interview JON B  (February 2009) | Interview By: Javon Adams

   Have you ever heard the term ‘Baby Making Music’? Well, trust me when I say that Jon B. is an artist that creates such music. He is a soulful singer that has been inducing swoons for years and he can also boast that he recorded with the late great 2Pac. Do your research and get to know Jon B.

Javon recently hooked up with the R&B crooner for dubcnn.com to find out about his new project, Hopeless Romantic. Jon talks about love, motivation and how being in such a great place in his life helped to create a classic R&B project that will please Jon B. fans and convert new listeners as well.

Take a few minutes to get familiar with Jon B. and get back in touch with your romantic side. Even the hardest folks like to smooth it out from time to time.

As ever, you can read this exclusive interview below and we urge you to leave feedback on our forums or email them to
Javon Adams.

Interview was done in October 2008

Questions Asked By: Javon Adams

Jon B Interview Audio: Listen Here

Dubcnn: Dubcnn is sitting down with Jon B. How are you doing man?

Everything is peace. Everything is good.

Dubcnn: Before I get started, my wife said I had to ask this question because the ladies will want to know. Married? Single? What’s the status?

I’m married and just had my first daughter this year in July.

Dubcnn: Congrats on that. Singer, producer and songwriter…is it safe to say that performing gives you the most joy?

I would say that I am much more of a studio person. I love being in the studio and producing songs and making beats and playing keys. I think that there is a different part of me that gets stimulated when I do a live performance. It’s almost like a super high…its definitely a test for some people’s ego too. Some people take that part of it a little more seriously than I do. I love performing for people but I would definitely consider myself more of a scientist in the lab.

Dubcnn: Since you mentioned that, can you explain the process when you are writing or producing for another artist. How involved do you get and what is that process like?

It’s a real beautiful process…as far as producing myself its really…I love collaborating with people but a real Jon B. record from beginning to end will be something that I created myself. The music…everything from sitting down and playing a couple of chords to singing over the top of it with a nice melody. Maybe I don’t even come up with a melody right away and I just put some chords down. As they keep repeating I make beat over the top of that and let it play over and over and just vibe in the room until something hits you.

The first thing I come up with is usually the hook. That gives me a theme for what I’m going to write about and a broad kind of idea of where I’m going to go with the verses. It’s really easy. It’s a beautiful process when you work with someone else too because you talk about whatever you’re going to write about. It’s like horsepower in a car with the two minds working together. I’m definitely more of a self contained artist than most so I definitely feel like my messages on this album are very personal. I’m definitely the most grounded that I have ever been in my life right now.

This album is called Helpless Romantic and the fans are definitely going to enjoy this one because it’s a good place to be. If you have appreciation for my music then you’ll hear that its in a solid place. I really like the single that we are leading off with. It’s called ‘So Sexy’ featuring my boy Paul Wall. Speaking of production and collaboration that was a track where I kinda laid back and let my man Mr. Lee from Swisha House do his thing. He is definitely skilled with the beats and all that and I love everything that he has done with Mike Jones and a lot of Paul Wall’s stuff and pretty much everything out of Swisha House. If Paul was going to get down with me it was most likely going to be on one of his beats. I did a joint for Paul’s album and he did one for mine. That was the only feature on my album so I wanted to lead it off with that. When people buy the album they get to really see what’s going on with my life.

Dubcnn: You mentioned that the album is called Helpless Romantic and I read where you said that this album will be steeped in more classic R&B. Aside from Paul Wall it won’t really have many hip hop infusions. Was that more of a conscious decision?

Honestly, radio right now is not really…catering to radio right now has never been something that I aimed to do. I’m not someone that sits around and thinks that I have to do a certain kind of joint in order to get on the radio. But one thing that I do recognize is that we have always had trends in R&B…it’s like a tradition. For years I have been doing my thing heavy in the South because a lot of my fan base is in the South. Getting to spend time out there and hear the way the music has changed in Hip Hop, R&B and everything…it’s really a lot more simplistic in terms of the beats. It’s not so much about what snare you use. It’s not as complex as it used to be in the 90’s. It’s much more about ridin’ the pocket. The beat is really important right now and a lot of the music is beat driven music. For R&B it’s about simplifying and for me it was really fun to do something different and hit people from a totally different angle.

I kinda did that on the last album with Beenie Man and Just Blaze. I wanted to do a Dancehall track and we did that. I was spending time in Jamaica and when I spend enough time somewhere it starts to influence the album…so I figured the Paul Wall is a strong way to lead off the album.

Dubcnn: You mentioned the 90’s a couple of minutes ago. Listening to you in the 90’s that is what always struck me…your music is not disposable. It’s timeless and you can listen to your songs now and they have that relevant feel to them. Has that always been something that you aimed to do or has it just happened organically?

I think it kind of happened organically. I never really aimed…there are a couple of songs that I have had in my past that have been so simple to put together that you almost think it’s going to be a hit. But you really never know…like the song “Are You Still Down” that I did with 2Pac. We wrote that in 3 hours and it was a soul baring record for both of us. It was a sad love song because you are obviously not with the person and you’re reminiscing. With Paul Wall it’s like the same thing…What do we want to write about? You don’t really aim to make a hit but it’s what you’re writing about and the essence of the record that makes it so classic. Every record is different or at least it is intended to be different. That’s the only intention I have going into every record. I want it to have it’s own individuality and you can say ‘hey, that sounds like Jon B.’ Or that it at least fits into the category of music that was intended. As a producer I can go in and say, ‘I want to make a two-step record.’ That has a certain sound to it just like a Crunk record does or a Techno-styled R&B record like ‘On The Floor’. I’m just in a very open place right now where artists are really challenging themselves to be different and do different things. At the same time I wanted to keep the things that people appreciate about the old, almost retro stuff that I do.

That’s why this album has a very analog and organic side to it as well. I kind of offset all of the electronica that you will hear on the album because there is more of that on this album. Over the last few years I’ve been getting into the computer thing and incorporated the Logic program with my keyboards and my MPC and using all of that. There is a lot more going on with my production then there was in the 90’s.

Dubcnn: Helpless Romantic. You said Mr. Lee did some production on it and I can imagine that you held down a lot of the production yourself. What can people expect from Helpless Romantic?

You can expect a youthful, free, charismatic album that is almost like a rebirth of me. It’s a re-introduction…I feel that when my daughter was born…first things first the relationship I have with my wife has put me in a place mentally where I have been able to express myself lyrically in a lot of ways. It’s a very positive place for me because I don’t have to manufacture anything. I’m actually feeling those emotions…not to say that I didn’t feel the things in the past *laughs* but you get to a place where you don’t have to try (to force it). It’s just about taking the time to do it and this album…it’s a 14 song album but when people play it they will get an atmosphere. Definitely a beautiful atmosphere because that’s my life and these are the songs that I’ve been creating for the last four years and perfecting and make what they are now.

Dubcnn: Let the people know how they can keep in touch with what Jon B. is up to in terms of a website or myspace. The floor is yours.

Without a doubt I want to express my appreciation to everyone. You can basically see what’s up with me on MySpace. I have various MySpace sites and I can’t name them all.

I’m shooting a video soon so get ready to see a video for ‘Ooh, So Sexy’ featuring Paul Wall. I’m really excited about that because when the video has been shot you know it’s official. The album is out now. The tour is going to be crazy. Who knows who I will be with but I’m going to be doing my thing in your city.

Dubcnn: Make sure you stop through Phoenix

Without a doubt. We were just there not to long ago. Good lookin’ out on the interview. I really appreciate it.

Dubcnn: It was a pleasure.



Jon B Interview Audio: Listen Here

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