I met him as Justin Hoskin. Then, I saw him performing as J.G. Gates. But whatever you call him, once he picks up a microphone, you can't deny that he took you to church...which happens to be the theme for the recent single and video by Ray Goss, entitled Preach. The video features J.G. Gates's signature, straight-out-tha-pulpit vocals and a rustic narrative of StL life on the come up. There's even footage of somebody makin' it rain on dem hos in the club.
I asked J.G. to visit Uranus for a moment to discuss his life, his liberty, and his pursuit of musical happiness. Uranians, Earthlings, and folks of other planets, meet Gates tha Great!
Blue: Where are you from and what hood do you claim?
Gates: I'm from Collinsville but I claim E. St. Louis, IL
B: How did you get started in music?
G: The stereotypical place: Church. But as far as a career in music, when I was around 14 years old I joined the group called Strictly Business. That's where it truly began.
B: Tell us a little about your background and share some highlights from your life as a performer.
G: As I said I started in groups learning harmonies and the importance of them. I'd say my first actual time singing was when I was about 4. I got up in church tugged my Dad's coat tail and told him I wanted to sing because he was doing it. After high school I went solo from the groups and tried to "find myself" as an artist.
B: You've auditioned for The X Factor, American Idol, Sunday Best, and most recently, The Voice. How have these experiences affected you as an artist?
G: The auditions were interesting. They always had me meeting cool people but really they're not geared towards artists. They gear towards trends. I'm not about that.
B: What do you love most about the music business? What could you do without?
G: I love music the most, pure wonderful music. I hate the business and how it takes the place of the actual music.
B: If you could share a 5th of Jack with any historical figure from the past, present or future, who would it be and what would you ask them?
G: From the past I'd have to say Marvin Gaye and I'd ask him how did he come up with all of those melodies and harmonies that he would double up on his songs. In the present I'd have to say Jay Z just because I think it would be really cool to pick his brain.
B: If you could go back in time, what would you tell 15 year old Justin?
G: I'd tell 15 year old Justin do better in school so that you don't have to struggle while you make your art. Take college seriously it's not just a party. And stay out dem streets!
B: What is your artistic mission?
G: My mission is to be free musically; to really do whatever I feel is dope. I don't want to be pigeonholed. Also for the people listening to know that I put my heart into each song.
B: What's next for Justin Hoskin, aka, J.G. Gates?
G: I'm working on a project currently...well I should say its in the concept stages for next year. I'm really taking my time to do it right. also I'm working with my boy Ray Goss trying to further his career in the meantime. I'm also working with a couple of friends on the group Zoulful just making good old fashion soul music.
B: Any last words for your supporters and fans?
G: God first; everything else will be added unto you. Be true to who you are because when you're not people can tell.
B: Where can the people find you?
G: Can find me on Facebook under Justin M. Hoskin on Twitter @gatesthagreat instagram @gates_thagreat
Thanks for visiting Uranus!
Watch the official video for Preach pt 2 by Ray Goss ft. J.G. Gates