Jago Blair’s debut album to drop Sept. 11Written by Matt Liasse | | email@example.com
The sixth track on Jago Blair’s self-titled debut album is called “Roll On Blues (It’ll Be Alright)”—a phrase that has become a mantra for member Anthony Martinez.
The rapper said while recording the album, he went through a dark place emotionally for six months. It wasn’t until after when he realized everything would “be alright.”
“I just went through a weird stage mentally. I really didn’t know if my best was good enough [concerning other things], not music,” Martinez said. “But I continued to write the album and it sort of became fun; it was like putting together a puzzle. It helped me feel better. Once the album was almost done, I was back.”
Martinez said everyone has to go to that place sometimes.
“I am, right now, probably where I really need to be mentally; I just really needed to step away from the business side,” Martinez said. “I was nervous that I wasn’t alright. … [I have faith] in laying the cards out there and letting it all play out.”
Jago Blair consists of Martinez and his brother R.J. (Third member Dominic Perna recently joined.) Their album can be found online at jagoblair.com starting Sept. 11. For the record, Martinez teamed up with his brother for a mixture of hip-hop and classic rock. Although similar to the sound of The Beastie Boys or Kid Rock, Martinez said he wanted to do something different than everyone else for the record. Jago Blair’s sound is more laid back and bluesy, Martinez said.
“I didn’t want to be the guy who made the rock/rap album,” Martinez said. “I didn’t want to be that guy. … We wanted to create a new genre, in some fashion.”
R.J. said it took time for them to get comfortable with each other.
“Playing guitar and rap, it’s hard to correlate it together sometimes,” R.J. said.
Martinez, who works in marketing, said the album was in development for years. It started to form when he and his brother would get together and jam. They eventually took it more seriously and got studio time.
The brothers had a similar passion for music starting from an early age. When they were little, they would film skits and music videos to the tracks on Michael Jackson’s “HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book 1.”
“[Our dad] really pushed us to do that,” Martinez said.
From the experience, they knew they wanted to perform themselves. They would perform for their family’s events.
“Anytime we could do it, anytime we could be center stage, we would do it,” Martinez said.
The brothers were born in the South and said it influenced their music.
“Actually, I wasn’t too heavy into blues when I [lived there],” R.J. said. “But when I left Mississippi, I longed for Mississippi, so I was trying to capture anything I could take with me. I wanted it. The South is just a different flow. … Coming up north was kind of like a culture shock, so I just wanted what I knew, because that’s what I grew up with through my whole childhood.”
The album begins with an introduction track, which is half rhyming, half guitar solo. Martinez said it sets up the album’s mood. The album consists of seven tracks; others include “Away We Go,” “I Like My Loud” and “Suzie Q.”
“I suggest when you listen to this album, listen to it from beginning to end the first time and make sure you’re in the right mindset,” Martinez said. “I want people to talk about it. I want people to wonder what was going through our heads or [wonder] ‘Is this normal?’ ‘Is this right?’”
The two brothers recorded 31 songs together; the remaining 24 that didn’t make the album will soon be released in sequels to “Jago Blair,” Martinez said.
“We didn’t release the best yet,” he said.
Martinez said he continues to work to set an example for his 5-year-old son.
“If anything, to the day I die, if there’s something I want him to say about me it’s ‘I never saw him give up.’” Martinez said.