Riff On This: Lady J’s reignited passion for creating lyrics based on her life experiences

Devoted career mom put her love of music on pause for her family, but now she’s back

Hairstylist, barber, bartender, former Orange County Sheriff’s Office employee, mom, you name it; female rap artist Lady J has done a lot in her life, but now her focus is on her music.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Hairstylist, barber, bartender, former Orange County Sheriff’s Office employee, mom, you name it; female rap artist Lady J has done a lot in her life, but now her focus is on her music.

Originally starting in the ‘90s, the aspiring artist got to piggyback off the legendary Jam Pony Express, based out of Ft. Lauderdale. Performing at block parties called Mic Check, Lady J got to experience what the music industry was like first-hand. Artists MC Star & Disco AKA The City Boys took her under their wing to show her the ropes, but Lady J’s musical aspirations had to take a time out.

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Lady J was a single mother of two. It wasn’t easy being the sole provider for her two children, so another career came calling.

Lady J worked 16 years for Orange County both for the Clerk of Court and the Orange County Sheriff's Office. (WKMG)

The young mother took an administrative job with the Orange County Clerk of Court. It was stable, had government benefits, and she stayed there for six years. The career path with the county didn’t stop. Lady J was hired in 2000 by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and was there doing administrative work for 10 years.

Lady J seen with former OSCO Sheriff Kevin Beary in 2005 celebrating her 5 year anniversary as an administrative professional. (WKMG)

Lady J’s ambition and creativity came in handy during those years. To make her children even more comfortable, she took on yet another job.

“I was a kitchen beautician,” said Lady J, giggling. “I would leave my nine-to-five and tend to my kids, then at night I had clients that would come to the house to get their hair done.” The determined mother was now bringing in two incomes, alone.

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After 16 years with Orange County, suddenly Lady J found life taking her in a different direction. Her father had fallen ill, so she resigned. Her children were old enough to take care of themselves and she was stable enough to leave her job to care for her family that needed her.

“People can judge you know, what you went through in your life, so I decided to turn those experiences into something greater than just gossip,” Lady J said.

Years later and now a grandmother of six, the fierce multi-talented woman uses her life experiences to make the lyrics of her songs relatable. “I won’t write about things I haven’t experienced, so what you get is all me,” Lady J said. It was these experiences that helped create her first song, “Misunderstood,” that she recorded many years after her first experiences with Jam Pony Express.

Earlier this year, the female rapper got to open for rapper JT Money — known for his hit “Who Dat,” released in 1999 and peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 — at a private birthday celebration for his close friend.

Lady J with JT Money earlier this year. (WKMG)

In August, Lady J found herself on stage yet again, this time performing with Miami bass and hip hop duo 69 Boyz. Her most recent performance was Labor Day weekend at the Lake Eola amphitheater for the Ouff Live Music Showcase, which was part of the Orlando Urban Film Festival.

Lady J seen with hip hop duo 69 Boyz in August before a performance. (WKMG)

Lady J said she’s often asked why she waited so late in life to get back into music. Her reply is simple.

“It’s my time, that’s all I can say is my time. Back then I probably wasn’t mature enough, like, but now I’m mature and that’s a blessing. I’m able to be obedient and what I’m called to do, right, back then I probably would have not been as focused, but now I am more stable in life,” Lady J said.

Of course, Lady J still loves being a hairstylist and barber. She still has her cosmetology license and a lengthy clientele list. When she’s not cutting hair or in the studio recording new tracks, the talented Glam-ma is behind the bar having a few laughs while tending with patrons of Red 13 cigar bar, adding even more life experiences to possibly inspire her next song.

When asked what words of advice or wisdom she would give to people who still dream of being a music artist, Lady J said being committed is a major step in the right direction.

“It’s going to be hard and there will be some bumpy roads along the way... Yes, it’s gonna hurt, but wipe the tears away. You got to find strength in it to keep moving,” said Lady J, encouragingly. “That’s what I do every day.”

About the Author:

Emmy Award Winning Meteorologist Samara Cokinos joined the News 6 team in September 2017. In her free time, she loves running and being outside.