R&B recording artist returns to Duncanville

Gospel recording artist JPaul performs at a concert in Canada before coming home to host and event at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. (submitted photo)

Walking down the hallway, things are completely different. All of the classrooms are connected, the hallways have street names inspired by history, and many of the teachers that were here 10 years ago have gone their own way. For recording artist J. Paul, all of these things are news to him as he walks through Duncanville High School, the same high school he graduated from in 2002.

“It’s pretty great. This probably my first time ever coming back to Duncanville,” Paul said. “I love it, it’s great. Coming back to where I went to school is a great situation. It’s fun to see how things have changed.”

Visiting his old high school, Paul took time out of his schedule to encourage and inspire students from his hometown at a local event. Encouraging students he says is something that is important to him and is one of the goals he aims to accomplish through his work.

“I love encouraging people in following their passion and gaining the experiences,” Paul said.  “Knowing there’s somebody out there just like me that needs to be encouraged and pushed, somebody that needs to hear these words, [that’s what keeps me going],” Paul said.

Although Paul is currently working on an R&B EP, he has had his fair share of rough spots in his career. When you ask him, he’s not ashamed to admit that he is no stranger to having difficult times in adapting to situations or even in what he is trying to portray in his work.

“It’s been the hardest journey,” Paul said. “Learning the technical way of singing and going to a world where it’s not so technical. Giving up sometimes and coming back to it.”

In 2006 he saw his persistence pay off when he was given the opportunity to work with Kirk Franklin on his “Let it Go Video”. A few years later in 2010, Paul was then asked to work with Lecrae on his Grammy nominated song “Just Like You”. Cherishing these experiences, Paul said he took a lot from them, including their work ethic.

“[Working with them], I take their work ethic,” Paul said. “Being in the studio and saying, ‘I’m going to make this a 9 to 5 job. I’m going to record. I’m going to write.  I’m going to watch different videos. I’m going to listen to different things, read different things.’ From all of this, I take their work ethic and humbleness.”

Being humble is something that Paul says is important because he doesn’t do his work just for himself, and through meeting many successful recording artists, he’s been told that there’s always someone better.

“Everything has taught me to be humble. There’s been plenty of times where I’ve heard Kirk Franklin or Lecrae or any other known artist say ‘There’s someone better than me’, and it’s humbling,” Paul said. “Knowing that the Lord would allow them to do what they do knowing there’s someone better out there, it’s amazing.”

Currently, Paul is working on his own R&B album and has released his first single “Better” for fans to purchase. As he completes his work, he hopes that his music relates to others just as much as it does to him through life experiences.

“I use life experience to write my lyrics,” Paul said. “It’s a combination of reading the Bible, applying it to life, and making it relatable.”