Interview with Acclaimed Artist and Music Producer J. Glaze

J. Glaze (Josh Glazer) is a critically acclaimed music producer, artist and trumpet player from Washington, DC.  Influenced by jazz and classic hip-hop, his modern life experiences shine through his use of technology and contemporary trends in popular music.  His songs have been used by Nike, Apple, Disney, Netflix, Honda, Taco Bell, Samsung and many more. 

J. Glaze is a masterful trumpeter, whose techniques alongside his entertaining quality and energy make him instantly a favorite. He is equally respected as a producer with his own successful company J. Glaze Productions.  

As a producer, J. Glaze has made a huge contribution to arts by introducing many aspiring musicians to the industry. He has been essential to the success and creative realization of a string of great hits. Today, J. Glaze continues to shape the landscape of soulful hip-hop music.

J. Glaze, during Jazztronauts performance

Interview with Acclaimed Artist and Music Producer J. Glaze

NY Elite Magazine: Can you tell us about growing up and life before getting into the music industry?

J. Glaze: I was fortunate to grow up in a middle-class suburb of Washington, DC.  My public school system had a great music program, and I was introduced to musical instruments in the fourth grade. I chose the trumpet because everyone wanted to play sax, and I wanted to be alternative. I excelled early on and was part of a jazz group in high school that played private corporate events and parties.  We got paid well, especially as kids.  From that point on, I knew my true calling was to make music.

NY Elite Magazine: How has Covid impacted your schedule of rehearsals and concerts?

J. Glaze: Covid has been terrible for live performances.  During the summer, we were able to perform outdoors, but the winter has been tough.  We shifted some of our sets online and are still able to rehearse and produce albums.  But I relocated to Florida, so anything “in person” is pretty much on hold. Technology is a blessing, and I have done more virtual sessions in the past year than I had in my entire life before that.  Of course, physical meetings are the best, but virtual sessions have their advantages.  For example, from Florida I did a session with a writer in New York, and an artist in Los Angeles, at the same time.  That would be physically impossible in real life.

NY Elite Magazine: How do you maintain a positive attitude and mental toughness through these challenges?

J. Glaze: Challenges are inevitable, but I try to actively practice intentional gratitude, even during tough times.  Things can always be worse, and I am aware of how many people have it much harder than I do.  By being grateful for the little things, we attract more positivity into our lives. Life is short, so I attempt to enjoy each day to the maximum by working on projects that I am passionate about.  When I’m focusing on music and other blessings in my life, I don’t have much time to be negative.

NY Elite Magazine: As a trumpet player, how do you practice to improve?

J. Glaze: Being a trumpet player is a lifestyle.  Practice time is a serious commitment because it’s impossible to fake a brass instrument.  Anyone can sit at a piano and bang out a few notes. But to develop the lip muscles required to create a rich sound takes years.  Hours of daily practice are required to maintain what we call “chops.”   I play every day, only taking off maybe 4 days a year or so.  I bring it everywhere.  My neighbors can vouch for that haha. My practice consists of calisthenic exercises for an hour in the morning, studying new songs and reading music for an hour in the afternoon, and in the evening, an hour of improvisation, jazz and fun.

NY Elite Magazine: What is your favorite piece to play on the trumpet?

J. Glaze: It varies, but right now, “Take Five,” by Dave Brubeck or “Song for my Father” by Sonny Rollins.  The late 1950’s and  1960’s is the best period of Jazz to me.

NY Elite: When and where was your most memorable performance?

J. Glaze: A hip-hop band that I produce and perform with named The Higher Concept opened up for Talib Kweli at Highline Ballroom in NYC in 2012.  It was our biggest crowd. The energy was off the wall.

NY Elite Magazine: What do you love about NY and being an artist in NY? How different is that from Florida?

