J. Ivy – Grammy Award Winning Poet and Author

At this year’s 65th Annual Grammy awards, The Recording Academy introduced a new category, Best Spoken Word Album—a category that was lobbied by Chicago poet, author and songwriter, J Ivy. Last year, his album, Catching Feelings Live at Fort Knox was nominated for the Best-Spoken Word category alongside non-poet nominees including Dave Chapelle, Levar Burton and Barack Obama.

J Ivy’s album, The Poet Who Sat By The Door was nominated in the category and snagged the top honor. The album featured an all-star collaboration of artists—Bronzeville native, Sir the Baptist; the Tennessee State University Marching Band, PJ Morton, Slick Rick, and his wife, Tarrey Torae among others. His time on the Board of Trustees was vital to bringing together the talent for this project.

He said, “It was amazing that building relationships can create great art.”

In 2019, Ivy became the Midwest Chapter President of The National Academy Recording of Arts and Science (NARAS)—the first poet to hold the role. His new position brought a fresh leadership for the chapter and excitement for the regional music industry until the pandemic hit the nation in March 2020.

“The poetry was the joy I needed. It was the non-judgmental therapist, and friend that I could talk to. In my thoughts and ideas, I could put them on the page and be me.”

Throughout his career, Ivy has made amazing strides with his eloquent gift of words and wordplay—working with Chicago friends Kanye West, Coodie Simmons who encouraged him to relocate to New York in 2002. Working with Kanye on his first album, College Dropout and being a part of a close-knit group of Chicago natives—was refreshing. Ivy knew magic was happening.

Having worked on major brands such as AARP, Brand Jordan, BET, McDonalds, Microsoft, NBA, Nissan, Benjamin Moore and many others—Ivy’s voice and writing skills have help brands expand their reach to a younger and hip audience.

One of his most profound works, Dear Father: Breaking the Cycle of Pain would be his entry as a book author. Published by Beyond Words, the book is an open letter to the father he came to terms within his final years on earth. It was a therapeutic journey for him.

For the past 30 years, Ivy has become one of the leading spoken word artists and writers in the industry. His cup runneth over but he always finds time to help other artists in their pursuit of finding resources in the music industry. He admits, a great part of his success has been his music partner and wife; singer and songwriter, Tarrey Torrae.

“She is the engine, the driving force, the jet fuel in my engine. She’s my guiding light and she helps keep me straight on course. Without Tarrey, The Poet Who Sat By The Door would have not happened in the short two months we had to produce this album. This win is not just my win but ‘our’ win,” says Ivy.