Multifaceted rapper J Carlyle has spoken about his latest single, how working in mental health has influenced his music and life during lockdown.
The rapper and poet released Intruder Alert earlier this year, with the single following his 2020 debut EP Calculating The Ifs.
A passionate supporter of using music as a positive tool and escape for those struggling with a variety of mental health issues, Carlyle said: “I consider myself an advocate for mental health because it’s a topic which is extremely close to me.
“Over the last 10 years I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum from working in one of the largest mental health institutions in the East Midlands, looking after people from all walks of life.
“The experience was life changing and insightful.
“I am always open to listening to people and their stories and offering perspectives which may help them make positive choices in their lives or at least offer a different way to think about things.”
Born in London, Carlyle – who is currently studying to be a counsellor – moved to Wellingborough as a child and now lives in Northampton.
From first writing songs at the age of 15, he has always appreciated music of different styles, with reggae, old school dub, R&B and dancehall figuring highly along his life as a Grime MC, all of which has found its way into his own sound.
Intruder Alert is an upbeat and incendiary clash of styles which takes a creative view of being pestered over social media.
He said: “I’ve been pleasantly surprised that all the feedback has been positive. I wasn’t too sure on how it would be received but so far so good.”
Talking about whether his work environment has helped shape the music he makes, he said: “Using this form of creativity as a way to express yourself and share your story has been prevalent in music.
“It’s helped me to speak on things I would feel uncomfortable to talk about in normal conversation and I have also used song writing as a tool in the past to help the people I have worked with express themselves.”
Intruder Alert and Calculating The Ifs show Carlyle’s desire to make music which spans across different sounds and genres.
It was growing up on a diet of MTV and surrounding himself with different people which resulted in his broad tastes.
He added: “I can delve into a Kendrick Lamar album and I can equally vibe with System Of A Down.”
With the coronavirus bringing the live music industry to a halt coupled with Government restrictions on socialising and travel, a significant number of people spent last year in different forms of lockdown.
Talking about how such an environment can impact people and the creative process, Carlyle said: “I believe music reflects emotions so depending on what you are listening to, it can often determine your thoughts and feelings.
“The lockdowns of 2020 forced people to stay inside and reflect. Some for the worst and some for the better.
“I think more than ever people are taking the time to really figure out who they are and what they want from life.”
J Carlyle’s previous single, Forever Girl, was produced by the platinum-selling Mantra, famed for his work with artists such as Future and Rhianna.
Intruder Alert is expected to be followed by more new material this year as well as a book of poetry and spoken word.
He added: “Musically I’ve got some different styles and visuals to show my growth as an artist and hope to continue connecting with the fans. Watch this space.”