J. Glaze: Currently I am in a small city in Florida named Sarasota. It doesn’t really compare to New York, because the population is much smaller.  It is actually similar to the town I grew up in.  But thanks to the internet, I am still able to connect with artists all over the world.  The best thing about New York are the likeminded hard working people striving to achieve common goals.  The “New York State of mind” as we call it.  The second-best thing is the pizza.

NY Elite Magazine: What advice would you give to parents who are considering getting trumpet lessons for their children?

J. Glaze: Try not to over think it. Any private lessons will be better than nothing.  I used to only go once per week for 30 minutes, and it was enough to make me excel far past my classmates.

NY Elite Magazine: What inspires you and what makes you want to keep producing music?

J. Glaze: It’s hard to define where inspiration comes from. I am not a religious person, but it seems like ideas come into my brain through some type of divine intervention, like gifts from God, or The Universe, or whatever you want to call it.  I just feel blessed to have not yet run out of ideas.  And I don’t plan on stopping until I have a real hit record, as measured by Billboard or Grammys. Desiring to be the best at anything I do is also inspiring. On a smaller scale, my family comforts, and material goals motivate me as well.  But mostly, I just can’t imagine not spending my days making music.

NY Elite Magazine: How did you get started as a producer and how long have you been producing for?

J. Glaze: I started producing music in high school, 20 years ago now.  I excelled as a trumpet player, but rather than just playing one instrument in a 30-piece band, I took more of an interest in the overall song and arrangement.  I also happened to be listening to a lot of hip-hop at the time.  I wanted to compose beats like Dr. Dre, Q-Tip, and DJ Premier. So, when I was 16, I got my first drum machine and recording software, and was off to the races.

NY Elite Magazine: Can you tell us about your collaboration with Kor. How did the “On My Way” project come about and why you were excited to work with Kor on this song?

J. Glaze: I have been working with Kor since 2008.  We actually met working at the same restaurant, where we made a living while starting out in the music industry. Since then, we’ve made dozens of songs.  The latest project came about as a culmination of some of that work.   He was due to drop an album, and we have so many gems just sitting in the catalog.  One of the more interesting aspects of working with Kor, is incorporating traditional Albanian instruments, like the Çiftelia and Fyell.  We would often sample these Albanian folk instruments into modern beats.  It always came out great.

NY Elite Magazine: What are some of your other recent projects?

J. Glaze: I have a few personal projects that I am excited about.  1WayTKT is a DJ duo where I play trumpet while my partner spins funky house music.  Another one is The Jazztronauts, a jazz group in New York. Everything we do is completely improvised.  Also, I released music as J. Glaze last year as well.  My last release, “Caldera,” is out now.  I also recently launched an online beatstore

NY Elite Magazine: Are there any other artists you have produced, that you would like to highlight in terms of creativity and bringing a new sound to the music industry?

J. Glaze: Creatively, the 3 projects mentioned above give me the most freedom, because they are my own personal projects.  This enables me to take sonic risks, without it being at the expense of anyone else’s careers.  But the project that I am most proud of, not just sonically, but also in terms of generating plays and commercial interest is Tyrone Briggs.  We found a lane in epic, soulful, anthemic hip-hop, and we have really fallen into a great groove. Our music has been licensed by many top companies and brands.

NY Elite Magazine : What are a few key lessons you’ve learned about producing that other aspiring musicians and producers could take advice from?

J. Glaze: I try to approach everything with a beginner’s mind, as if I know nothing.  Each song is a fresh new canvas and should be approached with no preconceived notions or habits.  By being completely wide open, I can tune into the divine frequencies mentioned above.  I also take pride in my ability to be collaborative, insisting on resolutions that please all parties instead of win/lose situations.   Too often we force ourselves to choose “this or that,” without considering the third option to have it all.

NY Elite Magazine: What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects and exciting things happening in the future?

J. Glaze: 2021 will see a continued branding of J. Glaze “the artist.”  I am working on a new website and marketing campaign for my online beat store. I upload new tracks to my YouTube channel weekly. Be sure to subscribe to stay up to date on exclusive new content.

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