Love & Hip Hop: New York reality star Jhonni Blaze is on fire and making a name for herself in the music industry with her latest single, "Ride or Die" with Fetty Wap. The hit song has over 300,000 hits on her SoundCloud account and the reality star turned singer opens up about her passion for music, leaving Rich Dollaz's Dollaz Unlimited Management and focusing on telling her life story through her music and what her relationship status with Bobby V is in an exclusive interview with Music Times.
Music Times: How does it feel to have 300,000 views on your "Ride or Die" single?
Jhonni Blaze: It's a good feeling. It's exciting, it makes me smile a lot. I'm lost for words honestly. And it's a humbling feeling.
MT: I saw you twerk just to celebrate.
JB: I figured I'd bring it back real quick.
MT: How did you team up with Fetty Wap?
JB: I do this thing on Instagram where I shout out artist of the week, like the week before I put him up I put Sade because that's one of my favorite artists in the world. And then I put up Janelle Monáe and then I put up Fetty Wap. And I always DM the people that I post saying I do music and he told me to meet up with him and let's do a record. And I flew to New Jersey and the rest is history.
MT: How did the song come about, was it written by you?
JB: He writes all his stuff, I write all my stuff. And then his producer, which is People, he did the record and we just vibed and I took it back to Houston and worked it out with my engineer in Houston and we laid out my verse. And the song came out great, he actually loved it.
MT: It's very popular, I see everybody doing a Dubsmash to it and singing to it. When should we expect a music video?
JB: Hopefully soon. We put it on SoundCloud just to see the reaction that people had and there's great comments, of course I have to put out. But it'll be very, very soon.
MT: You used to dance to trap music and up-tempo beats but you're more soulful, is that the track you want to stay on with your music?
JB: I'm open to anything. I think that's why people get confused like, 'Oh, is she R&B, is she pop, is she soulful?' I do everything. I write, I play six instruments, I enjoy classical music. My Pandora has mostly Beethoven, Sade, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Mariah Carey. And then I have all the new people but mine is mostly from that background so going back to what type of music I do, I do everything. I'm definitely trying to just do music period, I don't want to be in a genre. However you label me or the music that you hear is what you feel, your opinion.
MT: Who's your major influence in music?
JB: I would say Sade, of course, and I like Beyoncé's story, just how she kept staying dedicated to what she wanted to do and she's well rounded. She grew up and she ended up being the most successful person in the music business. You look at stuff like that and you take it in with your life and you try to just work really hard because hard work pays off. So, I would say Sade and Beyoncé. I like to look at stuff from back then and then what's now, and those two would be my influences.
MT: When should we expect your album? And do you have a title?
JB: Right now I'm just focusing on the single and then after that I wanted to put out a mixtape. So I think that is my next project and then go for the album. Things take time, things take a lot of time and I just don't want to put out anything that's not the way I want it to be. So that's why I took a lot of time and made sure the songs that I put out people enjoy, and that's basically where I'm at. So I would say if not the end of this year, the beginning of next year definitely.
MT: Have you been approached by any major labels or independents?
JB: I've had some offers that I can't speak of. Right now I think we're just trying to see what else is out there also. But we have offers here and there and it's exciting and overwhelming. We'll have to see, there's some definitely on the table though.
MT: You've said you play six instruments. What are those and how long did it take to perfect them?
JB: The piano started first because my grandparents used to have this keyboard in the house and when I was young I used to bang on it and get in trouble for it. So one day, every time my grandparents would leave the house, I would mess with the keyboard. One Christmas I actually played the whole "Für Elise" and they let me stay on that keyboard ever since. Growing up in high school I used to skip school and go to this college in New York and it had a music room, I used to go in there play on the instruments, guitars and stuff. In middle school I would go in the choirs and enroll in that. I did singing and I took acting classes and ballet. And it just became an addiction for me, I loved it. Ever since I was kid, in the church I would go in the choir when the choir and the church was out I would be the one that waits until everybody leaves and I would play on all the instruments and just teaching myself. I don't know where I picked it up from. I was just infatuated with it and it just became something I loved, the passion.
A video posted by Jhonni Blaze (@theonlyjhonniblaze) on Jun 15, 2015 at 9:32pm PDT
A video posted by Jhonni Blaze (@theonlyjhonniblaze) on Jun 15, 2015 at 9:34pm PDT
MT: Do you think this platform that you have on VH1 has helped you or hurt you?
JB: Both. It helped me because people pay attention now. Like they're totally glued to everything I post, what I say, what I wear, what I don't wear — and you need that. If they're not talking about you then you're not doing anything right, you must not be doing anything right. But I feel like it helped me with that and it also hurt me because I showed all the negative about me. And that's okay with me, I'd rather me show it than anybody else. So it's kind of like a 50/50, but it's not bad. I mean, if you sign up for it you know what's going on. You expose your life, you show people your life. And I think people are so stuck on that that they can't see the other side of me. But it's cool, it's all about hard work and people will eventually accept you or they don't
MT: You have an interesting background. Do you ever plan on writing a book possibly selling you story and putting it on the screen?
JB: I never want to sell my story and I never want to write a book about my life. I remember when I was like 19/20 I'm like, "Yo, I got a crazy life I'm going to write a book and I'm going to put it out and tell my life." And I'd rather not do that now because why put a book out when I could put it in my music and just tell it? And people love it, millions of people love about it through my music. And why not, when I do get established and do become this bigger artist, just show my life through music? I think maybe when I get older maybe a book, but it won't be anything that serious. I think things that happened in life, especially as an artist, you should always write it. Because you never know how many other millions of people might be going through that. And they need that.
MT: Who manages your career now?
JB: I just started working about for three months with a guy named Jason, who does my booking. Then a guy named Rex, we've been together for about three months. I decided not to work with Rich due to personal reasons and we just parted our ways. Nothing bad to say about him or anything like that, just we had differences. So those are the people that manage me now.
MT: Is your beef with his girlfriend, Moniece Slaughter finally over?
JB: I don't want to talk about that because my single has got 300,000 hits on SoundCloud and I'm excited about that. That's what matters. I got a hot record with a talented artist and I grind so I don't know what other people do in their ratchet life. But I have 300,000 hits on SoundCloud and it's a wonderful feeling and I'm humble and happy.
MT: I've seen a lot of photos and videos of you and Bobby V. Are you guys an item or just real close friends?
JB: Me and Bobby like to hang out, we're cool. I'm friends with a lot of people and he even said that he likes the 300,000 hits that I got on SoundCloud with Fetty Wap.