Singer/songwriter PJ has helped craft songs for everyone from Usher and Fantasia to Lil Boosie. However, her climb to the top ain’t been no crystal stair. The North Carolina native battled her own crippling self-doubt, as well as years as an unsuccessful songwriter, ultimately working at a grocery store before catching a break. Experiences such as these provide depth to the singer’s music, which can be heard in songs like her latest single “What It Looks Like,” where she finds not only hope but a bit of cockiness in her personal struggles.
Over an acoustic groove, PJ speaks with angst about her own trials and tribulations in a charming self-love anthem. At one point, she laments, “They’ll never put you anywhere / But that little space they call down.” Although our heroine might feel down, she’s determined not to stay there, exasperatingly stating, “This is what it looks like / When you get up and you tired, and you / Still grind.” Somewhat reminiscent for Tracy Chapman with a bit more of a hip-hop edge, PJ’s refrain provide a feeling of hope and security when the only evidence of such is faith.
The video for the song, directed by Chris Black, is just as sentimental. Taking place over a dinner table in a tiny apartment, we watch as different stories unfold that run the gamut from domestic abuse to growing old to just the everyday challenges and joys of a young family. While the “feels” can be a bit much when you combine the subject matter of the song with some of the more heartbreaking moments, we can’t deny that it’s a great visual. Simple, but clever, the execution gets you in the heart strings.
“This Is What It Looks Like” is the latest single from PJ’s debut album, Rare. Produced largely by D’Mile, who’s done work for Janet Jackson, Ty Dolla $ign and Justin Bieber among others, the project is full of a number of self-love anthems. If you’re curious what it sounds like, just hit play on the video below.