Teenage singer-songwriter AJ Mitchell first emblazoned his signature pop/R&B sound on Instagram, stacking 1.5 million followers after posting covers and original songs that captured his silky vocal style and garnered him fans around the world. But he’s never been afraid to just jump in. Diving into music lessons when he was only 4 years old, the Bellville, Illinois-native kicked off his teen years by sharing clips of himself singing covers on social media.
The following year he began posting performances of his tracks, and before he knew it, he had a fan base and a road map to hone his craft and strengthen his own songwriting. His confidence boosted, his multifaceted range was highlighted early on in one of his first original singles, “Used to Be,” a bittersweet pop/R&B track about a failing relationship he’d penned at the age of 13.
The song became a crowd favorite during his premier showcase tour, which took him from New York to Los Angeles, where he has lived since 2016. Citing a well-rounded host of influences, from Coldplay to the Beatles to Bruno Mars and Lil Wayne, his songwriting ability aligns with a vocal presence that raises expectations about the bright musical future ahead.Now, with more than 15 million plays on Spotify, he’s launching his Epic Records debut EP, Hopeful, with a repertoire of songs that broadens his sound and expounds on subject matter very familiar to the charismatic teen.
The infectious “Girls” is a radio-friendly gem that nails the buoyant vibe that AJ was aiming for. “I want people to dance and be able to relate to my music,” he explains. Over a smooth bounce punctuated by ’80s-evoking synths, he sings, “Girls / they get in my way / got myself thinking about ’em all day / girls / they’re all I can see / I don’t care if they out of my reach.”
AJ says the lyrics stemmed from the advice he’s received most often through his journey: Don’t get a girlfriend! “It’s good advice,” he laughs. “They can be distracting. But they give me a lot to write about.”