Many successful artists throughout the years have seen their fair share of trials and tribulations during their musical journey but emerging artist J. Irja knows the meaning to its core. As do most successful artists in the music industry, J. Irja uses her past encounters to articulate them into her art form, connecting with her listeners on a deeper level. Her hard work has earned her multiple opportunities to collaborate with many notable artists during her ascension to rap stardom and has opened doors for even more opportunities in the future. Check out her interview to see more about J. Irja.
J. Irja Interview
HCM. Where are you from and how did you get to this point in your career as an artist?
J. Irja. Wow, that’s a loaded question. I was born and raised in Canada, then immigrated to America in search of the American Dream with my family. We were poor and I learned early on that I was going to have to hustle to survive. That shaped me a lot, and I turned to the streets as a teenager to make money. I knew I never wanted to go without again, so I started traveling to major cities like Chicago and Detroit and hustling. Rapping was a part of the street culture I was submerged in and I took to it naturally since music was in my blood; I had always written songs and sang since I was a baby, was published for poetry, and even won awards for classical flute music.
I got knocked down so many times as an artist and individual, I ended up homeless multiple times, even ate out of a garbage can, and slept under a slide in the rain. That was a low point in my life. I had a couple abusive managers throughout the years, I would really call them pimps more than anything else. The mental, emotional, and even physical abuse I endured was horrific. I thought that was just a part of “making it” but it was beyond fathomable.
I broke free of that and settled in Dallas where I finally started to heal and find my true voice with the help of my partner Kinfolk The Plug. He encouraged me to share my REAL story and as I grew, I opened up and found my true mission: to inspire others to be themselves and follow their dreams no matter what. That’s when the Sexy Psycho Brand really took shape, that’s when I embraced my moniker The Sexy Psycho. That’s our Brand motto “Be You, Do You, No Apologies.”
There’s so much more to the story, but I guess that’s for a later time when there is more time. The rabbit hole goes so deep.
HCM. When did you know that you were going to make music a career?
J. Irja. I always knew in my heart that music was my calling. My first memory is of me on stage with a microphone in my hand. My whole life, music was my escape from the horrible things I endured. from poverty to being bullied, then being abused and so much more, music was always my way of escape. Now it’s my therapy to heal from all the things I endured. That’s why I share my story through my music because it not only heals me but shows others it is possible to heal and that they are not alone.
HCM. What musical influences did you listen to growing up helped to mold you into the artist you are today?
J. Irja. My whole life I listened to music. When I was younger I loved Pink and Eminem. I wasn’t allowed to listen to Eminem but I would sneak onto Limewire (yeah I’m dating myself there) and listen to his songs. He inspired me to speak my truth and made me feel like I wasn’t so crazy after all, that I could be myself. As a teenager and beyond I played Twista, E-40, 50 Cent, Ludacris, and Tech N9ne on repeat. I have an eclectic music taste, so I listen to all spectrums but I’d say those were my go-to’s for quite a while.
HCM. On your current/upcoming album… How did you come up with the concept for this project?
J. Irja. All of my music is always based on my life. I don’t really purposefully set out to create a concept a lot of times I just let the music flow out of me. I write what I feel, I write what I know.
HCM. What are some of your greatest challenges as an artist, and what is your greatest attribute when it comes to your work ethic?
J. Irja. It’s no secret that being a female in a male-dominated field isn’t easy. We have a lot of females making “THOT” music, well I make “THOUGHT” Music, and not everyone wants to hear a hot chick spit dope bars. But that doesn’t stop me. My work ethic is insane, and I never ever give up once I put my mind to something.
HCM. What do you think your “biggest break” or “greatest opportunity” has been so far in your musical career?
J. Irja. Getting to create music in person, in the studio with legends like Gorilla Zoe, Paul Wall, RITTZ, Lil Flip and so many more has been not only amazing but a Dream Come True. My biggest song and video to date I think would be MADE ME CRAZY ft TWISTA which I literally just dropped the music video for. Performing all of the countries, especially opening a huge concert for Tech N9ne was also immense. But I have a feeling that my biggest and best work is yet to come, so stay tuned. I have Crooked I and also Benny The Butcher on my upcoming tracks.
HCM. How do you see your sound evolving in the next couple of years?
J. Irja. Every year I evolve as an individual and artist, and I expect that my music will continue to grow as I do. I’m excited to be singing more on my tracks, as for a long time I refused to sing. Now that I found my voice again I’ll be using it a lot more.
HCM. What impression would you like listeners to be left with after hearing your music?
J. Irja. Inspiration. Motivation. I want everyone who hears my music to FEEL it, not just hear it. There is a deeper message in every song I write. Everyone who listens to my music should know it’s REAL, Authentic, that everything that comes out of my mouth is a true story. And if I can overcome, then they can too.
For more details or booking information on J. Irja, contact her via email at
Connect with J. Irja on Social Media
Check out the latest release from J. Irja “Made Me Crazy” feat. Twista