LOVE Hurts with RJ Word

Bitmap: First off, we love the aesthetic of your music. How did you find your style?
I stopped trying to make what I thought other people wanted to hear. Now I just try to write songs that keep me interested. 

Bitmap: It has this hip pop, hip-hop style to it with a bit of Jazz. What would you call your style? 
When people ask me what genre of music I make my answer is usually way longer than just, “hip-pop, hip-hop style to it with a bit of Jazz.” But I guess maybe Jazzy Funk Pop?

Bitmap: How did you fall into music? 
I’ve been singing since I was 5. First in school shows and musical theater. I eventually got tired of singing other people’s songs and wanted to tell my own stories through the medium. 

Bitmap: Did you always want to be an artist even as a child? What did you want to be when you grew up aside from making music?
I’ve always wanted to be an entertainer. The reaction you can get from people on stage can be very addicting. Once you’ve had a taste you can’t help but want more. However, I did have some phases of wanting to go into a scientific field. Evolutionary biology has always fascinated me.

Bitmap: Your music videos have a cinematic feel on them. How involved are you in the making and concept?
Deeply. I always at least develop the concepts with the directors. In the case of “Here Today”, I directed the video too. While that was fun and directing is definitely something I want to get back into, it can get exhausting being both in front of and behind the camera simultaneously.

Bitmap: We know you are also a photographer. What kind of photos do you love taking?
I get bored easily so what I like to shoot changes. Depends on the mood. But I like to do very staged, theatrical shoots.

Bitmap: Love Hurts just released. Tell us about this single, and if we can expect a music video?
Well, I don’t think there's a better way to describe it than, Jazzy Funk Pop. It’s got some horns, some choral elements and kind of lives in the same sonic world as my last single, “What You Need”. While I do have a really great concept for a music video in mind I’m not yet sure if I’ll be making it.

Bitmap: What do you love most about your profession?
What’s not to love? I get to create art all the time. 

Bitmap: What challenges or struggles have you faced along the way and what helped you overcome them?
It can be a tough industry to break into. Keeping an optimistic attitude is key. A positive mindset allows you to stay dedicated to the work because you believe it is going to pay off. This job is a lot of work. More than a typical 9-6 if you want to succeed in such a saturated market. But it’s absolutely worth it if you’re doing what you love.

Bitmap: Of all the work you have done over the years, what is the one thing you are most proud of?
I’m typically not ever really content with projects that I’ve completed. Mostly because completing a project for me is just abandoning it when it’s as close to perfection as I can get it. “What You Need” was the first song I was actually happy with. Alas, art is subjective and I’m just happy that people are enjoying my “abandoned” creations.

Bitmap: What are some personal ambitions you would like to fulfill?
I’d love to perform at the Hollywood Bowl. Record a song with a full orchestra. Create a mind shattering live experience that concertgoers will need to process in the weeks following the show.

Bitmap: What do you like to do for fun in your downtime?
Don’t get much downtime. If I’m not working I’ll typically be at the gym, writing or doing yoga. I’ll go see movies with friends if the opportunity arises. I did have the chance to play the new Spider-Man game. That was some good fun.

Bitmap: What is one thing about yourself that the world may not know?
I was a vegetarian from age 9-18. I’m still not a fan of the meat industry and don’t eat beef.

Bitmap: If you would walk away from all this, what would you take away from it?
I’d get horribly bored if I tried. I can’t go on a vacation without feeling the need to write a song. It’s a part of me. I’m just really lucky I get paid for it.

Bitmap: Where are you originally from?
LA baby! Born and raised!

Bitmap: Give us 5 words that you think best describe you.
Dedicated, dedicated, dedicated, dedicated and redundant.

Bitmap: What are the recent projects you've worked on?
“Love Hurts” most recently. But I’ve got a couple other sounds I’m working on. I’ve also been thinking of dipping my toe back into the acting pool.

Bitmap: What do you like most: recording in a studio or performing at concerts?
They’re drastically different activities. When you’re recording a song it’s a time to experiments and find out what the best version of it can be. Tweaking lyrics and melodies etc. But when performing a song live I like to be very rehearsed and put forward the most refined version of a song that people already know. A version that wouldn’t have been possible without the recording process. I’ve grown to love both equally.

Bitmap: What are some of your hidden talents that your fans don't know about?
I do the final edit on all of my music videos.

Bitmap: What is the best advice you can give a new talent?
It’s a crazy business to go into and if you don’t have enough resolve it will break you.

Bitmap: As an artist, what would you say has been your biggest obstacle?
Not enough people still buy music. It’s made the music industry more brand based and less artistic. But it’s an obstacle that all artists face and have to overcome.

Bitmap: If you had to walk away, what would you like to be remembered most for?
I just want to inspire future generations the way my idols inspire me.

Bitmap: If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Take a deep breath. It’s gonna be ok. You’re on the right track.

Bitmap: What's next for you?
I’m gonna let life take me where it takes me! But, as always, there's more music on the way.

RJ Word
Instagram: @rjword
Twitter: @rj_word

Cassy Meier - Stylist
Instagram: @cassymeier_stylist

Courtney Housner - Groomer
Instagram: @chousner

Isaac Alvarez - Photographer
Instagram: @isaacalvarezraw