In almost every boy’s life, especially one who’s into sports, there’s a dream of playing professionally, whether that’s the NFL, the NBA, NHL, MLB, or whatever other professional sports leagues are out there. Eventually, for the vast majority of us, as we get older, we realize that this particular dream has to die so we’re forced to move on to the next one. It’s not often where instead of the dream dying, that you’re able to pass it along to someone else, and for them it actually becomes a possibility…and then that possibility becomes reality.
That pretty much sums up the story and life of TJ Fredette, who has been blessed and fortunate enough to pass down his hoop dreams to his little brother, Jimmer Fredette, who is tearing up college basketball this season and is pretty much a lock to get drafted by an NBA team this upcoming draft. On any given night, Jimmer can drop 40 points on a team even though he’s the opposing defense’s main focus.
Needless to say, the attention that the Fredette family has been receiving has been through the roof. Sporstcenter appearances here. A Sports Illustrated interview there. A TheUrbanTwist.com interview, here!
So with things going according to plan, TJ is now completely focused on turning his next goal into a reality and that is to make it in the world of the music industry. We got a chance to sit down and have a conversation with TJ and he explains to us his plans on how he plans to use all of this newfound exposure to help launch his rap and music career.
Brennen Jones: How long have you been rhyming?
TJ Fredette: About ten years now. At first I didn’t think of it as a career. I just kind of did it for the fun of it. And then things kind of snowballed. I kind of hooked up with some kids from New York City, who were more serious about it…and I just loved it. Then I was like if I could make this my living that it would be beautiful! So from there, I really started taking it more seriously and looked forward to turning it into a career.
BJ: So did anyone kind of push you into doing this or is this something that you were just passionate doing and it just kind of branched out to where you’re at right now?
TJ: I’ve always had a passion for music and writing. I didn’t actually start doing music til about ten years ago. I was sitting in class one day when I was a senior in high school and my friend who used to write rhymes…in this English class for the first ten minutes, we were supposed to write and you could write whatever you wanted and he was writing these rhymes and he’d showed them to me and then I read them and they were pretty good. So one day, I decided just to try it and we’d go back and forth with rhymes. Then by the end of the year, I was a lot better than him. (laughing) So I kind of just had this knack for this…I always liked writing and I always liked hip-hop. So I guess it just came from there.
BJ: You’ve came a long way from that because this year has been crazy for you and your brother Jimmer. From what I’m seeing, he’s obviously tearing up the basketball court and from what I’m seeing…you’re actually tearing up the stages and what not. But what caught my eye was that “Amazing” song that was a tribute to your brother. I’m just a little curious as to how did that kind of formulate. How did everything with that song come about?
TJ: I usually write from personal experiences and things like that…and obviously, me and Jimmer always have had a tight bond and everything. Jimmer was starting to see success in Basketball and in College and so, I’ve always wanted to write a song about our relationship anyways but I kind of just focused on the basketball side of it…and just everything we did growing up just trying to get him to where he is now. It’s easy to write the song because there’s just so much that I can write about…I could probably write ten songs. I heard that beat online and it came with a hook. I was like that would go perfect for the song that I wanted to write. I got a free download with that and the words then just came pretty easily. I can’t really do a lot with it. My hands are pretty tied because it was a free download. so I’m in the process now of doing a remake so I can actually get out there and sell it and get it out there and profit from it and stuff like that.
BJ: In one of the recent Sports Illustrated articles, there was a great article about you and your brother and one thing that I didn’t know about you, when introducing myself to conduct this interview was that I didn’t know that you used to be a hooper back in the day as well. What are some of the things that you have taught your brother on the basketball side of things, since you’re a little older than him that helped him get to where he’s at now?
TJ: The main thing that I tried to instill in him was the confidence and to have a killer instinct out there on the ourt and to never be intimidated and to just be mentally tough. I was never really a great shooter…that was kind of my downfall. (laughs) I know that it’ kind of weird, but I was a really good ball handler and point guard…and I could handle the ball and pass well. So those things with me being a point guard are some of the things that I’ve passed down to him. I just helped him to become a leader. There was a lot of ball handling drills that I would make him run. I also helped him out with his shot a lot because I could see things that he was doing wrong. Myself, when I shoot, it’s hard to correct myself but looking at someone else when they shoot it’s a little bit easier since I can see what they’re doing wrong. He didn’t get the shooting from me, but definitely the ball handling and point guard aspect of everything and having that mental and physical toughness.
BJ: Speaking of physical toughness, I saw that in the Sports Illustrated article, that you and Jimmer would go to the Prison yard and hoop. How was it like for you going to the Prison and taking your little brother with you to go against grown men who would kill, steal, rape, and do all kinds of other treacherous things?
