A unique artist, Gonz has always had a passion for music. A native of Philadelphia, the local rapper and singer had his first live performance back in 2009. From that point on, Gonz continued to work with major acts such as DMX, Nas, Fat Joe, Fabolous, The Burgeoning, Meek Mills and etc.
His musical influences include Michael Jackson, MC Hammer, Prince, Fugees, and whole lot of other classics. Though his style of music is still a work in progress, his ability to make himself diverse in different genres of music makes him a true artist. So if you want to here some good Hip- hop music with a nice beat and flow with an amazing voice that blends perfectly, then check out GONZ!
Q & A
1.) How did you come up with the name Gonz?
My nickname “GONZ” started off as Gonzalez. Then, it got shortened to Gonzo then finally just Gonz. Basically, there were two Justin’s on the same block that I grew up on. It was just too confusing since we were always playing ball together or just hanging out. So everyone started calling me Gonz from that point on. I will admit it does feel weird hearing my real name sometimes.
2.) What is the drive or motivation behind your success?
So far it’s just been a natural love for the art of music! I want everyone to feel what I feel when I make my music. Even though getting paid is nice too, I enjoy the responses from my fans. When a song of mine touches someone I feel good inside. It let’s me know that all my time and work is worth it!
3.) How would you describe your style of music?
My style of music in my opinion is still a work in progress. Right now its a mxture of hip-hop and R&B style. Along with an indie twist that I perform live with The Burgeoning. Sounds interesting, but on the other hand I feel like there is so much more to me. Other than my music that I have currently recorded. I feel like the music I want to make is still in the making. I’m still learning, so I guess you guys will have to wait and see.
4.) Do you have any musical or major influences?
When I was a kid, I was rarely allowed to listen to rap music. So pretty much, MJ was a non-stop jam in my house. Along with MC Hammer, Prince, Fugees, and Lenny Kravitz and whole lot of other classics. My first Hip hop album I actually ever listened to was The Punisher album by Big Pun lol. I would sneak it out of my dad’s walkman at night. Then, I would place it back in the morning before he woke. But, I will say it was totally worth it.
5.) When and where was your first performance?
My first show was in 2009 at the Silo in Reading, PA was definitely memorable. I was nervous, shaking out of control, and drinking too much. The music started playing and the place got packed. When I started spitting my rhyme, I got tongue twisted halfway through the track. I stopped dead in the middle of the track and felt so embarrassed.
Getting booed off the stage, it felt like the longest night of my life. I never failed at anything till that point and it felt horrible. To be honest, that moment did make me a better artist today. It taught me to take my craft more serious. So now I prep about a good 72 hours before a show. To make sure that I am in character when I get on stage.
6.) Could you see yourself doing anything other than music?
Before music, I was a major golfer. I became a ranked player in PA and even moved down to Myrtle Beach to go pro. Unfortunately, it did work out as I planned but, I will always have another shot. Golf is a sport where age doesn’t matter as much its pure skill. In the future I can also see myself getting into acting. that’s just something I’ve always wanted to get involved with but the focus is on music right now the rest will fall in place when its time I truly believe that.
7.) What is something that you want to do, but have not done yet?
Travel! One place really want to visit is Australia! I’ve herd so many good things and the two people I met from Australia have to be the two most interesting people I ever met just so deep but polite and welcoming at the same time. In a 30 minute conversation I wanted to just drop whatever I was doing and hop on a plane to see where they came from and live maybe even grow as a person.
8.) What are some of your accomplishments and downfalls that you have had?
Well some of my accomplishments are performing on just about every major stage in the Tri-state. I have performed with Major acts like DMX, Nas, Fat Joe, Fabolous and Meek Mills. I have independently released to solo projects and made money from both as well. My down falls are my online networking skills I’m just so lazy when it comes to the social media stuff and because of that I think it has hindered my growth as an artist. I have not done my best to network at all but I finally get it! It’s not about good or bad music it’s about your network into days world the internet is our portal to untapped viewers, followers, fans etc… it’s our job as an artist to listen and respond! So that’s what I’ve been working on how to connect!
9.) How is it like working with The Burgeoning?
We always have a good time working with each other every session is honest and just real. We have these jam sessions that are so epic and amazing. It blows all of our minds of how talented we are when focused. The sounds we make together to me is our sound of the future we just don’t have anything on wax yet but when it happens look out because it’s going to be so fresh everyone is going to want to pump the new sounds. The best part about working with my family is how hard we are on each other. If its good we all know and when its bad you get called out! The honesty between us is what makes us so powerful when it all comes together.
10.) What other new projects are you working on at the moment?
Currently I am working on a video for the song “While I’m Here” produced by Piano Boi. The record is from my most recent album Winter Fever with BSMG this spring. It’s going to be a fun video that everyone gets a chance to show who they are. As well as whatever it is that they live for. As far as a new music I’m working with The Burgeoning, Do the Producer, Roach Carter, and a few others on some really cool music I am calling “Personality”. I choose that because I feel music today lacks personality. The release date still in the air but, I do have about 3 tracks written so far it sounds really good.
11.) Where can people find your music?
A few places Gonzmusic.com ITunes Amazon Band Camp pretty everywhere.
12.) What lies ahead in the future for Gonz?
Well I took a long hard look at what I have accomplished as an artist. In the future I want to really impact people from every direction possible. I want to make music that we all can embrace and not just listen to. Whether it’s for a season or be part of a trend that is a waste of time. I want my visuals to be meaningful not jsut something seen in a music video. I want my shows to be an experience instead of a underground talent show. Also, make classic organic honest music that always has a real feeling and meaning! That’s what the future is for me being more honest and creative the rest will fall in place!