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Interviews / Rated NEXT

Rated Next: MAJOR.

Meet producer Harmony Samuels’ new artist

Meet singer and songwriter, MAJOR. It’s not only his birth name but it’s his mission: “My mom named me that because she prayed that I would make a major impact on the world,” he tells Rated R&B.

Born in Houston, Texas, MAJOR.’s life has revolved around music and entertainment. His musical upbringing included studying at the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City and Berkley College of Music in Boston.

“My mom really pushed for us to have music as a part of our reality and I was the one who stuck with it and that’s why I’m here when I’m at now,” MAJOR. explains.

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Although MAJOR. — who is signed to Grammy nominated producer Harmony Samuels’ B.O.E. Music Group — is a relatively new artist, his resume proves that he’s not new to the music industry, penning hits for Ariana Grande, Nathan Sykes and Sony Records’ Think Like A Man Too soundtrack, to name a few.

MAJOR.’s sound is the perfect blend of soul and pop, which sets him apart from the many Trap&B artists coming out.

In May, MAJOR. made his official debut with his dual single “Keep On” featuring Kevin McCall and “Why I Love You.”

MAJOR. recently sat down with Rated R&B to talk about his early beginnings, his plans for an EP, how he met Harmony Samuels and his thoughts on artists who don’t write their own songs.

Check out our interview below.

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Rated R&B: Who are some songwriters and singers that inspired you?

MAJOR: From a songwriting perspective, definitely artists like Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, James Taylor and Donnie Hathaway. As far as performers, it would be Sam Cooke, Nat King Cole, Rat Pack, Jackie Wilson and Cab Calloway. Some of the artists today who I really enjoy and really would love to collaborate with would include Bruno Mars, Andy Grammer and Kanye West. I love their energy and what they bring to the stage.

Rated R&B: How did you end up signing with Harmony Samuels’ label?

MAJOR: Funny thing enough is when Harmony first made it out here, we actually came to LA around the same time. I was a family friend to Rodney Jerkins, the producer, and Harmony was brought in to work under Rodney. He definitely was one of the standout junior producers working at the time. Rodney used to have me in his studio listening to some of the new music he was working on with several artists. He would get my opinion and when I heard Harmony,  I was like “he’s got next.” Now I’m no Quincy Jones or anything like that but I was like “he’s just got it.” Me and Harmony reconnected a couple years later at church and then we were just like “Yo! Let’s work on some stuff.” He helped me find my sound and it’s been a few years since we’ve been working together. It’s been amazing because it’s just the right mix of everything I am. From the church to the soul to the big band to the jazz, it’s beautiful man.

Rated R&B: What’s the story behind your two singles “Keep On” and “Why I Love You”?

MAJOR: For “Keep On,” we were at Harmony’s home studio. He just started playing a beat and words just started coming. As we were going, we were like “we should get Kevin McCall on the track.” We just came together with the song and it was just it. Everybody that we let hear it, just locked in on the vibe.

“Why I Love You” was a melody that was inspired when I was on set for this web series. I went to Harmony with it and he was like “this is a love song” and that’s when we came with it. [“Why I Love You”] will be the blueprint love song — not just with the melodies and the instrumentation, but the conversation we are having about love.

Rated R&B: What inspired a dual single release?

MAJOR: We wanted to switch it up because a lot of people now are just doing one single at a time. We wanted to make a statement and let the people know that we’re coming strong. Think about back in the day, when artists released singles they used to have the side A and side B — on vinyl records and even on cassettes. That’s when we were like let’s do an homage to the yesteryear and let’s do it with something fresh and real.

Rated R&B: When can we expect the new EP?

MAJOR: Later this year!

Rated R&B: What sets you a part from the other songwriters-turned-singers out there?

MAJOR: I can only make an impact by coming from my truth. I can’t really say that this is just what makes me so different from everybody but I’m going to have a conversation from the experiences that I’ve been through and the understandings that I have. I want to inspire the earth. My music bridges worlds. It’s a conversation that brings everybody to the table for an epic exchange. That’s what my music is: it’s music that makes you feel good, music that makes you think better.

Rated R&B: What are some conversations you’re having on your EP?

MAJOR: It’s 7 songs and three interludes. The conversation that I’m having is about how you will find yourself delivering everything that you ever hoped for. Some of the songs talk about how life is going to hand you a whole bunch of crap that you weren’t expecting to get in your hands but it’s how you choose to act — how you choose to respond will make the difference.

Rated R&B: It seems like some critics will bash an artist for not writing his or her own songs. As a singer-songwriter, how would you address critics?

Some people have the gift of putting words to what they want to truly say. Some people have less of that gift. Nat King Cole didn’t write “The Christmas Song” but he sang it as if it came from his own thoughts. It was one of the biggest songs ever. At the end of the day, stop telling people they gotta do things a certain way in order for it to make sense.

For more information on MAJOR., visit nowthatsmajor.com.

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