J. Poww Interview: The Headliner and the R&B Business


After a lengthy hiatus, U.N.V. or Universal Nubian Voices, is back with a new album having just been released in 2008. The guys are ready to bring back the "Feel Good Love Songs," and what's more, J.Poww has started doing work as an independent artist in conjunction with his work as part of U.N.V.

J. Poww recently sat down with R&B Haven for a two-part interview about the business side of R&B, his solo work, and a look at the group U.N.V. In the second part of his interview, J. Poww talks about his new album, The Headliner, out this Valentine's Day, and about the business side of the R&B industry. If you want to hear some of J.Poww's solo work or buy either the new U.N.V. Timeless album, or J.Poww's solo Headliner album, check out J.Poww's Myspace.

Interview with J.Poww of U.N.V.

In the first part of our interview, we talked a lot about your time in UNV. I thought now we would talk about your work as an independent artist and your solo album, The Headliner, coming out this Valentines Day. How's it feel to release an album as a solo artist?

Man it feels good. It's a long time coming. I've had a chance to lead my own career and create my own album the way I see fit. I mean even though I primarily wrote everything for UNV, it's good to be doing my solo thing.

So having done all the work with UNV, how did you end up moving into a solo career?

Well. When we left Maverick in 96, I was in the midst of already doing an independent label myself which was with a couple different artists that I was already working with: a group called J and the Fat Man, a couple different rappers from the area. So I was already in the midst of wanting to get into the independent label thing myself, realizing that independently I could probably make more money than with the group.

So I started getting into that, entertaining the independent situation. And it became much more lucrative. Maverick was going in different directions with Alanis Morissette. We weren't a priority, so it was just time to make some different moves.

You said you've started an independent label and done work there. How's it differ being on an independent label versus being on a major label.

Man I'll say this. To be quite honest with you, I have made more money as an independent label than I ever did my six years at Maverick. For me in that regard, it's the difference between making 75 cents a record and making 7 dollars a record. It's a little more work with the independent grind, but I'm no stranger to work and at the end of the day, the financial results is much more lucrative, so I have no complaints.

J.Poww and his brother

After U.N.V. went their separate ways, J.Poww and his brother continued to remain active in solo careers.

Yea it sounds like a lot of it is just cutting out that middle man who's just taking money.

That's it. With the way the Internet is now, and all the different possibilities to sell your product without having to include a middle man or certain distribution channel with somebody in your project, there's many more ways to make money selling your product independently now.

Now when you talk about using the Internet, have you been using the Internet a lot for marketing your stuff and promotion?

I actually have. To be quite honest, people say you can't sell records on MySpace and it's hard to sell product. But I have actually been able to be very successful with selling product just from my MySpace page. And I just got everything registered for both the Headliner album and the UNV timeless album at iTunes and CDBaby, and all these different Internet outlets that allow you to be able to sell product there.

So I had a lot of success with the UNV Timeless just from that four month period, I sold over 12,000 units of that record just from MySpace dealing with PayPal accounts. So it's been very instrumental in the promotion of my album, The Headliner as well. So it's actually opened up a lot of different channels and allowed me to be able to meet and see a lot of people.