We’re about five days left before the 59th Annual Grammy Awards kick off, which has us buzzing with excitement. From The Recording Academy changing the rules to allow streaming to hopefully witnessing tons of our stars taking home golden gramophones — this year’s festivity will be history in the making. For Bryan Sledge—better known as BJ The Chicago Kid—this marks the time when his hard work has paid off and the price of his performance has gone up!
Nominated in three categories: “Best R&B Performance,” “Best Traditional R&B Performance” and “Best R&B Album,” this award ceremony could cap what has been a stellar 2016-2017 season for the Chicago native. After performing at this year’s Trumpet Awards, dropping his sophomore album, In My Mind and blessing the nation with a stirring rendition of the National Anthem at President Barack Obama‘s final address — the Grammy nominated singer-songwriter is impacting music fans with his brand of soulful funk.
Shortly after learning about his nomination, we quickly put into action an interview request to see how he was feeling about the accolades. Below, you’ll be able to read the results. Enjoy this bit of Grammy Week content, as we chat it up with BJ The Chicago Kid about his love for Chicago, his thoughts on the competition, Donald Drumpf and why his 2017 plans may take him away from music (for a while).
Okayplayer: The first question I have is pretty easy, bruv. What was watching your first Grammy Awards on TV like?
BJ The Chicago Kid: It was great. It was me learning what this gala was about that everybody lived for. To me, the Grammys for an artist is a graduation. Like a championship game being played in the NBA. This is a musician’s Super Bowl and it is what we all play for. Understanding that is totally respectable as a talent, matter of fact, if everybody has tuxes and nice dresses for it — I guess the Grammys are the grand gala, y’know what I mean?
OKP: When you watched the Grammys as a family — what sort of impression did it make on you as a then-budding musician?
BJ: It definitely created a seed of always wanting to be a part of it. Always wanting to have my day, my time, my moment on that red carpet and it is crazy to me now that that time has come.
OKP: Where were you when they announced the Grammy nominations?
BJ: Actually, I was at my studio, taking a nap on the couch. I had just laid down after recording, so say it was about 4:45 a.m., maybe 5-ish. My phone started ringing at 6:00 in the morning. I was just finally getting some rest, y’know. The phone just kept ringing. I was like I’m not going to answer. It kept ringing for an hour straight. ‘Lord, let everybody be alright,’ was what I kept thinking. Before I call anybody back, I open up the phone and I see a bunch of congratulatory text messages. You know how you can preview them before you open the message?
OKP: Yeah, you see the little message in preview…
BJ: Yeah, right, so I am just scrolling down and it was a bunch of congratulation messages. “On the Grammy nomination,” it said, and as I scrolled down more it said, “three,” and the number was big as shit. I then began to open the messages and man, was my mind blown since then. I cried, I prayed, called my management, called my baby and just was so excited and overcome with joy. It was, wow, just a crazy, crazy moment and a beautiful day.
OKP: Now, it is no secret that you’ve put in a lot of work these past few years. We as fans have either seen, heard or caught your pen game at work, and it seems like the hard work is paying off. But, as the saying goes, the grind doesn’t stop. So, once the Grammys are over, what are your 2017 plans?