“I always wanted to be a singer and an artist, but I never knew how that would happen,” Jah Will Pinson says. “The manifestation only came as I got older and more mature.”
Today, it seems the founder and leader of the JAH Will Band has attained his goals on his own terms. The laidback 27-year-old, who radiates calm contentment, crafts a fusion of reggae, gospel and soul that he feels can be a jumping-off point to a higher plane for many listeners.
“[My music] is a fusion of multitudinous genres,” Pinson explains. “We’re trying to pioneer a sound that captivates everybody.” Pinson and his bandmates have also folded trap and hip-hop into their roots reggae mix, along with elements of new age music. After years of struggling to identify what he wanted to do in life, Pinson now hopes to inspire listeners with his brand of “spiritual groove music.”
The son of gospel artist Willie Pinson, he started singing at 3 years old in a Southern Baptist church in York, South Carolina, where his mother was choir director. At 6, Pinson learned to play piano from his father, who currently teaches music at McClintock Middle School in Charlotte.
After graduating from Northwest School of the Arts then Central Piedmont Community College, Pinson initially followed in his father’s footsteps, giving private lessons and instructing children and adults at Charlotte-area studios, but writing and performing was always his goal.
In 2012, Pinson signed on as keyboardist and background singer for Charlotte six-piece Queen City Dub. He started writing songs for the reggae rock group, penning the title track of their first EP Concept. After that, the creative floodgates opened, Pinson remembers.
“I was writing a song a day for a good three years,” he says. After Queen City Dub disbanded in 2016, Pinson reconnected with two childhood friends, bassist Clifton Bundick and drummer Taviel Byrd. The trio, which called itself the Inner Three, became the root of the JAH Will Band, which has since expanded to a seven-piece.
An EP entitled Elevation is set to drop in mid-to-late August, Pinson says. In the meantime the band is releasing a string of singles this summer, including “Drippn Flow,” which debuts later this week.
Set to a sinuous groove that winds through a swirling cloud layer of keyboards, Pinson sings, “Stand tall, you’re a lion roar/Stand firm like you can’t fall/Ride high like you’re ten tall/And never back down.”
“The majority of the songs are coming from a spiritual place,” Pinson says. “I hope people are able to come into a higher consciousness of what’s going on the world today, and who they are as beings.”