At 28 years old, J Written has witnessed the hardship of inner-city life up close and personal. While most of the news from these communities is distressing, he is optimistic better days are ahead.
It has been one year since he released the inspirational song Nothing Like Love, complemented by a video shot near his hometown of Tavares Gardens (aka Payne Land), Kingston.
With Christmas in the air, the singer/songwriter says its message of empowerment is timely.
"Nothing Like Love came about when I saw that the need for love is great and love is being misunderstood in today's society, so I wanted to make a love song that isn't directed to the conversation of relationships, but to the love for community, the love for family and friends, the love for the joy, etc... a kinda song that showed the colours and smiles of the innercity and that everyone existing within that spectrum isn't governed by the stereotype the world has placed on us," he said in an interview with the Jamaica Observer.
Produced by Gravity Records, Nothing Like Love was released in August 2021. Its opening verse hears a man talking about mediation to solve problems, a difference to his misguided youth when the gun was used to settle personal scores.
Growing up in tough Kingston communities, J Written (real name Jason Wright) saw young men who walked on the dark side due to lack of opportunities. He was never tempted to stray, becoming a honour student at Bridgeport High School where he was a prolific writer of essays.
His recording career, which began five years ago, has yielded songs like Remember December and Fear to Understand (with Alborosie). Briefly, he was part of a Wailers tribute trio with fellow singers Asadenaki and Blvk H3ro.
Nothing Like Love is a direct address to inner-city 'bredrin'.
"I think in all things, situations influences choices, and growing up in the innercity I've seen a lot of friends and families go through tough situations. It matters not how hard the solutions are, the most important truth is they are solutions. Yes, I've seen a lot of wayward youths who found their way but also a lot who got lost," he said.
J Written is currently working with community leaders in Trench Town and adjacent areas on projects aimed at uplifting young people. His new song, Sunday Morning, is scheduled for release in January.