Biography: CJ Hilton
The son of a gospel vocalist, Baltimore, Maryland native CJ Hilton comes by his talent naturally. Growing up, the 21-year-old singer honed his enormous talent singing in church. Skipping the traditional talent show route, CJ's skills earned him an immediate signing with Washington, DC-based production company Backwoods, known for their work with R&B favorite Ginwuine, who got him a meeting with Sony head Tommy Mottola. After a short stint at Mottola's Casablanca Records, CJ landed at Capitol.
Like many artists, CJ wasn't done label-bouncing, parting ways with that label after three years. He recalls, "They didn't really understand my project." But it wasn't a wasted union -- during his time there, he was fortunate to work with Grammy Award-winning musician Raphael Saadiq. The two remained in contact, which lead to an appearance and writing and producing credit on the track "Never Give You Up" on Saadiq's 2008 disc The Way I See It. The song, which also featured Stevie Wonder, earned the trio a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and lead CJ to his current deal with J Records.