Despite growing up on the east side of Saginaw, Michigan—a city known for its horrifying murder rate and segregated communities—she attended and graduated college. She won AAU basketball championships with a petite body, despite the sport usually rewarding height and muscle. Next, she decided to take a stab at hip-hop, even though women often get the short end of the stick in the music and the culture.
“For the longest, I didn't take myself seriously for this as a career,” J. Anise admits, despite her youth consisting of singing in her church choir, training for trumpet and clarinet for eight years, participation in her school band, and regularly writing poetry and songs. “I had to dig deep to think about what I wanted to do, and I wanted to help people. I was good at writing and speaking, and I had played around with songs, so I figured I'd give it a shot.”
She kicked her music work into a higher gear, writing more often and going out of town to record while juggling classes in between. After graduating from Michigan State University in May 2010, she moved to Las Vegas, where she began booking more performances, and she grew as a writer. One thing lead to another, and she was penning pop, R&B, gospel, and even country records before heading to San Diego, California to link with producers and complete her rap debut.
“I write for different genres so I can touch everybody,” J. Anise explains. “It helps me relate to more people, so I can help them get through whatever they need to get through, even if they don't listen to rap.”
J. Anise's first mixtape, Lamborghini Livin: The Take Off, was released in March 2011. The title doubled as her life mantra for achieving goals, and armed with her commanding mic presence and soul-fueled production, she wrote Lamborghini Livin with her fellow underdogs in mind. “The Last of a Dying Breed” encouraged listeners to take their own path despite what others may think, while “Mo Better Blues” saw her using naysayers as motivation.
“If you're the last of your kind, you're an underdog fighting to survive. People may think you're outdated or that you're not going to make it, but they're wrong,” J. Anise says. She then explains the successes of other underdogs, like MC Lyte defying the odds of being a successful female emcee, of Kanye West achieving superstar status despite hurdles like his car accident and being different from the gangsta rap at the time, or her father, who also achieved success despite growing up in Saginaw, Mich. with meager means and eight siblings. “I'm having a conversation with myself about being an underdog on “Mo Betta Blues.” But I've still overcome all these things that people say I can't do, and I want to show everyone that they can do the same.”
Since her first project in 2011, J. Anise has put in the work. In October 2013, J. Anise released her first EP, titled "Don't Believe The Hype." This 10-track EP, produced by The Avengers and The Outer Limits, is a cinematic collection of songs that beautifully tell a true story filled with passion, originality and straight talk - J. Anise style. "Paradise" paints a realistic picture of today's tough world, while "ABCs" educates to people of all ages that learning never stops. "I want the world to know that there can be more than one successful female hip-hop artist. I also want people to realize they can be themselves and not copy everything you see." "Don't Believe The Hype" is the perfect message as J. Anise challenges listeners to embrace their individuality, confidence and intelligence.
One year later, J. Anise released her next project, Higher Than Most. HTM is a 27-track mixtape that showcased her dynamic freestyle skills and vivid art of storytelling. Higher Than Most was available for online download via DatPiff.com, which featured standout freestyles like "Michigan Freestyle" and "First Take Freestyle."
2016 has been a very busy year for J. Anise thus far. She has released two separate projects with the Higher Than Most 2 title, a mixtape and EP. "I'm ready, focused and hungry. I know who I am and what I'm hear to do within the music industry," J. Anise says. "I'm all about making good music and seeing people come together in the name of good music."