The DMV Daily Interviews: J Pennhouse

Livengoodlivin in the house with J Pennhouse


What’s your full name? And give us a background about you J. Pennhouse

I am J Pennhouse, Esq. The “Genuine Gentleman” of Hip Hop! My mom first named me Jonathan Penn though.

Describe yourself with a music lyric

“Restless days sleepless nights with my computer head phones and mic

It’s gone pay off when the time is right and guess what it feels like the time is right. I feel like dynamite” -DRAM

Three things about you that nobody knows?

  1. I still have the first comforter I received as an infant. Slept on it up until late last year. (it’s an extraordinarily comfortable comforter!)
  2. In college, I walked a mile and a half to Walmart during a blizzard to spend my last $5 on Twizzlers. I LOVE Twizzlers, obviously. 
  3. I didn’t really get introduced to Hip Hop/Rap music until I was in 6thgrade (2004); one of my best friends put me on. Shout out to Coolie. 

Describe your musical origin?

I grew up listening to gospel music while with my grandmother and aunt, while with my mom I listened to soul/funk music. Those two genres are my foundation. In my early teens, I was introduced seriously to Hip Hop (Outkast, Kanye, Common, Mos Def); immediately fell in love with the genre. Hearing the elegance of how the words were spoken inspired me to start writing poetry during this time.  

 In high school I performed in Showchoir (dancing choir) where I became introduced to theatrical performing. Singing lessons started for me in 10th grade and continued on when I went to Bluefield College to study vocal music performance.

During my time at Bluefield, I received classical and theatrical vocal trainings and was cast in a number of shows there (Judd Fry-Oklahoma, Jim-Big River, Audrey II- Little Shop of Horrors)

 A few months after college in 2014, I began producing from GarageBand. I’ve been mastering that craft ever since, focusing deeply on creating a sound that is uniquely and utterly my own. In late 2016, I starting writing Hip Hop songs that I would rap in. I previously had only ever written/recorded singing tracks of myself.


Biggest musical influences?

Vocally, Luther Vandross will always be someone I look up to. The clarity of his tone and raw emotion portrayed through his singing marvels me. Other vocal influences are The Temptations, Paul Roberson, and DRAM.

 On the Hip Hop/Rap side of influences, lyrically Lil Wayne is the GOAT, in my opinion. I aim to pack lyrical and pun-filled genius in ever bar I write, just as he does. Biggie is another favorite.

The way he would bounce from word to word was always aesthetically pleasing to my ear. Fellow Virginian DRAM is another influence of mine, vocally and bar wise. I just love his delivery, energy, and overall vibe.

Top five musicians and albums of all time?

It’s really tough for me to do albums, so I’ll do my top five overall musicians.

  1. The Temptations
  2. Prince
  3. Earth, Wind, and Fire
  4. Luther Vandross
  5. Kanye West (production)
 What are your pre and post studio/performances traditions?

Can’t say that I have any pre or post studio traditions other than having a room temperature bottle of what with me. In terms of pre and post performance, it depends on the performance. Classical performances I would just relax, calm myself until time. All others I’m normally backstage getting hype.


Describe the process of you making a song

Most times, I start production and let the idea come to me as I’m creating the track. Once I get a solid idea on a loop, I’ll start to write. I listen to what I’ve made thus far and mold an idea in my mind. Then write about it.

Which artists or brands would you love to work with?

DRAM, J Cole, Post Malone, Kendrick Lamar, Missy Elliott. I will eventually collaborate with all of these fantastic artists! I’m hopeful to one day be able to work on a Timberland track also. #DMV

What are some current challenges you face as a upcoming, independent artist and as a black man?

As an independent artist, gathering the funds to make everything happen can be tough. Also making the right decisions about who can be trusted and who is a scam is challenging. Everything that APPEARS to glimmer is not always gold. I’ve learned that the hard way during my music journey.

The challenges of pennhouse

 Challenges as a black man that I personally have had to conquer are no different than others, really. Breaking stereotypes made for black men by others, facing ignorance head on, all of that. I’m an advocate for peace and live my life as such. I remember as a child hearing the phrase “You gotta love the hell out of people sometimes”. I take that to heart. Some people have hearts that are so full of hatred and negativity that you have to counter it with positivity, unity, and love.

What’s your opinion about the music industry?

Just like any other industry, the music industry has pros and cons about it. I don’t think there is enough information for artists trying to break into the industry. Some great musicians never get heard because they give up prematurely. I want to build a team that assists in getting underground music more play mainstream.


If you could change one thing about it, what would you change and how?

I somewhat answered this question with my last answer, but I wish to alter the industry by giving chances to artists that they wouldn’t normally have. Possibly create a team that’s main job is to find, listen to, and reach out to talented artists. Have individuals dedicated to distributing information on how to make it in the industry also.

End of the day, I want to make it in the industry so I can help other do the same.

Any shout outs?

Shout out to God always for having my back. Shout out to my daughter Cyn, daddy loves you baby.  Shout out to ALL my #PennhouseFam (you’ll be hearing form them soon). And shout out to all who support me and my positivity movement!

Spell your full name out with a word.











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