Published on July 30th, 2014 | by Jameelah "Just Jay" Wilkerson


HillaryJane: GIRL POWER (Doin’ It For Jesus)

You titled your upcoming debut solo EP, Stix and Stones — Conceptually, what prompted your decision to name the project this?

Stix and Stones is my favorite song I wrote on the EP, it’s really become a way of life for me. I’ve had to learn to just tell myself, “Stix and Stones, HJ, Stix and Stones…” whenever people and life are coming at me with negative vibes. In junior high, I took a lot of things people said to heart and allowed their opinions to shape me as a person. I refuse to allow others to define me. Especially now concerning my faith and how I’ve chosen to live my life. The EP in general is about empowerment, so I thought more than any other song, it would be a good embodying title.

The set’s lead offering is entitled “Chimneys” — Tell me about this track in particularly? How did it actually come to fruition?

Sitting in my closet playing guitar, I started randomly singing the now bridge, “You blow smoke like a Chimney in the winter time.” You’ve heard the term “stop blowing smoke,” meaning you’re lying. In the moment, I was sick of Satan and sin and this world, (so) I felt the need to tell everyone how I felt and how I’m not going to listen to the lies, or inhale the smoke anymore…”Im taking over, I can finally breathe.”

Reflecting, how did you first discover your musical talent?

Oh geez, I’ve always had the heart for worship and also writing. I was in the second grade, leading little songs and dances alongside my mama for the other kids in children’s church, but I couldn’t sing to save my life. At least I don’t think I could. Whenever I really decided to give my life to Christ at 15, my interest in music spiked. It was almost like magic, a.k.a. God’s sovereignty, that I could, almost overnight, sing. I started leading worship at my church for a few years. Always loving Hip-Hop, I started rapping, rockin’ stages, doing music ministry in that way. And, as I prayed and asked the Lord for direction in my life, I ended up here; singing for a career and ministry. I totally wanted to be a zoologist! Didn’t see this coming.

Who have been your greatest inspirations musically and why?

Missy Elliott, Lauryn Hill (and) more recently Jhené Aiko. They’re all so different, but I love certain qualities about them. Missy was not afraid to do whatever she wanted to express her artistry. It’s almost as if she looked people in the face and said, “Sticks and stones, suckas!” I love her drive. Lauryn was so real. Her music was from her heart, like mine, she rapped and sang, played her guitar, gave it to the people. I see a lot of myself in her. And Jhene, is just musically and lyrically dope. I don’t know if she writes all her stuff, but she’s the bomb anyways.

What do you feel you offer the music industry that we don’t already have in other performers?

I’m ready to have some hard-hitting beats and rock a crowd, make people throw their hands up, then three songs later pull out my guitar and create more of a “chill” vibe. I can keep it upbeat or take it down a few notches, play live while I share a story…Then bust out into some worship. I want to have people really taking a moment to think on the beauty of Christ. I want there to be all elements in my shows, for people to experience all emotions and, most importantly, leave desiring more of Jesus and feeling refreshed.

Have you encountered any problems in getting to this point in your career?

Well, it wasn’t a problem, per se, it just didn’t go as quickly as I had hoped. The Lord knows best, and even after He showed me what He had in store there was a long preparation period where I wasn’t recording or moving forward in the way I thought I would be. He was teaching me and growing me, so I worked my day job, chilled patiently, and wrote tons of songs till I felt ready “spiritually” to really start work on the project. So, having patience was a big factor in getting to this point in my career, but it was def for the best.

What do you want people to get from your music?

I want them to just “vibe.” I want people to pop in my CD, if people do that anymore, maybe open iTunes would be more accurate, and just feel happy. Feel empowered! And, feel like they are proud to be who they are and excited to be in love with Jesus. And if they don’t really know Jesus, I hope He can use my music as a tool for their hearts to be opened to the idea of a Savior.

When can we expect some new music from you?

I have my first single ‘Chimneys’ out now. A video is following soon after. Then, the next single, and my EP drops July 29th! Pre-order it now to get the immediate download of “Chimneys” — $2.99 for a 7 song EP is pretty much a steal.

What has been your greatest achievement so far?

Writing my own music. I know there will be a day that I’m going to sit down with writers to expand, but I take pride in the fact that 90% of Stix and Stones was from my own head and heart, my experiences, my emotions. I am excited for people to get a piece of ME with this project.

If you could collaborate with any one artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Oooooh, snap — That’s a toughy! I would have to say…Lauryn Hill. I almost want to pick Michael Jackson, but GIRL POWER! *She giggles* She’s amazing. We would have to write the chillest hit known to mankind — Everyone would get saved! *More giggles*

If you could play any venue in the world, which one would you choose and why?

Madison Square Garden! I’ve never been there, but it’s kind of legendary to book a show there. I wouldn’t mind being on that roster! It would scary, but I’m down.

One track of yours that you think defines you and why?

All of them! *She laughs* I wrote them all from my heart, so all of them. But, If I had to just pick one, I’d rock with “Wild Side” right now. I’m feeling dangerous…You’d have to hear the song to understand! *More laughter*

Is there anything I left out or failed to ask that you’d like to mention?

Nope! *She smiles*

Any “closing” thought(s) for our readers?

I’m excited to share my heart and artistry with everyone through this project. I’m excited for you to be empowered to share yourself with the world as well. Just remember: In it, not of it. I love being an “artist,” but I really love being a “worshipper!”

Interviewed: Hype Staff

About the Author

Publisher and CEO of The Hype Magazine. Follow me on Twitter @HypeJustJay

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