A giant question mark has loomed over the R&B lately- is the form changing? Not in the eyes of BJ the Chicago Kid. As the latest balladeer to burst out of the windy city's blossoming music scene, it's all about the motivation.

"The soul man, where I sing from," he says while posted up in an office at Island Def Jam. "That will never change, the place where I come from when I sing, that will never change."

Last year was life-changing for BJ. He released his mixtape Pineapple Now-Laters in February and by August he'd inked a recording contract with Universal/Motown. He dismisses the term alt-R&B, and says his influences range from Jodeci to indie rockers Kings of Leon.

"I'm such a fan of different types of music and how they pour their heart into it," he says. "Their recipe of coming up with this finished product. It's all about the individual and what inspires them, what gives them their individuality and how they show that. I think that's what begins to create the branches of the tree."

As for BJ's branch, it stems from a much more traditional blues and jazz background. Still, Pineapple Now-Laters includes cuts with rising Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar, and he's got a noticeable hip-hop swag.

"We did like three or four records for good kid, m.A.A.d city," BJ explains. "Those records I have will come out after good kid... and everyone loves his record! I don't look [at the songs not making it onto his album as a] negative at all. I got called there to work. Kendrick, if he called me today, I'd be there today. That's how we work."

2013 has a lot in store for the young singer as he works on his major label debut and adjusts to life as a full-time artist. Which is, well, an adjustment.

"I put out projects and released music without a label before," he says. "That was work. It's still work here now. It just continues; the grind increases. The hours increase. Less sleep, of course. [But I have to ] put the proper time where it's needed."

Download his latest mixtape Pineapple Now-Laters here and watch the video for "Good Luv'n" -- a song off the tape -- below.


Watch BJ the Chicago Kid's "Good Luv'n" Video



See The BoomBox's Exclusive Photos of Kendrick Lamar

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