Hailing from Frederick, Maryland, MC Milton J started out as a solo artist and then formed his band Milton J and The Leftovers in 2009.
The hiphop rock alternative band got the opportunity to share the stage with major artists such as Redman, Rehab, Nappy Roots, Mayday, Ces Cru, Almost Kings, and Super Bob.
Their latest single “Never Run” got featured on the hifi nation Youtube channel and reached over 12 000 views.
Along with his band, Milton J has been working on a collaborative project with American hiphop producer Charlemagne (Jay Z, Mary J Blige, Jermaine Dupri…) and released two singles “Reach Out” and “Mistakes” now available.
Milton J and his band will be releasing new music in January 2018.
My name is Milton J.
I represent two groups: “Milton J X @RealCharlemagne” a combo of legendary Bronx producer Charlemagne and yours truly. My second group is “Milton J and The Leftovers” from Frederick, Md. We are an unique fusion of hiphop rock and alternative.
When did you start making music?
I started when I was 9 years old when I wrote a rap song for my fourth grade talent show.
What do you like the most about songwriting?
The best part of writing a song is being able to release the built up creativity and emotion on to pen and paper. I’m truly able to let life go when I let the pen bleed.
Could you tell us about your latest projects?
My record “Reach Out” with Charlemagne is about being able to continue no matter how many times you fail in our path. This industry is full of lies and let downs. You’re often at a loss and out of luck. Someone is always trying to take advantage of you. This track is meant to give you strength in times where you truly feel like you can’t push forward anymore.
I also released another single “Mistakes” with Charlemagne which is doing great and has almost 18k views on the YouTube channel “I AM HIP HOP” which is big for an underground artist like me.
I also released a single with my band called “Never Run” on the YouTube channel “Hifi Nation” and has over 12k views.
How did you get to work with Charlemagne? How was it like to work with him?
I started working with Charlemagne from a parking lot charity show in Silver Spring md. His brother Randy saw my group “Milton J and The Leftovers” play at this lot and fell in our sound. He showed my music to Charlemagne and the OG liked it. I decided to drive up to the Bronx and speak to him once I heard that he liked my music. I wanted to show him how serious I was. It worked. I got some beats from the legend and we started working together. It’s incredible that the relationship started from a charity show in a parking lot.
You are from Frederick, Maryland. Could you tell us about the music scene out there?
The scene in Frederick MD still has a lot of growing to do. Although we play often in Frederick I would say the most support we’ve gotten is from the Baltimore scene. We started as a hiphop group with our first shows in Baltimore and then evolved into a band. I do have love for the Baltimore and the DMV in general and that includes Frederick especially.
Could you tell us about your band Milton J and The Leftovers? What are the advantages of being part of a band?
My group originated in Frederick Md. We made our mark in the industry since 2009. Starting out as a solo artist, I formed the Leftovers with drummer Garret Hall, bassist Edward Hong, and DJ Silverio Montano along the way. The group name came from an inside joke. Milton J had a b-side album called “Leftovers”, because kitchen leftovers are as best as the leftover tracks of an artist that make a b-side record. Members of the group liked the idea so much they adopted the name for the band.
The advantages of a band is the high quality energetic performances and the ability to have multiple people hustling your brand. I’ve been able to get a lot of new fans just from the performances. However it’s also harder because you need to move as a unit and therefore, it takes more work to keep things organized and to rehearse. If you’re with people you can trust and have your back then the band will work best, but it’s often not the case.
You’ve played many shows in the US. Do you have any favorite memory?
My favorite show was the day my son was born. It was a small gig in Frederick in a venue called “That Cuban Place”. I had just experienced my child being born and then walked over to the venue. The crowd was 100 deep and packed. I walked on stage and announced my son was born and the crowd went nuts. We then proceeded to play an incredible show. Best day of my life.
My favorite road show was in North Philly. We were quickly dismissed at the venue we were at and did not get a set until the end of the show. As the crowd was already starting to leave, I quickly thanked anyone who would stay for our set and began to play. The crowd went nuts, returned inside and rushed the stage. It was a lesson to never judge a crowd by their appearance, as anything can happen.
Describe the life on tour. What’s the best and hardest part?
