J. Holiday is ready to turn up the heat this chilly season with his third solo album, Guilty Conscious. What he described as a soulful album dripping with ’80s R&B musical structures, the Washington D.C. native plans to tell the story of his various relationships.
“It’s not about one specific relationship,” says the 29-year-old singer of Guilty Conscious (out Jan. 28), “but it’s an example of how relationships pan out and things that people don’t like to talk about—the harder things to deal with in relationships.”
Lonnie Jackson is the orchestrator behind the beats while J. Holiday steps out of the songwriting role for a few tracks, leaving the pen in the hands of Urse the Verse. Holiday says the songs featured on the 14-track project might be compared to a vent session of mistakes done in a partnership and “taking responsibility for why my situation is the way it is.”
“You gotta dig deep especially when you want people to feel you and relate,” says the crooner who made his name via The-Dream-penned hit “Bed.” “People want to know if you’re being real about it or if we did this song just because it sounded good.”
Holiday says he learned to pull from personal experiences from past R&B greats, citing Marvin Gaye’s “If I Should Die Tonight” as an influence. He says the most personal song on his album is “Where Are You Now,” a conversation with himself about where he went wrong in his relationship and when love will re-enter his life.
Guilty Conscious drops top of 2014, on Jan. 28. —Camille Augustin