July 14, 2011

Producer J.O.N talks to “On the Come Up” about making soundwaves in the music industry.



Where are you from, originally?

J.O.N: I’m originally from a small town in West Tennessee called, Denmark. It’s about 45 minutes from Memphis. Very country [town], but I’m proud of that.

What inspires you to produce music?

J: People, places and things. Music also inspires me to make music. Whenever I hear a great song, whatever the artist or genre, it always inspires me to create.

What was your first introduction into the music industry?  

J: My first introduction into the biz was singing in my church’s choir and the process of us recording an album. I remember being so excited about the live recording and later being in the studio for the first time doing overdubs.

You've worked with OTCU alum, Nate Walka (songwriter, "Blame It" -performed by Jamie Foxx). How did you get the opportunity to work with him? And how was your experience working with him?

J: I met Nate when I first moved to Atlanta from Tennessee. I actually ran into Askia Fountain at a writing session event back when it was held at SAE (The School of Audio Engineering.) He told me that Nate was a new artist he was about to start working with and introduced us. As soon as Nate and I started talking, I knew we’d make some dope music together. Then when he told me he was from West Tennessee like me, I knew we’d be friends, as well. Working with him is always easy and always a great time. We’ve actually started working on a Nate Walka and J.O.N EP. I’m really excited about the world hearing it, soon.

What are you working on, currently?

J: Music-wise, I’m working on a series of releases through my company, TEAMM Work, called “The Blue Chip Series.” I decided to the reach out to a few of my friends that I believe are “next” and do a series of compilation albums. So, be on the lookout for new music from Nate, Univercity, Cali Stylz, Promise, Pule, Yianna, and Young Lyxx – just to name a few. Media-wise, we got new video content, coming soon to my video blog: http://www.onthajon.com. The third season of our YouTube series, “Get On Tha Jon” is coming really soon, hopefully by this summer.

Who is your musical mentor and why?

J: I’ve had many...When I started playing guitar, I asked Robert Taylor – the guitar player at my church – to show me a few things. He really was a great guitar player and teacher. As far as songwriting, after I left home for college to attend Middle Tennessee State University, I met Steve Crawford (from the group Anointed.) He taught me how to really write songs. I had been writing for a few years, but he taught me the fundamentals of songwriting. As far as production, there was Drew Ramsey and Shannon Sanders. I would drive to their studio in Nashville every day from MTSU. Both are amazing singers, writers, musicians and producers. They were everything that I hoped to be, so I wanted to be in the studio with them every chance I got. Through working with them, I was able to  meet and work with India.Arie, Heather Headley, Marc Broussard, Rascal Flats and Esther Dean. I was also able to be apart of the GRAMMY they won for Jonny Lang’s, Turn Around album in 2007. Lastly (soon after I moved to Atlanta), I got the opportunity to meet and be-friend Bangladesh, after someone played him some of my records. I learned a lot about music and the music industry being in the studio with Bang. I DEFINITELY wouldn't be where I am, now, without all of them taking to time to teach me.

What sets you apart from other producers?

J: I think it’s the same thing that separates us all from each other: no two producers are alike, just as no two people are alike. When I figured out I wanted to be a music producer, I decided I wanted to learn how to do any- and everything that the producers that inspired me did. I was already singing, songwriting and playing, so I worked at getting better at doing those things (I still do.) Then, after that, I started getting into sampling. As a producer, I go with what feels good in the studio while creating. Because I’m not just a producer, it affords me the opportunity to work with many different artists and sounds and in many different genres. I may be working on pop records on Monday, hood records on Tuesday and a rock record on Wednesday. I love making music, period.