JR. Picture: Lash Shots
JR. Picture: Lash Shots
NEW IDEAS: JR, founder and director of The Feel Good Live Sessions series.
NEW IDEAS: JR, founder and director of The Feel Good Live Sessions series.
It's almost sunset in Woodmead, Sandton and everyone seems to be coming alive. We’re on the balcony area at JR’s Feel Good Music base and Lady Zamar is preparing to perform her set in the latest installment of The Feel Good Live Sessions series.

JR, the founder and director of these sessions, jokes with his cameramen, sound technicians and others whose roles I can’t quite put my finger on.

When I met him earlier, he’d said, “It’s a pleasure to meet you Shingai,” before cheekily countering, “Actually, it’s a pleasure for you to meet me”.

The sessions,which started three months ago and have already seen performances from the likes of Shekhinah, Kwesta, Sjava and Bucie, are averaging around 40000 hits and viewing time of around 15 minutes per episode. It’s been a great success, but JR wants more.

Throughout his career, JR has made a point of doing things differently and trying to operate in uncontested market spaces. He calls this the blue ocean strategy.

“Everybody flocked to the Red Sea for Moses to part We’re in the blue ocean, where nobody goes.” It’s been almost 10 years since JR released his first album, The Main Event.

Somizi trolls Babes over USB plea

At the beginning of his career he planned things out through a five-year spider diagram.

“By the time I’d gotten to the eighth leg of the spider diagram it was 2012, which was a year early, and I’d basically achieved all my objectives like recording my first single, get it on radio, work with 37MpH and HHP, and other artists.“By 2013 I was supposed to have prepared for my next cycle which I think I took for granted and I didn’t. So everything had been achieved, and that thing of manifesting what you want the world to give was a real thing.

“I lived it through this spider diagram.”

JR: Picture: Lash Shots

The next five years weren’t as successful. He describes them as probably the laziest years of his life. But he’s still done a lot - not only as a rapper, but as a multi-genre songwriter and producer.

By his own estimation JR has been the most prolific African artist post-2000s, and this isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds. Music aside, JR is finding his happy place. “I’m a man who wants for very little. I’m not a flashy guy, I’ve passed those phases. I just felt like there comes a point where there’s more that matters to me. .

“I focus my time on working with great people, sustaining relationships, building great relationships and nurturing the relationship with my family. And I’m also building my own family.”