TJ: (laughs) My next door neighbor’s uncle worked at the prison. He brought people in from the outside to speak, to religious type ceremonies, and to deal with athletics. He called us one day to see if we were interested in going in and playing and we were all for it. We were always trying to play anywhere we could…and the more intense the game the better…so I jumped right on it. You can’t get more intense than that. (laughs) So I got much of my friends together and we went in and played for 5 years prior, before Jimmer was even old enough to play. We would come home with all these crazy stories, you know, games that went to overtime and all types of stuff. So he’d hear these stories and he was biting his lip, waiting for his chance to play. So when he turned 18, I brought him in to play and he lit it up right from the start and they loved him. (laughs) It was crazy! Those games were so intense because those guys were so big and strong and physical guys, so you don’t get more of an intimidating atmosphere than that. That experience was good for Jimmer’s mental and physical toughness.
BJ: The whole thing kind of sounds like a movie to me, kind of like the Longest Yard, but the basketball version of it.
TJ: (laughing) Exactly!
BJ: It’s obvious that Jimmer has been a huge inspiration to you. Actually the both of you guys inspire each other. But are there any other Fredette’s that has inspired you as well?
TJ: My uncle was an athletic trainer so he helped us out with everything on the athletic side of things such as speed, quickness, jumping ability, balance, and things like that. And as far as just being good people and being leaders on and off the court, my father and my mother obviously are probably my greatest inspiration. And my older sister, she was the oldest sibling. So she always kind of showed us the way with everything. She was the first to go to school and the first to go to the dentist (laughing)…so she was the courageous one, and we always looked up to her for that. There’s a lot of good influences in my family.
BJ: With the kind of exposure that you are now receiving, with the Sports Ilustrated article, performing on ESPN, and appearing on Sportscenter with your brother and things like that, what kind of doors are now being opened for you in the music industry? I mean, are there now producers and people coming up to you trying to get you on their songs? I know that some people are probably now coming out of the woodwork now due to your heightened popularity.
TJ: There’s definitely a lot of things going on with my music. Like you said, there are a lot of people coming out of the woodwork (laughing) and to be honest some of them aren’t really worth the time, not to be mean, but as far as me trying to pursue a career, it’s more of a waste of time than time well spent so I have to kind of weed through to see who’s real and who’s not. But I’m definitely now working with some producers out of NYC and I’m working with a couple out in L.A. , helping me make some original beats so that I can actually sell my product now. Then I have a few studios that I’m working with. I even had a few managers reach out to me and a couple people that work for some record labels that I’m still talking to…I haven’t decided anything yet. I’m still trying to weed through everything. It’s been a lot! It seems like everyday there’s something new and then the exposure that I’m getting…talking to the media and doing the Sports Illustrated article, and stuff like that. That stuff is priceless. People pay a lot of money to do that. (laughs) I’m getting a lot of free exposure.
BJ: So are you out of NYC?
TJ: No, I’m actually out of Glen Falls, which is upstate New York. I’m from there but I do a lot of my recordings and things of that nature out of NYC. I go back and forth.
BJ: Are you planning on going on tour or are you wrapping up your album?
TJ: Right now, I’m just working on just recording some new material because everything up to this point has been all about getting exposure. Everything has been for promotional purposes. I haven’t made any money. So I’m focusing now on getting product together that I can sell, setting up itunes accounts and focusing on the internet because that’s where a lot of the music industry is at anyways. I’m just trying to keep my facebook updated, stay on twitter, and just continue to create a buzz. Then I want to drop an album hopefully by the summer. Then put some videos out that’ll hopefully go viral. Then once I got all of that buzz going, I’ll probably set up a tour. I’ve already done some things out west, performing at BYU home games and stuff like that.
BJ: What are some of your musical influences? Who has influenced your style of rap?
TJ: I’d say that the guy that I probably listen to and probably has influenced me the most and is Joe Budden. I really like the concepts that he come up with…his style and delivery. His lyrics. He can rap…he’s more relevant to worldly things that anyone can relate to. I like his delivery. He switches it up a lot. He can be smooth or animated. I just like his style.
BJ: All right, I’m going to close the interview with this. Your brother Jimmer’s name has been turned into nouns, adjectives, verbs, and stuff like that with the end meaning, meaning that he’s simply a beast on the court. What do you want your name “T.J.” to mean five years from now?
TJ: I’m hoping for it to be used in a similar way. (laughs) It’s obviously not as unique of a name as “Jimmer”. He’s name is unique so it gives people a lot of room to play with it. I’m hoping that when people hear ‘T.J”, that they’ll think “T.J. Fredette”. I’m just hoping for them to think of me as a great artist, a great musician, a great writer. I’m hoping to be just tied into the music aspect of everything. I’m hoping that they’ll think of me of being a great person.
To learn more about TJ Fredette, please visit his official website here.
Listen to couple of his tracks below.
“With or without You”
“This is for Your Conscious”