Rapper, producer, and singer-songwriter AJ La Joya has been surrounded by music his entire life. As a child, he spent hours rummaging through his parent’s vast record collection; a musical gumbo of sounds ranging from Jazz, R&B, and his personal favorite, 90’s Hip-hop. He would often find himself recreating his favorite songs on the piano by ear and freestyling over video game theme songs.
Drawing inspiration from a range of artists like Kendrick Lamar to Tracy Chapman, and Doja Cat to Stevie Wonder, AJ La Joya unapologetically does what feels right for him no matter the genre.
The eclectic instrumentation on AJ La Joya’s latest soundscape allows us to delve into a gritty, bass-forward arrangement that sits with you deep to your core. “Make It Happen,” carries a mysterious, yet buoyant vigor that immediately pulls you into its embrace the moment you press play.
AJ La Joya has a way with his alluring delivery that makes you feel as if he’s extending a personal invitation for you to listen to the carefully crafted words he expressively performs. He does so with an animated sense of confidence that effortlessly drips from the speakers with an amalgamation of ease and urgency.
Giving off a West Coast meets the South type of energy in “Make It Happen,” we have to admit, we are absolutely obsessed with this showcase of melodies. The character that is held within this record makes you want to match the inimitable swagger of AJ La Joya as he smoothly transitions between his well-executed verses and spellbinding hook. It’s hard not to want to learn all of the words to “Make It Happen,” when you hear lyrics such as, ‘If you don’t know me then check the pedigree.’
Reminding us to never underestimate the underdog, this track inspired by AJ La Joya’s California upbringing has us spiraling into infectious energy displayed.
Welcome to BuzzMusic, AJ La Joya! Big congratulations on the release of “Make It Happen;” we love how the energy of this track comes just in time to match the summer weather! What inspired you to write about this narrative heard? Thank you! Make It Happen was inspired by my Californian upbringing. I pretty much lived everywhere in Cali but I was born in the LA area (Inglewood) and have roots there. When I came across this beat, I instantly fell in love with it and it reminded me of that swaggy west coast vibe I’m familiar with. From a lyrical standpoint, I wanted to write something that was a reflection of who I am and where I come from. My family instantly came to mind as I was writing the first verse. My family tree is filled with business owners, educators, and leaders who defied the odds and accomplished some pretty cool things in life. That same tenacity and drive are what fuels me in my own endeavors. The second verse calls out all the people that doubt my abilities. It’s loosely based on an experience I had with a nay-sayer. I really didn’t let it bother me too much. Instead of allowing that situation to tear me down, I flipped it and created art.
How do you manage to rise above it all and stay motivated when perceived as an underdog? It’s a combination of two things. My faith and my love for music. I grew up in a spiritual household and several lessons stuck close to my heart. Firstly, it’s important to have the faith of a mustard seed and secondly, your words have power. Mustard seeds start as these tiny little things but end up growing into these massive trees! If you just keep the faith, put in the work, and be disciplined about it, you can succeed in whatever you want. It all starts with speaking things into existence and being positive! Sometimes it can get tough, but I always kept these teachings in mind to accomplish my goals. It’s crazy how I can look back at some of the things I wrote down years ago and I ended up manifesting it. When it came to music, I’ve always been passionate about it. I did things that naturally pushed me closer to it but I doubted myself. At the time, I thought I could never make a career out of it. That self-doubt was something that took time for me to grow out of, but 2020 was the thing that gave me the kick in the ass to reevaluate some things. I’m on this Earth once so I need to make the most of it. I eat, breathe, and dream about music 24/7. It’s something that I love and it’s what I’m meant to do. I’m gonna make this sh*t happen no matter what!
Could you please share a glimpse of what the creative process looked like when structuring this song together? So the lyrics to Make It Happen were fairly quick to write. It took me an afternoon to finish writing the song. I spent more time on it during the recording process in my home studio (aka living room). I really wanted to perfect my delivery on this one because the song felt like a new era for me. I got more familiar with my voice and how to record it. Once I got it to the level where I wanted it, I collaborated with my audio engineer whom I found on social media a month or so before working on this song. We collaborated and he was able to take the song to new levels.
How does the upbeat essence of “Make It Happen,” compare to other songs heard in your music catalog? In my opinion, Make It Happen is a more polished effort from me. It was my first time collaborating with an audio engineer to take my sound to the next level. The song still follows the basic formula I have for my music and it's to have no formula. I’m all about doing what comes naturally and giving my audience a variety. I grew up with various genres and that really influences how I operate. I’m always going to give you raps or singing but I like to keep my listeners on their toes. For example, the vibe of my next release is very much pop/synth-wave. I’m so stoked about that one! It reveals another side of me that I haven't revealed before.