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Behind the music, there is always a story to be told. Whether it’s triumph or tribulation, Queens-bred R&B singer Boxie (né Jason H. Dendy) is revealing his tale through his vocal skills. ‘This is the B side of the [music] industry, side Boxie,’ he explains, of using his talents to showcase the reality behind the music. ‘This is the side that you’re not gonna see. This is the grind, this is the struggle, this is the street for R&B.’ Hailing from New York City’s regal borough, the Southside Jamaica resident came up amid a violent and drug-infested neighborhood. Although the youngest of five children was never a fixture on the block, Boxie did fall victim to the troubles that tend to plague unsupervised youths hanging on the street. ‘It was a rough place,’ says Boxie. ‘[But] it was still a place that made me and it helped me become what I am, so it was good for me to grow up around that. It kept me real, it kept me smart and to stay on top of things.’ Music was certainly the ‘thing’ he was on top of.

At the tender age of three, Boxie became aware of his ability to sing. But it wasn’t until the soul singer stepped foot inside Queens’ Blanche Memorial Baptist Church that he allowed his talent to flourish. Belting out sounds of a man five times his age, Boxie blew audiences away with his words. ‘I made people cry before,’ he reveals. ‘It’s a great thing that I grew up in the church and in the streets because I take soul music and put it with street music to make my own vibe…I consider myself a street soul singer, like that person you heard on the corner doo-wopping in the ‘50s.’ Boxie’s mother, who witnessed her eldest son’s incarceration at a youthful 20 years old (the R&B singer pays homage to his jailed older brother by taking on his moniker), pushed the crooner to stay in church and stay away from the streets. By the time he was nine, the versatile talent was playing piano; by age 10, he was writing songs and recording his own material on karaoke machines and tape recorders. With nothing but music on his mind, Boxie let his studies fall to the wayside while he pursued opportunities that allowed his voice to be heard even without his parent’s approval—he’d forge his mother’s signature in order to participate in talent and fashion shows. His journey to stardom continued with the guidance of an elder neighbor while his mother was tending to others as a nurse and his father was making ends meet as a messenger.

In 2001, Boxie celebrated his first victory as a recognized superstar. ‘I won four times, three on TV and one off,’ he states, on his Apollo win for his aggressive yet soulful sound. ‘The greatest feeling I ever had being a kid is winning the Apollo.’ Although he walked away a winner, it wasn’t enough to deter the teen from finding trouble—Boxie dropped out of school at 16 and returned to the streets. ‘After the Apollo, I was back on the streets, just being a little knucklehead, singing when I could,’ he continues, ‘I never wanted to do bad things but when your moms is making powdered milk and you thirsty, you wanna bring mommy that whole milk. It’s called survival.’ The streets were calling Boxie’s name, but his neighborhood crew intercepted the call. Referred to as the ‘little brother on the block,’ the R&B singer’s elder friends knew his burgeoning talent was about to take him places. Fellow Southside resident and Murder Inc A&R BJ took notice of the fledgling singer’s skills and signed him to his company, Get Right, in 2005. Boxie was getting his feet wet with Murder INC. who launched the careers of Ja Rule and Ashanti. ‘[The Inc] are my big brothers in this music business; they keep me grounded and they help me,’ says Boxie, who also lists Frankie Lyman, Stevie Wonder, R. Kelly and Jamie Foxx as influences. Meeting BJ and Inc CEO Irv Gotti helped catapult Boxie’s career into overdrive.

In 2005, Boxie churned out his first mixtape, ‘Boxie The Mixtape, ’which made its street debut up and down I-95—and graced the Memphis Bleek track, ‘Infatuated,’ with his stellar vocal skills. While working with BJ, the young talent began to lay down vocals in multi-million dollar recording studios. BJ then delivered Boxie’s professional recordings—one track being a mesmerizing rendition of the Jackson Five’s ‘Show You The Way To Go’—to Bryan Leach, founder and President of Polo Grounds Music. Leach was overly impressed with the then 15-year-old’s musical abilities and signed the New York native to the PGM roster. ‘I courted Boxie for years because the kid’s a career artist. His talent, charm, maturity, coolness and humbleness is so rare nowadays that when you see it you have to recognize it and hope that you do it justice. We’re fortunate to have him.’

Now, at 18, with his new single ‘Let Me Show You’ featuring Juelz Santana as well as recognition from his past work with label mate Hurricane Chris, on ‘Playas Rock’ —Boxie is forging ahead as the face of street R&B. Boxie’s talent has not only secured himself a place in music but in fashion as well. He is the newest face of international apparel brand FILA, with features in both print and national television campaigns that run throughout 2008.

From recording in closets and cars to studio sessions with Bryan-Michael Cox, Ne-yo, Eric Hudson and many others, Boxie’s debut effort is a true-to-life listen. ‘I’m a kid who had nothing,’ he says. ‘Everybody needs to know that if you have a dream, go for it, no matter what your life situation. This is my dream.’

(Via Wikipedia – New pages [en].)

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