J Knight was born, raised, and lives, in the Buffalo, NY area. He started playing guitar and writing songs when he was 10 years old after his father had given him his first electric guitar. However, he says his mother may have had more influence on his musical abilities as she was a choir singer during high school and was lucky enough to be able to tour Europe. J Knight’s main musical influences are the Beatles, Michael Jackson and Nirvana. “While those three are completely different style wise, they all have one thing in common,” says J Knight. “They were all great songwriters who could write a melody that you just couldn’t get out of your head. That’s my goal as a songwriter. I want to write songs that get stuck in your head and that you find yourself singing without even realizing it. If one of my songs does that to just one person then I have achieved my goal.”
The opportunity put J Knight’s artistic mission to the test, has come upon us with the release of his 13 track album, entitled “Here and Now”. The album is a typical melodic American Rock and Pop album sprinkled with some diverse influences.
Fierce, determined and confident, its insistence on being as big and bold as possible is admirable and makes it very difficult not to like. It has a universal, mainstream appeal but delivers enough quality to maintain J Knight’s credibility. The album is never too formulaic with just the right number of rocking tracks, ballads and anthems.
From the moment opening track “Living For The Memories” begins you know you’re in for a catchy, energy driven album. Beneficial to “Here and Now” is the surplus of consistency and quality throughout the album.
There are some genuinely great songs like the aforementioned Hotter Than The Sun, Time Of Our Lives, Kill Me Now, and “I Can Barely Breathe” which demonstrate that J Knight has the potential for real quality. On the other side, there are real standouts like “I Want To Live Forever (Remixed)” and “Crazy Tonight (Remixed)”, which would give fans something to sing along to at live shows.
I have a feeling that J Knight may not be very prone to ballads, as you will only find “When We Were Still In Love”, if you’re searching for slow-burners. But you will find two megahit covers re-imagined by the artist – Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”, and George Michael’s “Faith”. On both of these tracks,
J Knight showcases the power, range and control in his voice, as well as a fiery guitar solo on the George Michael cover. Creative and original (especially considering this is mainstream pop/rock), this collection of songs eliminates much of the ‘cookie-cutter’ nature that I feel many recent releases in the genre have been delivering, while still retaining a bucket-full of hook-laden melodies.
In the end, “Here and Now” perfectly encapsulates what J Knight does best. He makes radio-ready pop-rock delivered with equal parts angsty edge and sincerity. It’s his authentic vibe that allows the music to do so while still conveying a sense of artistic legitimacy.