Written Wednesday| Interview With Jonathan Stamper

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Jonathan Stamper has been singing since he was 4 years old. He plays several instruments, writes and produces original music, raps, and acts. Jonathan has toured Portugal and Spain in addition to singing backup for superstar recording artist Sting. Jonathan is not only the Flagship Artist but is also the Vice President of Artist Relations for Block IV Entertainment and CEO of Dominant Collective, a networking and artist development company built for empowering young artists. He has performed at many local community events such as the city of Newark’s annual 24-Hours-of Peace event in which he wrote the song The Drug PSA. This song awarded members of Dominant Collective as the winners of the N.J. Shout Down Drugs competition.

If you are interested in hearing more of Jonathan Stamper, you can find his music on SoundCloud. Check out his album Summertime Vibes below. To find out more about him, continue reading! 

 

 

Tell us about your collective (Dominant Collective) and the role you play in it.

Well basically, Dominant operates as a community of creative people. We all bring different skills and styles together to collaborate on all kinds of projects. I’m the leader, the CEO. I’m also the artist that connects the rest of the artists to opportunities that will help them further their career.
What are the biggest factors that played a part in your growth as a musician?

Meeting my stepdad for sure. He opened me up to so many different genres of music. He’s also the person who got me to rapping and singing. I didn’t think it was possible before he told me it could work.

As a rapper and singer, how have you struggled with trying to balance and/or blend the two?

I always struggle, haha.. my goal has really been to blend them to the point where I’m so fluent in both that I flow seamlessly from one to the other, like Spanish and English. For a long time the balance was so hard to strike. But, I think there isn’t a perfect balance. You serve each song, album, and audience what they need at that given time. This makes every experience special.

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How does your faith connect with your music?

It’s really my foundation for everything. I try my best to tell honest stories and relate to everyone so everyone feels like they’re heard and understood. But, ultimately, I want them to know there’s hope at the end of every struggle we face. Jesus is that hope for me.

Tell us about your experience with connecting with the community in your hometown.

Honestly, I’ve always been about home. I want to travel the world, but the city that really shaped me is Newark. It made me who I am. I feel connected there forever so i want to represent them well. Not just that, but help to see the city thrive in any way possible.

How about outside of your hometown?

 I want to connect to the world. At the end of it all, I want to have a reach that is so much greater than me. So, if I can affect communities all over the globe and leave my mark in a positive way, that’s the best way to create a legacy that can stand the test of time.

You’ve performed at various venues across the country. How do you decide which venue is “worth” traveling out for?

It really depends on the kind of crowd, the influence of the event, and how much creative freedom i have. I just want to perform anywhere where true creativity is welcomed.

Your performances include a lot of high energy and crowd engagement. What is your advice to other artists in terms of being comfortable on stage and working a crowd?

If you’re not nervous, you’re in the wrong profession. But, know that once you start, you gotta be all in. Also, understand that every person won’t accept what you offer or match your energy. But, be unapologetically you no matter what and people will respond.

What your favorite record you ever recorded?

That’s hard man. All my songs are like my kids. But, if I had to choose one, it’d probably be a song called “Uptown”.  Even then, it would probably change if you asked me in a couple hours.

 

How important is it as an artist to have a manager and/or team behind you?

It’s crucial. No man is an island. Even the most talented people can’t see or perceive everything. We got to have people we trust to take on our vision and help us get to where we want to go. Otherwise, we won’t accomplish anything of significance.

Rate and explain the level of importance (in terms of crowd attraction) between singing/rapping a cover versus an original piece

I think putting your spin on someone else’s work is one of the most underrated forms of creativity. If you have a mind creative enough you can take anything and make it your own. Covers are one of the best ways to test those creative limits.

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How does sampling music/songs inspire you?

Sampling always challenges my creativity. I want to invoke a feeling of nostalgia with innovation whenever I sample an artist. I want to connect their story to mine and the audiences. So, the sonics of it are just as important in crafting a story as lyrics because music can take you to a place. That’s the beauty of sampling, taking you somewhere familiar and uncharted at the same time.

What should one look out for when doing something like this?

Be original. Don’t just copy what was done. Add your sound and your touch to what they did. Also, do the sample and the artist justice. If you’re going to take from their piece, make sure that it honors their work and is on par with it. That’s the best way to do it.

Do you have any advice for someone interested in pursuing the arts as a career? How can one know this is what they want/what is meant for them?

The best advice I could give someone in that position is to figure out if you really want it  or if you just want popularity and fame, because that’s not enough to sustain you. You have to have a deep love for your craft and a security about yourself to be successful.

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