Jersey’s own GROOVY is determined to take the sound of New Jersey to the masses in his own way. He uses his singular hybrid of R&B and Jersey club to explore the highs, lows, and complications of young love. Get familiar via this VIPER interview…

What five words define your sound?

Let’s see. I’d say intimate, sultry, romantic, mysterious, and ambient.

Tell me something unique about your creative process

I’m very intentional about the way I use my consonants. Sometimes the way a word sounds can be more impactful than what the word actually means. So, there’s a bunch of different ways to say the same thing, but the way it’s pronounced can impact the meaning. Depending on the pronunciation, I think one way can fit the song better than others. And that’s how you make a choice on how you actually want to say the phrase. I think that rappers think about this way more than singers do, and so I take some inspiration from rappers. Especially ones like Young Thug and Playboi Carti. I think this is a big thing that Carti does. It’s like, he can say whatever, but how he’s saying it hits so much.

Which song of yours would you like people to hear first?

The EP intro, ‘SHOWMELUV’.

What inspired you to make that song?

The Robin S. – ‘Show Me Love’ reference was definitely a huge inspiration for the songwriting on it. And the beat – I love how grand it is. And I really wanted at least one big, grand Pop ballad on the project. So not only did I get my Pop ballad, but I also got to reference one of my favourite songs. And, it’s the intro to the project, so it’s like a three-in-one.

What’s the most vulnerable you’ve allowed yourself to be when writing/making music?
For this project, it was definitely songs like ‘Kno Me’ and ‘Snowdai’. Each one of my songs, while it might not be an exact story of something I’ve done, it’s always a reference to something with my real life. For instance on ‘Mariah’, there’s no actual girl named Mariah in real life, but there is a girl that Mariah is based on, you know? Another example, on ‘Kno Me’, I did actually mess up with someone at one point and she told me it’s like she doesn’t know me anymore. Like she can’t believe that this is who I really am, you know? So on all my songs, it might not be the exact situation, and it’s never gonna be the exact name because I feel like that is inappropriate, but it is a real story about something I actually went through and just personified in a song.

What’s the best/worst experience you’ve had on stage?

I got heckled on stage in London a little bit and I did not take it well [laughs]. I was arguing with some dude in the crowd and I think London is actually one of the worst places for that actually, from what I’ve heard. But then I played ‘jersey luv’ and all the girls were singing it back to me. So that was kinda the best and worst. I was thinking “Wow, even when I’m getting heckled, the girls still sing my songs. That’s fire.”

What is your favourite song to perform?

It’s gotta be ‘jersey luv’ every time. I love when the crowd sings it back to me. And I love just how dramatic ‘jersey luv’ is. Like the beat is so dramatic. It’s like all this drama and everyone’s involved. It’s great. Once the EP drops, I really hope people will gravitate to ‘SHOWMELUV’ because that will be a crazy one live. Like if everyone was singing the lyrics and then that crazy beat dropped, that might become my new favourite.

Which artist/song/album made you want to make music?

I feel like there’s so many albums that I love but didn’t make me feel that way even though I love them as albums. This is gonna be so weird because it just doesn’t seem like it lines up with me, but it has to be one of Lil Uzi’s earlier mixtapes. I think ‘Lil Uzi Vert vs. the World’. That came out around the time I was around 17, and I was just getting started with pretending to record my own music. At that time, I related to that music so much and I was like, “wow, I wanna make music that some kid in high school can relate to too.” So it was kinda like my coming of age music and Lil Uzi was rising to fame as I was graduating high school.

What’s the meaning behind your name?

I was a huge ScHoolboy Q fan when I was in early high school and I was listening to the project ‘Oxymoron’ all the time. He always referenced himself by the alias Groovy Q, and I was like “I want to be Groovy Ju” and then Groovy just stuck.

If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing instead?

I’d probably be an eye doctor, honestly. I was studying to do that, which is so random. I was working at a LensCrafters, I was making glasses, I was pre-screening patients and all that. During the pandemic, I was just applying for random jobs and I got hired at a Pearle Vision. And on my first day, I said to myself, I was like ‘Yo I hate this I’m going to quit’, and then I ended up working in that profession for about two and a half years. It’s honestly a great industry to get into because it’s very lucrative and has lots of opportunities for growth.

What’s success to you?

I feel like success is a lot of different things, and I think it depends on how you look at success. Like in some ways, I’m successful because I’m able to make a living from pursuing my passion. Success could be like a certain level of status in your career, like getting a Grammy or nominated for something. I think that success is meeting the goals that you set for yourself.

What moment in your life/career forced you to change direction?
Haha, when I dropped ‘jersey luv’! Even though I kinda liked working at LensCrafters, I actually ended up getting fired because I started spending so much time in New York when the song took off. But, yeah, ‘jersey luv’ definitely changed the trajectory of my life.

Where can people keep in touch with you?

Instagram you can find me @groovy.ju, my TikTok is @gro0vyjulian! My YouTube is @groovyju and on all streaming platforms, I’m just GROOVY.

Photo by Garrett Bruce.

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