Growing up right outside of Columbus, Ohio, PJ North has had quite an interesting journey to Nashville and country music involving a hip-hop music career as well as being a part-time race car driver. In our recent chat, our Swag Spotlight of the week told us all about his childhood and his eventual transition from hip hop battles to country music.
From a young age, North was always on stage performing whether it was taking dance classes including hip-hop, ballroom, jazz or swing or performing in talent shows, he always knew he wanted to be an entertainer. With influences all over the musical map including Michael Jackson, Fall Out Boy, Chris Brown and of course, his very first concert, Brooks & Dunn, he attributes his love for all genres to his childhood. “My first concert was Brooks and Dunn and from that point forward I was hooked and I knew I wanted to be an artist.” Starting out as sort of a party trick, his friends would ask him to rap lines from popular hip hop songs at the time, and he started noticing rap battles was something he was actually very good at.
Another passion from when he was only ten years old was drag racing. “That’s the only thing that I care about besides my wife and my family, racing and music are pretty much it for me, they are 1 and 1A,” North tells us. This is my 21st year racing, it’s brought me more than I ever would have thought, I wouldn’t even be in Nashville if it wasn’t for drag racing.”
After writing a racing-themed hip-hop song that went viral in the tight-knit racing community, he made the switch to country music, something he has felt has been in his heart since he was young. He moved to Nashville and now attributes his songwriting skills now to his ability to rap on the fly, he often times sits in a room and is able to come up with lyrics for what he is feeling and what he wants to say as an artist. Currently, he is a fan of Sam Hunt and artists that are blurring the lines of country, hip hop and R&B.
He just recently released his first country song, “B Sides” a track he co-wrote about keeping those special memories of a relationship once it’s over. Check out the video above. Looking ahead to 2019, he hopes to get out and play his new music and continue to create fans of his unique blend of country music. “I am all about the live show. I’ve played venues all over the country because of the racetrack thing but now we are getting back in the lane to play some country venues,” North says. Be sure to follow PJ North on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for all upcoming announcements!
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