ATLANTA — Up-and-coming hip-hop artist J-NiBB, also known as Josh Niblick, has recently signed a distribution deal with Universal Records along with a deal to become a business partner with Psalms Group, based in Atlanta.
Born and raised in Piqua, Niblick moved to Georgia just three months ago. The decision to relocate came after years of seeking guidance from above.
“It was 2015 when I ended up realizing that God was directing me to move, and I didn’t know where, so I started praying,” he said. “I got tons of signs telling me I needed to move to Atlanta.”
These signs, Niblick said, came in the form of repeatedly seeing license plates from Georgia while driving around Piqua, hearing about a friend’s random dream that he had moved to Atlanta, and even people approaching him asking where he’s from.
“I would be in conversation and people would tell me I look like I’m from Georgia,” Niblick said. “I’m thinkin, ‘How do you look like you’re from Georgia?!’ But this type of stuff happened for years, so I was like, I know where I’m supposed to go, I just don’t know why.”
Even so, Niblick didn’t make the move until 2019 — four years after he first felt inclined to relocate.
“What I’ve found out is the most important thing is His timing because if we go too soon, we could mess it up, or we wait to long we could miss it,” he said. “So, I was in prayer about when to go when I finally received confirmation in 2019.”
Niblick said this confirmation came in a rather unsuspecting place — his gym’s parking lot — where he said he was instructed by God to pray for the people on the other side of the lot.
“I literally drove over to these people and said, ‘Hey, I know this might sound crazy, but do any of ya’ll happen to need prayer?’”
Niblick said one man told him, “No, thanks,” but a woman named Grace accepted, saying, “I would never turn down prayer.”
“I thought, ‘Wow, out of all the names in the world, her name is Grace,’” Niblick said. “We started praying and then before I left the parking lot, God gave me the confirmation and spoke to me exactly what I needed and it was about three weeks to a month later that I was packed up and moved down to Atlanta.”
Just three weeks after making the move, ffollowing a concert performance, Niblick was given a business card from a representative of Psalms Group, a distribution company under Universal Records. This was one of several business cards he received that night, so Niblick didn’t think much of it at the time.
“A few days passed and I go to pick up my Bible to read, and when I picked it up, this man’s business card was stuck to it underneath — out of everybody’s,” he said. “So I thought, ‘Huh, that might be a sign,’ and I went ahead and gave him a call.”
Niblick spoke with the Psalms Group rep who told him he not only enjoyed his music, but that he felt instructed by God to offer him a distribution deal. Even further, Niblick was offered a business partnership within the Psalms Group company.
“This was a big decision and I told him I needed to pray and I thought if they really wanted me and saw that potential in me then they’d wait on it, and they did,” he said. “Now, we’re formulating plans and my first single released through Universal will be my song ‘Bruce Banner.’”
Formed as an LLC corporation in 2008, Psalms Group company provides label management consisting of creative direction, marketing, promotion, manufacturing and distribution through INgrooves, the independent distribution arm of Universal Music Christian Group.
Those who are already familiar with the music of J-NiBB know his songs often include references to his spirituality and relationship with God. However, it hasn’t always been that way.
“Before I changed my music, I would have random people throughout my journey come up to me, whether it was at a bar or a club I was performing at, or even at the store, and they would say, ‘Hey, man, you should make music for God,’ and I was like, ‘What?’
“I had no idea there was even people out there who did that,” he continued. “Now that I look back, I see how He has always been after me, always trying to get me to do the right thing.”
Niblick’s love for making music began at age 13 when he remixed his first song.
“I wrote the lyrics and recorded it on a karaoke machine to a song called, ‘Nike Airs And Crisp Tees’ (by Rick Ross). I was so pumped when I was done,” he said. “I ran out and played it for my mom. After that, I had this notebook, and I would write every single day. I probably had about 100 songs written before I ever recorded again.”
Niblick’s interest, experience and talent grew throughout the years, yet his love for Jesus did not truly flourish until the end of 2014, he said. It was then he was baptized and gave his life to God.
After his baptism, Niblick attended Piqua’s Transformed Life Church, led by Pastor Brian Hamilton. It was Hamilton who finally convinced Niblick to write a song for God.
“(Hamilton) knew I made music, but he never knew it was serious because I only knew him from church,” Niblick said. “I had already had people approach me with this idea, but God is so strategic that he knew it had to come out of the mouth of someone I respected for me to actually do it.”
Niblick took Hamilton’s advice and eventually created his first “spiritual” song, called “Surrender,” but not without experiencing turmoil along the way. Niblick felt he had fallen into a rut when it came to music and writing, and he was unsure if — or how — he could rise above it.
“I was sitting at the computer looking at the ground and said, ‘I’m just done.’ I remember at at the moment I quit was when my fire was lit,” he said. “I had this feeling in my stomach, and it really felt like a flicker. As soon as I felt it, I started singing, and this song just flowed out.”
Niblick now refers to this as the moment he “broke through the wall,” and his creativity and vision flowed freely after.
“I realized this is what I’m really supposed to do, and I accepted it as my calling — to be dedicated to Him and make positive music used to inspire people and get them to live the best life they can,” he said.
J-NiBB released his first album, “Internal Conversations,” in 2016, which led to two independent tours in 26 cities across the country. His second album, “Resilient,” which is out now, was released in 2018.
The song, “Prevail,” from his second album won hip-hop song of the year at the 2019 Rhythm of Gospel Awards in Baton Rouge, where J-NiBB also won hip-hop artist of the year. “Resilient” is also nominated for the 2019 Prayze Factor Awards Album of the Year.
Along with making music, Niblick is a radio personality on WNRR Gospel 1380 AM and 93.3 FM.
“My main goal is to inspire and motivate people. I got the 5 to 7 p.m. slot, which is right when people are getting off work, and they want somebody entertaining,” he said. “So I’m just me — my high enthusiasm self — just being funny, making people laugh, and playing R&B style stuff that’s upbeat and positive.”
Niblick has also delved into public/motivational speaking, recording/mixing for fellow artists, graphic design, and even acting.
“I thought when I came down to Atlanta, I’d let some doors open up,” he said. “But music is definitely the forefront.”
For now, Niblick looks forward to what the future holds for his career and life in Atlanta, but, in true J-NiBB fashion, he has words of wisdom for anyone back home in Piqua who may need them.
“Never be quick to follow the crowd because if you waste your time following what you think is cool, you miss out on your actual purpose, and if you don’t ever find your purpose, you’ll always be wondering if there is more to life,” he said. “Don’t worry about religion, but worry about getting your relationship with Jesus, and be consistent in prayer, and that’s when your life will change.”
To keep up with J-NiBB, visit J-NiBB.com, or follow @jnibb on Instagram.
Niblick’s music can be found on all popular platforms, including Spotify, and iTunes. To book J-NiBB for a concert or speaking event, email email@example.com.
Reach the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org. ©2019 Miami Valley Today, all rights reserved.