The best part of being on tour is meeting new faces and people in your life who can change it for the best. You also feel that you’re doing something worthwhile and with purpose.
The hardest part is the financial end, lack of sleep, proper nutrition, and you can start to lose your mind in the same car with the same dudes. haha
In all though touring is the point of making music. The point is to touch new people and inspire.
What are the things you are the most proud of as an artist and as a human being?
I’m most proud of my persistence as a human and musician. I’ve failed so many times and still continue to do so. But I never stop. I always get back up. That’s the difference between me and most musicians.
I’m also proud of the catalog and content I’ve established so far for my age. It takes time, money and dedication but I continue to release music and videos and do shows.
Just as a human - I’m most proud of my child and circle of loved ones. I’m blessed and don’t deserve to have them in my life. In the end that’s all that matters.
What advices would you give to the us ones who’d like to pursue their dreams?
Never stop or take breaks. Be able to hurt your pride and get screwed over. You must take your wins and loses where you can. The come up is full of losses and sacrifices.
Read as much as possible about your industry and the elements of its business.
Music is 20% of the work. The hardest part and other 80% is perfecting your business. I cannot say that enough. You must always be networking in person and online. You must push your tracks like it’s the last track you’ll ever make.
What do you think of today’s music industry? Is there anything you’d like to change about it?
It’s got its positives and negatives. There are many avenues pushing your music and communicate with your fans. However a lot of the work still ends up being luck. Still, you cannot wait to be lucky, you must always hustle like you’re alone because in reality you almost always are. I wish fans were more loyal and less entitled as well. The streaming world and massive amount of music have made fans or listeners spoiled and quick to judge an artist in their regards to “relevance”, which is just perspective. And it holds no value in the long run as an artist. I rather have a cult following than be hot for the next 15mins.
The music industry can sometimes be tough. What’s the biggest challenge?
Being heard. So much content out now. It’s hard to cut through that noise and push your brand. From getting into the right venues, building your base, developing relationships online to pushing your music, making real fans and not casual fans. It’s a process of two steps forward and one step back that never ends.
2017 is quickly coming to an end. What are the lessons learned?
Only trust yourself. People will always put themselves out there to help you hustle but you always must hustle like you’re alone out there because 9/10 times, that “helper” is full of shit and won’t sacrifice like you. This goes from promo to recording, making videos, touring, basically everything. It’s impossible to do it all by yourself but you have to try as hard as you can.
Stay independent until you have leverage for your brand. Anyone trying to give you a deal when you don’t have a strong base is trying to fuck you.
Find the most effective process to release content and just continue dropping music. You can’t go wrong if you’re always releasing content and doing shows.
Stay as positive as you can. Your positivity and hope will get you through the darkest days.
How do you feel about making music at a time where the world is going through so much pain?
The world has always had this pain in my opinion. In my humble opinion, the change is that the corruption and injustice are now in our faces and broadcasted to all economic classes and impossible to ignore. But the pain, violence and ignorance has always been there. Especially once you travel and take a look around at your own country and especially outside of the nation when you venture into developing nations. The music has always been necessary and especially now to fight this. Music unites our species and we need to play it loud.
As a writer, do you feel some kind of “responsibility” towards the listeners?
I care for our fans immensely and would do anything for them. I think that responsibility will become more apparent to me as I continue my path though. Once my fan base is larger I’m sure I’ll see a clearer consequence of my words to my listeners.
What message do you want to deliver to the world?
I want to change someone’s perspective. The artists that changed my world were the best things that happened to me. They helped me grow into a man and I become more empathetic. I want to have that effect on a listener.
Who are you currently working with? Are you planning on releasing new music soon?
Yes I will be releasing two singles in January - “Time Waits For No Man” and the “Fools Stand Alone”. I plan on touring In January with The Veer Union to push horse singles and build the excitement for our album that will be released in 2018.
All info will be on my site - MiltonJmusic.com and you can follow us in the journey @Miltonjmusic for IG/Twitter/soundcloud/YouTube All linked to my site.
What’s your purpose?
To change someone’s life and inspire with my music, and to raise my son the right way. To push more love than hate in my existence (something I’m working on everyday as I’m not perfect).
Connect with Milton J and The Leftovers: