The struggle and grind to the top is deeper than those on the outside looking in can even fathom.
One could easily be led to believe that along with the ingredients of a chart topping record, one that has everyone and their grand-mama’s singing along, would equate to financial stability and red carpets swiftly greeting the artist the moment they open their eyes in the morning. Not to mention, seeing his or her face on every morning and late night talk show.
But that’s so not the case.
It takes more than just lending your vocals over a dope and catchy beat. You have to know the business. You have to be willing to understand the gains and the losses. And when one door closes, you have to have the strength to just move on.
In 2009, we were indirectly introduced to Detroit R&B artist, K’Jon when he delivered the smooth, steppers single ‘On the Ocean’ on the Universal Republic record label.
The song spread fast, instantly becoming the go-to joint for every cruise ship and steppers set. There wasn’t a performance that K’ Jon did where he couldn’t leave without singing that song.
We knew the lyrics. We called in and requested the song to be played over and over. But we didn’t know the man behind the lyrics.
“The record was big but there was nothing to connect me with the record,” expresses K’Jon as we sit in his Detroit studio, The Disc. “It’s a wonderful feeling but you’re ready to go and do some work with it. I’m ready to hit the couches, books, and magazines. I’m ready to go over seas and I didn’t get none of that!”
True. He was so close and then … nothing. The fan base that grew was teased with one amazing song. But you know how a mainstream audience is, unless it gets all of you, magazine spreads, BET interviews, a personal story to connect them and the like, they’ll rock with your song, until the next single rolls around and there’s no reason to remember you.
Harsh as hell, but then again, it’s just another one of those challenges that come along with the business. Unfortunate, yes, however, in the world of entertainment it takes thick skin and work ethic that can’t be blocked by anyone to gain respect and rise to your respective spot.
The grind isn’t sweet. But so worth it, that is of course, if you want it bad enough.
And since the disappointing marketing and movement of his first album, K’Jon chucked up the lost and kept the hustle going. In 2012, he offers his sophomore project. The oh-so-appropriate titled, Moving On, is available now in Target and online!
Taking the independent route with his Up & Up label , the singer teamed up with indie label powerhouse Shanachie, and together they were able to vibe and create a sound that’s all authentic and all K’Jon.
With the indie label, K’Jon’s plan is to “definitely be different from anybody who’s really come out on Shanachie. I wanted to be able to do x,y, and z and they said, cool. We put it in writing and I’m very confident and excited.”
Moving On discusses life and what it’s been for the artist up until this point. The album produces hip-hop, urban mainstream R &B, pop, and a flow of jazzy acoustics.
“It’s about current topics and what’s really on my mind,” K’Jon says. It’s a lot more of the struggle. It’s a couple of songs where I’m saying some slick stuff and you wouldn’t know who I’m talking about, but it’s therapeutic.”
The first single, Will You Be There is a winner. On the track, K’Jon gives us soul mixed with lyrical storytelling, a much needed combination in today’s era of rhythm and blues. It’s honest and passionate in asking a simple question that could end in a whirlwind of complex responses.
Plus, the song makes so much sense. Having entered the industry three different “promising” times and finally feeling like you’ve made it, when all seems to come to a halt, it leaves one questioning who’s really holding them down.
“Will You Be There was formed because while everyone was going through their hardships, I was going through mine as well,” K’Jon shares. “[With ‘Ocean’], I wrote it, co-produced it, and I sung it but in other people’s minds, the song didn’t belong to me, so I wasn’t able to capitalize financially like I should have.”
That may have been the case then. But now there’s a new energy and eagerness to work. That’s the attitude when you’re Detroit-bred! (Deee-troit, whaddup doe!)
This go-round, K’Jon is confident in the fact that he’ll make moves. “I’m so happy because independent is where it’s at,” he exclaims. “It’s a blessing because I’ve been in this industry three times, I guess I was meant to be because I’m finding myself in situations, I guess I’m bred for this.”
Moving On is honest in its testimony offering motivational records but, with 20 tracks (4 of which are Target exclusives), K’Jon still manages to take us to the club with tracks like ‘Bad Gurl’ and Ex-Amnesia and for the steppers, you know he didn’t forget about you!