K’Jon Talks Label Pains, Struggles and Independence

K’Jon garnered wide spread attention for his hit song “On The Ocean,” which earned him a #1 radio hit and set the record for the longest run on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip Hop Song, surpassing Usher’s single “You Make Me Wanna” and Mary J. Blige’s single “Be Without You.”

Now, after leaving major record label Universal Republic, K’Jon is reconstructing a bridge to express the full range of his artistry for listeners. His forthcoming album ‘Moving On,’ is a project he argued with himself about in the studio, took pointers from his kids and handled the business matters to ensure you not only know his music, but you build a personal relationship with him as an artist.

Drawing Inspiration From Pain…
I think what is great about it is to decide to channel frustrations, and the struggles of pain to use it positively. To use the experience as a positive, not as a negative. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I choose to share some things that are kind of in my life to a certain point. I have chosen to make it a positive for myself and for other people because a lot of people listen to my music and a lot of people appreciate the candidness and honesty. I think they have actually gone through some of the things I have written about or experience myself.

Too Personal for Music… You don’t want to get too personal because nobody wants to hear about your personal; the personal, personal things in your life. I think that is a problem in music sometimes, when artist although they have an experience; they put it in your face. Like on “Ocean” you could not put title of what your ship was.

Career Transitions... Learning experiences tend to make you great ultimately. At every stage there was something I had to learn and even now it is a great opportunity, with a partner like Shanachie Entertainment, to really convey my creative ideas [and] thoughts through music. I truly love being independent and making my own decisions and being the boss of my company. Out the gate, the first time around there was struggle, [but] it was fun. [From] actually shipping out your own product to putting yourself on your own tour across the country. Then getting the love as an independent was crazy. [With] the major [record label], you are forced to fall back because you don’t want to step on a lot of toes, it is kind of like a catch twenty-two. Because you want to be proactive, sometimes it is not accepted and can cause a little riff. Then if you sit back and let someone handle your business, no one is going to do it like you, no one is going to have passion, no one is ever going to have the passion like you do if you’re content on being successful. The growing pains of being on a major for me was not the best experience because I feel like I did my part as an artist in bringing the product and the major is responsibility making you famous and making you rich. Neither one happened for me. I am struggling to get my name out here and financially I did not capitalize on the situation like I should have. With that being said, it was a great experience and moving forward I [can] make better decisions.

Capitalizing On K’Jon… Putting a team together who specialize in their department on making it happen; making you a household name. That is what the big boys at major’s do. On the independent, you have to make sure those things get done. Sometimes you’re responsible for that now as well as my partner. We come together and make sure those things are covered.

Playing with Pocket Change… When you’re fresh out the gate or fresh out of high school, who don’t want to see the world. Join the military and keep a couple dollars in your pocket? That’s fine. But I am a mature individual, and I have responsibilities, so there is no way in the world. That is one of the reasons I decided to go independent because when I had my first shot to do the major thing, I walked away to do my own company. Because I am a person that is use to getting a check, I am a very experienced business person. I was in business administration and management most of my life, so I am use to making a decent amount of money and getting a check every week. That didn’t go well with me flying around the country and asking for your money. I just want things that are guaranteed. Right now what is guaranteed is me getting out there and working, still being creative and allowing people to enjoy the music, but on the business side making sure it is worth.

Completing the Fan Connection… There is so much more to the artist than the creative side. I don’t want people think that the whole album is based on “Will You Be There” and “Moving On.” There are so many club and uplifting and positive songs and songs you can dance to. I’m coming from a Midwest area so I have to represent the ball room and the steppers too. There is a section of the album that I really get deep, and that is “Will You Be There,” “Moving On,” and “Reason.” Those songs are really gonna hit the heart. It is really a fun album, people are going to be surprised. I just can’t wait for people to understand that some of the songs I put on this album are what I have been doing for years. My very first professional song was “Miami” not a per se urban AC song, even the songs that played locally were always up-tempo.

Jr A&R Staff… My junior A&R staff are my kids. Because my truck, the vehicle I drive is like my office. I don’t really write songs at the studio or at home or in the office. I get in my truck and every day I drive. When I drop my kids off at school they are my A&R, that is how I do my homework. If they don’t want to listen, then we will listen to the radio or whatever they want to listen to, but a lot times they ask me to put it on and kids will be honest with you. I don’t care if you are a parent or not, kids are brutally honest. They will tell me “I don’t like that person you put on there” or if they really love somebody you put on there.