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J. Holiday bio


J. Holiday bio
© Capitol Records.

Born & Raised:

Real Name: Nahum Grymes.
Born: Sept. 6, 1982 in Washington D.C. Raised in the Alexandria, Virginia/Washington D.C. area.

Early Life:

The boy who would eventually grow up to be known as J. Holiday was born Nahum Grymes in the Washington DC area. He was born into a musical family; mother Frances, an ordained preacher, sang Gospel, and his older sister was a backing vocalist for Crystal Waters. He first began performing when, as a youngster, his older male cousins would make him sing to girls who were passing by in order to get their attention. But just a year or two later, when he was 11, Holiday's father died after an unspecified illness. The family wound up bouncing around the DC area; J. attended three different high schools in four years.


In the ninth grade, Holiday discovered the music of Marvin Gaye and that led him to other classic Soul and R&B artists like Donny Hathaway and Al Green. J. eventually formed a trio called 295, named for the thoroughfare between Washington, DC and Baltimore, Maryland. group manager Corey Green sent a demo to respected A&R Anthony "T.A." Tate, president of the Music Line production team. Upon hearing the demo, Tate flew to DC, signed the group and moved them to Atlanta. The group couldn't get a label deal, so Holiday went solo and was eventually signed by Capitol Records.

Debut Album:

After getting signed, Holiday started work on his debut album, Back of My 'Lac, which was released in the U.S. on Oct. 2, 2007. The album was a surprise hit, led by the sexy single, "Bed." Bed" was the No. 1 R&B song on Billboard's R&B chart for five straight weeks until it was dethroned by Alicia Keys' "No One." "Bed" peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart. Back of My 'Lac debuted on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart at No. 5, selling about 105,000 copies in its first week. It debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.

Stage Name:

The "J" in J. Holiday stands for James, his late uncle's name. And according to various stories, he got the name 'Holiday' from when he'd be working in the studio and the folks he was working with would remark about how it was so easy to lay down a track with him that it was like they were on vacation, or a holiday. So they started calling him "J. Holiday."


"I just speak from what I’ve been through, or what my homies been through. I just try to keep it real. I let a track talk to me. If a track feels like a love song, I write a love song. But you have to make that song mean something. If it's not heartfelt for me, it's not going to be heartfelt for anybody. I think people are too concerned with having one hit song and the artistry that goes into an entire album is getting lost." -- J. Holiday, from his official Capitol Records biography.

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