J. was born in 1976 in Albany, Georgia, but grew up in the Ozarks of Missouri. By age 4 he was playing piano and singing, and by 9 he was composing his own music. His first song to garner airplay was recorded at Ozark Opry Studios when he was just 16, and at 18, he had relocated to New York City to record at Fast Forward Studios. The sessions resulted in the album, Animal, which was released on TUNEengine, INC., in 2002. The album would go on to spawn the single, "So High", and fueled by the remixes by Georgie Porgie, MYSTR E, Tony Cano, and J.