Burned by his Ex, This Out Singer Turns His Relationship Ashes to Record Smashes
By James Booth
J.R. Price is best known for “Body Positive”, a track from his Daydream album that encouraged people to love their bodies. His latest album, Nightmare, is darker in theme but digs even deeper in its messaging. It’s rallying people to love themselves: their inner junk, past trauma and unresolved emotional turmoil. And yes, be a beacon for others, but not to the extent where you become a doormat.
“I had my album release party last week, and people I didn’t know were crying and telling me how my stories in Nightmare inspired them to be better to themselves,” Price says. “That was so important to me because it made me feel like my heartache was genuinely helping people.”
J.R. Price isn’t concerned with pop star fame or living the baller life. “I am just a coat check guy who sings personal songs about my reality,” J.R. Price continues. “I love how music offers a platform for my story to be heard.” The video for “Tiny,” his first release from Nightmare, is on YouTube now.
“Nightmare” digs deep into the five stages of grief. Where are you in journey right now?
JRP: I have more good days than bad days. Releasing the album and letting people hear my story has helped, but I still have bouts of depression when I think about my family abandonment, my poverty, and obviously, the heartache that developed this amazing work. I have emotional burdens, and sometimes I can’t control them. I’m human. I’m allowed to not be perfect and get down about my actual feelings. I will say, however, that I am doing the work and I’m seeing the light of hope at the end of a very dark tunnel.
What was it about this last relationship that affected you so much?
JRP: I think it was the false hope I was given. The master manipulation. He made me believe he was more important than me. I started doing everything I could to please him, and when I couldn’t help him anymore, because his needs were greater than my means, he cut me off with no explanation.
JRP: Every “you’re important to me,” “you matter,” “next year, when we are boyfriends” and “this is the best date I’ve ever been on”… they were all lies to get me to do things for him. I’m a helper. I pride myself in my ability to help others. I think the worst thing you can do to a helper is to make them feel like their help isn’t enough. It devalued my self-worth. If I couldn’t help the man I loved more than anyone, the man I put above my own needs, then who could I help? Could I even help myself?
You sing about the devaluing of your self-worth in “Tiny”.
JRP: Yes, “Tiny” is about how I was made to feel by the end of a very deceiving relationship. It’s a song for anyone who has a man in their life that makes them feel so diminished, they can’t see their own worth anymore. It is about me reclaiming my price tag. Thank you. I’m bigger now.
It’s a dark track. What happened to the bright and sunny J.R. Price that sang about “Body Positivity”?
JRP: I was living in a daydream. Now I’m coming out from a nightmare. It is the result of a man casting a shadow over my light. I am not the type who can paint a smile over my pain. I actually think that it is more debilitating to bottle things up, lie to people, say I’m fine when I’m not fine. If I can’t be honest in my music, where can I be honest? My music is my therapy. If I bottle these things up and don’t work through them, they will eat me alive. I have to release it. If people feel hurt by my music, all I can say is, don’t hurt a songwriter. What did you think would happen?
The album is also a bit more theatrical … not just in emotions but in its sound. Is that from your move to NYC?
JRP: Actually, yes! My new producer, Ricky Allson, messaged me when I lived in Nashville about a song he wrote, “Golden Hour,” and it inspired me to dive into this new sound in NYC. It led to my meeting Feathers Wise and Grammy award winning producer Jeff the Jedi Master Jones who invited me to his studio to record the album. It’s amazing how life works. I didn’t hunt down this opportunity to work with these legendary producers, or lie my way to get things, or sleep my way to the top. I just stayed true to my art and my emotions and the universe gave me what I needed to survive the obstacles I faced. I am still poor. I’m still a nobody, but I made a high-quality album that I will be proud of for the rest of my life. These producers turned me into a genuine artist. I don’t think they realize how much their contributions meant to me. They saved my life.
What is your favorite song on Nightmare?
JRP: The title track because it is the most vulnerable. I hold nothing back in it. I really get to the root of what I want in life and it is finding happiness. I want to love and I want to be loved.
Now that the album is written and out, are you ready to move on?
JRP: So ready! I’m hard at work on my next album. I wrote the first and last track already. It won’t be out for some time though ‘cause this dreamer is poor and making and marketing music takes a ridiculous amount of money.
J.R. Price’s “Nightmare” is being distributed independently and is available on Apple Music, Spotify and all digital platforms. Physical copies and JRP merch are also available at jrprice.org.
Follow J.R. Price on Instagram @ jrpriceless5eva and Facebook @ JRPricePop. Visit JRPrice.org.