R&B/Soul Singer-songwriter K'JON made waves on the music scene with his Chart-topping Billboard Adult R&B timeless hit "On the Ocean" from his 2009 debut album I Get Around along with a 2012 follow-up album Moving On.
I caught up with the Detroit native to discuss his new single "Live, Love & Laughter", what it was like growing up in Detroit, what keeps him motivated and much more...
TERRANCE: First, talk a little about what it was like growing up in Detroit, Michigan.
K'JON: Growing up in Detroit... it was rough, because my mom was a single parent. She had six kids and so we struggled. We struggled financially, but we were a very loving family. We stayed together and I think that's one thing when you don't have a lot of money and when you have a big town, what do you do? You get around and you sing. So I think I can attribute that early on to the writing and the singing because of our condition with the way we were coming up financially and culturally in the neighborhood. We stuck to ourselves, so it was rough.
TERRANCE: Who were some of your influences coming along?
K'JON: I really like the entrepreneurs of the music industry like the P. Diddy's, the Jermaine Dupri's, the Master P's, the 50 Cent's, because that's kind of how I started independently, so I really admired those guys. Even though Babyface is the person I looked up to because of his writing abilities.
TERRANCE: How did you get your first big break in the industry?
K'JON: My first big break came after I was laid off and when I moved right in the studio, I said, hmm... let me try this full-time. I put a mixtape CD out there, like a sampler. It was getting passed around and it landed in a guys hand who introduced me to Ludacris' camp and I started running with them and landed on the 2 Fast 2 Furious Soundtrack. That was my first professional work and that's how I got my start.
TERRANCE: Talk about the meaning behind your new single "Live, Love & Laughter".
K'JON: We're releasing some webisodes where I kind of break the whole thing down, it's just because of the Coronavirus, it's kind of interfering with some of the taping's of the webisodes. But, I think overall, that special one in your life is the one you want to run home to after a long day in a chaotic world. That's like your sanctuary. It's also love for people and treating them how you want to be treated. It's the little things in your life that you do to make sure that flame that's burning ...is burning, so it's the little things that don't always require money. It's the quality contents that you have in your life that you fill your life up with.
TERRANCE: Can we expect a new album anytime soon or is the single the focus right now?
K'JON: Yeah, the single is the focus right now, but there's an album and who knows where we're going with this Pandemic in the world? You know, one thing about my music is it's really non-offensive. I know over the years and trying times, it's always been some music out there. You might not be able to make the type of money that you want, but a true artist do it for the people to lift the soul and lift the spirits. I'm that type of guy.
TERRANCE: What do you think will separate the new album from previous albums?
K'JON: Well, when I drop the new album, you'll notice a difference. You'll see the growth. It's like some of the singles I've put out from the last couple of years, they've been catering towards uplifting our women. A lot of people just know me for positive messages and whatnot and that's fine, but I want a romantic album out there that's not offensive, but is not corny. I had a lot of fun with it too.
TERRANCE: In a sometimes fickle music industry, what keeps you motivated?
K'JON: I'm a self-motivated type of person. That's just my work ethic, you know? I'm a self-starter, but besides that, at the end of the day, not just the love for it, but music does play a part because at the same time, it's also a form of providing. I have to balance it, so I don't disregard it whatsoever. But I know this, what is it they say? Don't let the money make the man, just make the money. It really is a job for me and I actually put a lot of time towards my spirituality and that's what changed with me over the last 10 years. I'm definitely a stronger spiritual man and so that keeps me grounded, you know? Because that life right there can have you all over if you're not careful and so I've been able to keep a level head and I've been able to appreciate my relationship with God. I actually devote my time to full-time ministry, so I'm happy about that.
TERRANCE: What are your views on R&B music as far as where it stands today?
K'JON: There's a noticeable difference in how they label R&B music, at least from mainstream, because if you listen to the hidden gems, they definitely have that true sense of style and you could find soul, once you go looking. It's like you go looking through an old record collection to find some good R&B. Mainstream is really Hip Hop now, so I don't know how they got to labeling it that way.
TERRANCE: Besides the music, what other goals have you set for yourself in 2020?
K'JON: I'm definitely trying to just stay healthy and keep my family healthy this year.
TERRANCE: Any final words you would like to share with your fans, followers and the readers?
K'JON: Well, over the years I've just been blessed to gain fans. I have like three to four generation of people who know me through "Ocean", even if they don't know my name. A lot of times I would have a concert and someone would come up to me and say, you know what? My mama loves you or my grandma loves you. I used to get that all the time and we used to laugh so hard, but I'm appreciative to them for sharing my music man. You can put the records on and you can just let it ride and it's a smooth thing whether you're studying or cleaning up or you're in a relaxed mood chillin' and sippin' or whatever. That's me and I really appreciate the fans out there who stuck with me and encourage other people to give me a try, so I appreciate that.
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