James Fauntleroy talks GOD, overcoming challenges, the music industry + more with Gowhere Hip Hop

0:27 Oneness
1:17 Greatest challenge
3:20 Key to manifestation
4:16 Keeping the focus
4:51 Dreams — did they go into the record?
6:20 Labeling a negative experience as positive
7:11 Meditation — a break down of how it helps
8:20 Who is the most spiritually aware artist that you have worked with? (Jay Z & Beyonce come to mind…)
9:21 Magical synchronicity in the studio with Justin Timberlake
10:46 Weirdest synchronicity in life, in general. (How Fauntleroy became a singer after a paralysis illness)
13:28 How upcoming artists can overcome resistance in the creative process (a key tip for navigating the music business)

Singer/songwriter James Fauntleroy is an artist you definitely know, even if you don’t.

He’s a Grammy-winner, first and foremost, for his writing on “Pusher Love Girl” with one Justin Timberlake. And that’s not the only A-listers he’s worked with. You remember how he brought in “Clique” a couple summers ago? Or most recently, how he was featured on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly? He’s also written multiple tracks on multiple albums with the likes of Rihanna, Chris Brown, and a certain power couple he mentions in our new interview above: Jay Z & Beyonce.

We met Fauntleroy the other day here in L.A. and the famed, and tranquil University of Philosophical Research in Los Feliz. About 30-40 people gathered in the afternoon in the Meditation Room to not only listen to music (below), but also to have a communal conversation about God — and really all things love and spirituality.

Dig a little further (in our archives perhaps) and you’ll hear the direct connection between what Fauntleroy puts on paper to the spirit of the music. That’s what our experience was like, listening to Fauntleroy walk us through his Flower of Life EP, as brought to us by NPR and host Audrey Buchanan.

The experience itself was moving. By the meditative start of “The Distant River”, the entire room was engrossed in the 7 track EP, produced by No I.D. x Cocaine 80s, based on the 7 days of creation. I didn’t know that when The Flower of Life originally dropped a couple of years ago, becoming in part a soundtrack to my summertime Chi!

01. Kuro to Shiro f/ Common
02. The Distant River
03. Ground
04. The Sun and The Moon
05. Fly Ass Pisces f/ Common & Jhene Aiko
06. Higher Self
07. Lucid

Moreover, Fauntleroy explained his favorite lines (“besides all of them”, hah!) and added some context to much of these tracks. “Kuro to Shiro”, for example, is Japanese and loosely translates to “Black & White”. The opening verse of “The Sun and The Moon” can be directly about a relationship, but Fauntleroy says it’s meant as the one thing he would say to anybody. “Lucid” derives from God’s 7th day of rest and tackles the subject of lucid dreaming (which Fauntleroy touches on in our interview above.)

Those are just examples of how Fauntleroy’s narration further renewed more spins of The Flower of Life in just the short 48 hours or so since the Meditation Room.

Again, that’s the music, but the interview dives in more. You don’t have to know Fauntleroy OR his music to appreciate the concepts he and Maks discussed. For starters, they talk about the concept of oneness. Then Maks asks about his number one challenge he’s had to overcome in life:

Accepting, and before accepting, knowing it’s something you need to accept — how much more important your attitude or state of mind is than anything you can do. However great you can be as a singer, a basketball player, a backflip artist or whatever you’re doing, like, your attitude and approach and perspective to that affects it way more than anything.

Fauntleroy even breaks down the keys to manifestation and the benefits of meditation so succinctly that it’s inspiring. Among the artists he mentions that are aligned: Jay, Beyonce (two of the most spiritually attune artists he’s ever worked with), Justin Timberlake, Timbaland, and many others too.

There is even the amazing story of how Fauntleroy even came to singing (10:46). He wanted to draw and become a comic book artist. Then… well, it’s more amazing to hear him tell it.

Finally, they talk a little bit about the music industry and Fauntleroy provides some valuable insight that took the words right out of my brain when upcoming artists ask about the same topic: how to overcome resistance in the creative process (13:28).

It’s a great watch and listen above and I couldn’t suggest it enough simply being witness to it behind the cam.

More photos below, including… oh yeah…! NO I.D. was there!! He listened to the album and conversation with all of us and closed it out with a high-level perspective on religion and how every religion has a different definition to each person. This whole time we were sitting on the floor like children in a classroom, drawing on a room-wide sheet about GOD, love, and what The Flower of Life was inspiring. Big shouts to everyone involved for such an enriching experience that we hope shines through to you in this post. #GowhereYouLove

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James Fauntleroy & Audrey Buchanan (of NPR) at the University of Philosophical Research Meditation Room, Los Feliz, CA | 05.11.16