her. I've been DMing her for a year, she thought I was trying to holla at her. She never responded, then I sent her a snippet of the song and she responded right away. She’s really excited about being on the cover, it was completely organic.
**I saw your Halloween costume, you said you're a typical music industry guy. What do you hate about the music industry?**
Just everything that character portrays. I don't like the lack of realness, it's not a lot of honesty. You know those values you learn as a kid, the cliche values. Do onto others as you would have them do unto you. The golden rule: treating people with kindness. Integrity, punctuality, all of these things are almost nonexistent in the music industry. It makes it really hard to trust a typical music industry guy or girl, it's a weird vibe in most cases. You don't get a lot of realness, real down-to-earth people in my opinion. That's been my experience.
**What did “Skyscrapin” with Calboy do for your career?**
After we dropped it, I thought it was cool that Calboy made XXL Freshman Class. He had an album that went Gold, his single had already went Platinum again. He had a lot of success which was dope because I wasn't honestly familiar with him when I did the song with him. I looked up his music and that's how we ended up going. We actually got a couple of songs together. The reaction I got from that record, now I'm excited about putting out the other record we have. It's gon’ be dope, we may even have a third person on the song.
**Who is it?**
It's a toss up. We’ve been talking about putting a female artist, somebody who's going to be totally left. Something that wouldn't be expected versus another rapper or someone with the same swag, change it up a little bit.
**What is success to you?**
It's funny because I changed my definition of success. I talk around my vocal surgeries a lot. I've never really mentioned that I've had vocal surgery because I don't want a pity party, but it’s a real thing. The more I talk to people, especially doctors, I'm reminded it truly is miraculous. Somebody's telling you they had surgery on their legs 5 times, then they’re going to go run a marathon.
Yeah, I've had 5 vocal surgeries. My definition of success now is using my voice, ever since I've simplified it to that. That's not a cop-out, a realistic reasoning to claim success in my opinion is being able to do what I love and use my gift. I'm not supposed to be able to talk so for me to sing, I'm getting extra credit right now. \[laughs\]
**Does it hurt at all?**
So I've had to change my whole lifestyle because what it was, I had polyps which are knots on your vocal cords. They’re benign, not contagious. It comes from vocal strain. Some people's vocal cords are more delicate than others, mine are real delicate. It's a long story but it's been 5 because one of the surgeries, I had a seizure right after the surgery. I had the same surgery, right after I did that surgery. It doesn't hurt but I have to live a certain lifestyle. I don't go to clubs. If I do, 30 minutes to an hour and I'm out because I can't be around a lot of smoke. I don't talk past a certain level, I never yell. I have to watch how much chocolate I eat, alcohol. Basically a full lifestyle change.
**Writing R&B songs in 2021, what can we expect?**
I've been in the studio every single day, that's something I'm really proud of. The entire quarantine, I started in February like “okay, I'ma record every day.” I honestly haven't recorded every day this year but I've definitely done enough of a catalog to last 3 or 4 years, just this year. I'm excited about seeing the work, work itself out. All the hard work I put in this year, reaping the benefits of that work. I've planted the seeds, certain artists have cut some of the records. I got some of the stuff in TV and film, some of the new shows like _Ghost._ I'm anxious to see where it all goes next year.