Jon Bellion captured our soulful side with his hit “2 Rocking Chairs.” It’s one of the most popular singles off his latest album, The Separation, which dropped at the end of 2013. Growing up around music, Jon got his first taste of producing at an early age and hasn’t stopped since. He continued to pursue his dreams of being a musician, landing the credits to the hook of Eminem and Rihanna’s latest hit “Monster.” Bellion is a musical machine, constantly creating, writing songs for himself and others, producing and directing his own music videos, and thinking of new ways to collide genres. He’s ready to dominate the music scene in 2014.
Bellion played his first ever live show at SOB’s in NYC at the end of 2013. The crowd went wild for every second of his performance, singing every word to every song. We got the chance to meet up with him after the show to talk about music, fame, and working with some of the industry’s top artists. Check it out below.
What is the most exciting thing that’s happened to you during your musical come up?
I got to play my records for J. Cole once, I was totally fan-boying and he was the first person I got to play my records for. I almost got involved with their management, and they took me to the studio one day to meet him and he’s a really nice guy, it was a pretty memorable moment, it was the first time i met somebody.
What was your inspiration for The Separation?
I just want people to listen to it and to understand why there is an entity straying away from the pack. I put my whole life into these beats and this music. I want it to be different, I want people to not know if they like it on the first chance or the first listen. I’m not afraid to be different. Kanye did that, Pharrell did that, my heroes did that. I want this first album to be what separates me from everybody else.
Tell me about the transitioning from songwriter to performing artist?
There never really was a transition for me. The day I signed my publishing deal was the day i finished translations through speakers. We were trying to work the videos, there was never a jump, I’ve always been working on whatever I can get. Then, the Eminem thing happened right before The Separation dropped. I’m just blessed to be working in so many different areas of the music industry right now.
How did you end up writing for Eminem?
I was in the studio and I wrote this hook for another artist, they took her verses off, sent the beats to Eminem and he liked it.
How did you feel when you knew that was going to happen? Your writing was going to be in Eminem’s new single?
I’m just blessed that someone of his stature is even listening to something I’ve done. That was mind-blowing. I feel very humbled and very blessed.
It’s crazy that you shoot and edit all your videos yourself. What was it like filming a video like the one for “Jim Morrison?”
“Jim Morrison” was a big accident! We had a whole video scheduled but we ended up freeballing it because we had a really awesome camera for a couple of days. Right around the time I was doing my fourth video, so I got kinda good at setting up. It was me and this dude Grvty, he’s amazing – we just shot whatever the lyrics said. When it says “I got my mama crying for the right reason” I was like, okay lets get a shot of my mom crying. It just worked out, we did the spotlight in my backyard on my basketball court while my mom was cooking for us.
With all the elements that go into your music, how would you describe your sound?
New. Maybe some Dilla inspired drum swings and a Ben Gibbard lyrics approach, with rich instrumentation.
What’s coming up next for Jon Bellion?
The third album! I’m hoping to make it free for my fans. The Separation was just the beginning, the third album is going to be beating out the last two. Definitely going to start touring. More great music!