Today was a typical Monday for J. Dash (or, as I like to refer to him "future Grammy winner J. Dash"). He was driving to his job as a computer engineer at a large Jacksonville company (sorry, can't tell you where lest more groupies find out ... no, really, they already show up there) and got a phone call from Ken Underwood.
"How does it feel to be a platinum [recording] artist?" Underwood said. (J., for those of you who have been living under a very large rock, like, a freaking boulder, is also a Jacksonville-based recording artist best known for his single "WOP" and is part of local band Fusebox Funk.)
J. says he couldn't breathe.
"It's crazy. When the song went gold, I thought it could happen, but I always had this fear in the back of my head that it would sell 999,999 and then people would stop buying it," he says on the phone. "But then the day comes ... I realized this is the day my life is going to change, and it's incredible."
Since its original release several years ago, "WOP" has become nothing short of a phenomenon. Without the support of a major record label, it has been on the Billboard Hot 100 list for 10 weeks, where it's currently #76 (just above Jay-Z and Tim McGraw, FYI). Videos shot by fans all over the world doing the "WOP" have received more than 100 million views on YouTube, and it has become a common trending topic on Instagram and Vine. The song has been featured on NBC's "Today Show," "The Teen Choice Awards" (where audience members set the Guinness World Record for twerking) and in the now infamous Miley Cyrus video.
Underwood, founder and CEO of J.'s record label StereoFame Records, says the accomplishment is especially impressive since StereoFame, based in Ponte Vedra Beach, is an independent label, though, lately, he says, "the majors" have been banging down his door.
"We are currently entertaining proposals from several major labels who are eager to become partners in J. Dash's success," Underwood says. "In fact, J. and I expect to announce a partnership with one of the majors before the end of the month, so stay tuned."
One person who isn't surprised by J's success is his mom. She was the first person he called this morning with the big news to which she replied: "I knew it." She was also the first person to ever hear the song, only a rough cut at the time, and told him then the song would be platinum one day.
As "excited and blessed" as J. is to be in the position that he is at the moment, he says he's the same guy who was recording songs in his dorm room at the University of Florida. "Honestly, any accolade I've ever gotten is just more motivation for me to keep making my dreams come true," he says.
Now his goal of earning a platinum record realized, J. can focus on his next goal: winning a Grammy. Still, he has no plans to leave his day job. "My daughter needs health benefits," he laughs.
Check out the official "WOP" video, buy the song (actually, by the whole CD, "Tabloid Truth" and you can thank me later) then learn how to do the dance. And while you're at it, enjoy some of the thousands of fan videos on YouTube ... including my own.
NOTE: I am honored and flattered and, quite frankly, almost peed my pants when J. called me to give his very first interview since learning about "WOP" going platinum. Take that, TMZ.