JNR Choi Talks People Overlooking “To The Moon,” Linking W/ Busta Rhymes & More!
JNR Choi is living life to the fullest every single day, and he’s got a lot to celebrate.
At 25 years old, the rising star already landed a song in the Billboard Hot 100, became a viral sensation on TikTok, signed a record deal, went on his first tour, and worked with the who’s who in the music industry.
Speaking on his sound, JNR Choi states, “It’s so versatile, everyone can listen to it. It forces so many different lanes: Afro, R&B, trap, rap, drill, and everything sounds authentic. I’m one of the very few that plays almost every country, city, state, and be able to show the love that’s been given.”
If you haven’t heard the name JNR Choi, you’ve definitely heard the record “To The Moon.” The song quickly took its own course after his DJ began spinning it in nightclubs throughout their hometown of London. The reactions were exactly what any artist would hope for in their music, and that was when JNR Choi knew had a hit on his hands.
After releasing “To The Moon” independently, JNR Choi uploaded a four-second snippet to TikTok. To date, over 135 million videos have been made to the record, but it was the standout remixes that boosted the song even further than what he could have ever imagined. For one, Gunna was a fan of the record, later delivering an explosive remix that would only further cosign JNR Choi’s name in the rap game.
TheFoxMagazine caught up with JNR Choi in downtown Los Angeles, who had just came back from a wild night in Miami. Read below as we discuss his background, inspiration, the making of “To The Moon,” getting Gunna on the remix, working with Busta Rhymes, and more!
Talk about your roots in the UK.
I was born and raised in London, southeast London in Thamesmead. I moved to Essex for a while, that’s out of town. Moved back to London. My family’s from Gambia, I’m Gambian. London’s a vibe, that’s always home.
When did you fall in love with music?
Around 2018, 2019. After my first performance is when I fell in love with creating music.
How old were you?
I was 19 or 20. Performing and seeing the crowd react to how I was vibing, it was a moment like wow, this is crazy. Definitely. If we can do this on this scale already, we can definitely take this father.
The Fox Magazine is all about inspiration. Who or what inspires you the most?
I’m inspired by everything and nothing at the same time. I go with and see what’s in front of me. I don’t really look up to an artist, or want to be like them or try to sound like anyone. Some style influences would be A$AP Rocky, Travis Scott. Some music influences… there’s just too much.
Can you bring us back to when you made the original “To The Moon”?
That song I made in 15 minutes. I didn’t really think much of it, which is crazy. I thought “eh, this is cool.” Made it in the crib. In a bedroom studio, mixed it myself. I was going through beat packs. I thought “alright cool, this could fall into a winter project.” I added that to the playlist. What I do is I just make loads and loads of songs. Depending on the genre, put them all into one folder. Slow it down from 50 to 30 to 15, until alright cool, this is a good run of time.
That was in the winter project, #6 or something. I didn’t really think much of it, it wasn’t a lead single or anything. My DJ played the club one time, he said that the reaction was crazy. I had to come and see the reaction. I went to the club the next day to peep the reaction and I saw it for myself. He played it, everyone just stopped. Right after the intro, they’re like “whoa, what is this?” People were coming up to the DJ booth to Shazam, I’m like whoa this is surreal. We’re like yeah, we have to drop this. We dropped it a week after, let it do its thing. No promo, nothing.
That’s crazy! How much did your career go up after that?
It increased the pace of everything. We were running around, we were doing shows. We were throwing parties. We were creating a buzz. I’ve had a good momentum, then that sped everything up. We ended up signing the single to Epic Records. We flew out to Miami, almost immediately.
We were literally touring for the whole year. Club tours, festival tours. We did Wireless Festival. Davido brought me out to 02 Arena in London. We just finished tour. We went to Australia and Japan last, in January. Okay cool, now I can decide where I want to live. [laughs] Figure out a place, having more balance. It was hotels and hotels and hotels, suitcases.
How’s New York compared to the UK?
It’s pretty similar. It reminds me of a big London. I know quite a few people there. Everything I want to do there, like going out tor eating places, I already have the hook-up. It was quite an easy move, I feel real comfortable already.
Did you get signed off that record?
I signed two singles off of that record. Finished that deal, I’m signing a new deal.
Best memory from the “To The Moon” video shoot with Gunna?
Definitely the party we threw. We threw it in a big crib, it was a vibe. We shot in London and Atlanta. Definitely a party, everyone was going crazy.
Do you party hard?
All the time, like every day. Literally. I’ve been out every day for the last five years.
Are you okay?
No, I don’t think so. [laughs] I literally went from a club to a club to the airport yesterday. Now I’m here.
Damn, I hope you get some sleep.
Yeah, we’ll figure it out.
3 things you need in the studio at all times?
Casamigos. Anime playing on TV, or Netflix. There’s a studio in Miami I use, and the guy who owns it makes pretty good cookies. His name’s Leslie, so Leslie’s cookies.
You were literally in the studio with Busta Rhymes. Did you feel pressure? Because he raps fast fast!
You know what, nah. I didn’t feel pressure. It was good. It was a good vibe, because we was going back to back on it. We were working together, it wasn’t him then me. It was a good collaboration. Nah, no pressure.
Is there going to be a video?
Yes, 100%. We should have the video soon. I called him yesterday. He said something about coming back from the studio, finishing something up. Hopefully by mid-April we should have that.
Did you think you’d be signed this soon? Four years since you started?
Yeah, I kind of expected it. It’s funny, I’m delusional so I expected it ages ago. [laughs] Every time that it didn’t come, I just kept going. I wasn’t offended. I’d have a project ready, alright cool. Send it out. The feedback would be like “this is cool.” It wasn’t fast enough. I’m dropping either way, so either jump on the bandwagon right now you’re going to be too late.
What’s crazy, this project that “To The Moon” is on hasn’t come out yet. I’d send it to a lot of people, “To The Moon” was on there. All these execs, labels, they all heard it already low key. It’s in loads of people’s inboxes already. When it dropped is when they realized it, it was way too late. [laughs] I don’t really ever feel ____? down by that rejection, because no one really knows anything. As long as you love what you’re doing, you believe in it and you can really keep growing, you’ll always be okay.
Like I said, “To The Moon” is in so many people’s inboxes that overlooked it. Then it became #1.
What can we expect next?
More singles, I’m going crazy this year. I’m about to drop a song, maybe two. I’ve got something with Asian Doll coming up that’s really crazy, we’re excited for. I’ve got something with Quavo that’s crazy. And another project.