*Singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist J.R. Perry is more than a music man. He describes himself as a Music Messenger, delivering sounds that create vibrations that are healing, soothing, and allows listeners to experience the emotion it portrays– joy, nostalgia, and some feel-good under a beat that moves you. His music can be described as creating the same euphoric feelings as can be found in comfort foods—like the title of his recent single, “Hot Grits.” The funk-dance track was released in the UK during an on-air interview with Cheeky Radio Uk on December 28, 2020. The show introduced a receptive audience to Perry’s funky guitar riffs backed with a masterfully swung, hot Funk 70’s style instrumentation.
The resonating uptempo groove designed to get you on your feet was created in the most primal way—because he was hungry. Perry nostalgically remembers a time when his Louisiana elders, specifically, his grandmother, was known for creating massive breakfast “spreads” as a tradition. While there were plentiful varieties of fare—from Red Snapper and other fish, to mouth-watering biscuits topped with homemade preserves; it was the hot buttery grits that he remembers most.
“Grits are comfort food and go into your internals on a cold day and gives you an energy that lifts you up. It gives you energy and awakes your chakras. My people are from Louisiana… this was a staple—a bowl of hot grits. I took it along in my life journeys… It was a breakfast staple. It was funky … just like the track. Funky is just a part of my DNA, some people study funk—I’m anointed in funk,” Perry explains.
With the song “Hot Grits,” he wanted listeners to experience the magic of his childhood recollection and delivered it with a beat that would ensure it. The track was so impactful and conveyed such emotion, he was encouraged by friends to not include lyrics.
“I had to be obedient. I wanted to transfer the feelings of how the grits felt as I ate them, as they went down and how they made me feel. I equated this into the tones and the grooves of the music and transferred my feelings into sound…Music opens a lot of vibrations out of you and each note is based on the vibration of the experience, so lyrics are not needed. The instrumentation sings. I am a messenger and I want to help people feel good. Everyone is under such stress in these times, I’m hoping that when people want relief and a reminder of good times, and help to ease their day; this song will be there in that healing process,” states Perry.
J.R. Perry asserts that music is in his foundation and DNA, as well as in everything that he does; it compliments his extensive background in media that includes him hosting his own TV show in the 1980s. Anyone that knows him would confirm that music has been a major part of his life since he was a child.
“I came here hitting the high C,” says the “Hot Grits” creator. His style and musical savvy make all in earshot instant believers. “It’s been this way since I was a baby. I’m just a messenger and God has given me the ability to know sound, tune, and melodics. It’s doing God’s work – traveling at the speed of sound and I’ve not gotten distracted from that purpose.”
With his life’s journey of music and healing, it is no surprise that he also became an expert on eating clean and food agriculture. His studies of the Yuri indigenous people of the Americas led him to become heavily involved with native tribes all over the nation. He has served as the Minister of Agriculture on one of the tribal councils of the Wichita people, and in 2021, he received the unexpected honor of being appointed as a medicine man by one of the Chiefs of the Yuri tribe. In addition to his lifelong activities in the indigenous communities and governments, he has orchestrated projects such as the CSA (Community Support of Agriculture) event in Nevada and building greenhouses in Arizona. Perry remains honored and ready for the challenge, stating, “They have anointed me at a time when our people really need to know the vital foods that the Most High has designed for us specifically.”
A fierce historian of African American culture and history, he is quick to explain that many African Americans were not brought here on slave ships but rather kidnapped and forced to serve as slaves on the soil from whence they came. He encourages people of color to simply Google “Yuri Indian Mound Builder” to find this underreported study that has long remained unreported. Perry’s fiery instrumental track is a tribute to his historical gleanings on the subject with a new track entitled, “We Are The Real Indians.” As well, he is giving listeners a never-before-released song written in 2007 that is even more timely today. The galvanizing single, “Civil Rights” will release during Black History month (Pro-Per Records). It is backed by powerhouse vocals and a message of unity alongside Black Power nostalgia.
Musically, his hope is that his work touches listeners and appeals to them down to the “molecular level.” As a healer, historian, and champion of the land and its people; Perry strives to see that his teachings of wellness through proper foods, agricultural progress, and history will all aid in healing the mind, body, and soul for all his people.
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Transcription by Athena Dynami